I recently realized that I celebrated my runniversary. I have been kicking myself to hit the pavement for just over a year now.
Looking back over the last year, I remember all of the obstacles (injuries) that I have had to overcome. Running is definitely not for the weak minded, or in my view, the impatient.
The path to rehabbing an injury is so tedious!!!
I have definitely had to set goals and standards that are realistic for my body not my desires. I have no desire to do a marathon, my body would be completely incapable of performing at that level. Even a half marathon is something that I couldn't possibly fathom at this time although I would like to.
I have an inkling that I will be dealing with IT-Band issues for the rest of my life. It has been a long road since November when I started having my most recent issues with it in my right knee.
After resting, cutting back my runs, and yogafying through December and much of January, I finally made an appointment with a Sports Med Doc. I loved him, in the love a person who helps you see a light at the end of a tunnel kind of way.
He had me stop running for a few weeks, take a high dose anti-inflammatory for 2 weeks straight (I self medicated with a bit of Prilosec during that time), get orthotic inserts, and meet with a Physical Therapist.
Needless to say the last 2 months have been interesting. Every 2 weeks I had a PT visit where I said hello to muscles that hadn't been talked to for a long while, namely my butt. Then I had to perform those exercises EVERY day in between. It may not sound like much, but all of my exercises add to about 45 minutes in addition to my runs and cross training.
Since muscles take about a month to start strengthening and building, I had some very uneasy feelings in regards to my running. I have had to basically start over.
All those months of building up to running 5-6 miles three times a week, seem so long ago. Now my goals have been adjusted to be completely flexible with what my body says. And I am only able to add 0.5 mile to my running schedule per week if my knee says it is okay. It is so hard to not look ahead to the run that I am scheduled for in May (Red Rock Relay in Moab). I get butterflies every time I think about it. I completely know what to expect, 2 killer runs, hills, elevation, and heat. But my uneasiness comes from my "am I going to be able to even run 5 of the 10 miles?!!!"
So my goal is set to be able to run 5 miles 2 of my 3 runs per week by May (with a descent pace of 12 min/mi). I think completely realistic. I am up to 3.5 miles on my long run with about 13 min/mi pace (although the last half mile is a bit painful and I end up walking A LOT).
It is funny to think back at what my goals were last Fall right before my injury. I was running 4-6 miles 2-3 times a week. And I was working on my pace. I was trying to get to a 10 min/mi. I was only at a 10:30. I was realistic then too.
It is so hard not to get so frustrated and stay positive about the progress that I am seeing in myself. When I read blogs and comments from people that say something like "Oh, today I took it easy, I ONLY did 7 miles with a 9 min/mi pace" or "I hate running, but today I ran 4 miles and did a 9:30" I want to rip out my injury, hand it to them, and say "try this out for a while, it makes running a 12 min/mi for 3 miles feel pretty good."
Thursdays are my middle of the week rehab run day-thingy. I usually do a shorter or easier run. I like my rehab run day because I focus only on my pace and form without distance nagging at me. My therapist has me running some crazy form that confuses the dickens out of me, seriously the marathon shuffle run is crazy hard but works. So my easy day really helps me focus on all of the elements that go into preventing ITB irritation.
Today was 2 miles without hills. So we joined the mid-morning runners on the parkway for a change of scenery. I wasn't pushing myself hard at all, the parkway strip was less hilly than my normal run. In addition to Lily in the jogger, I had Chase. And I was running into a South wind. I thought that my pace was going to stink.
The last few weeks I have found myself looking at my current pace less and less during a run. I just focus on my feet hitting the pavement with the beat of my metronome app (a very helpful trick my PT suggested).
I was pretty stoked when a few fellow runners said that they were trying to catch me but couldn't keep at my pace. Honestly I am sure that they had run more than two miles up to that point. But I will let myself pretend that they had started where I had and that they weren't middle aged plus gents.
It was the highlight of my day when I checked my pace at the end of the 2.2 mile run. A 10:30 min/mi pace. Not too shabby for ITB rehab, and pushing BOB with 50 + pounds of little people.
Kickin' the middle aged plus gents butts is my new goal, I am going to say that I have conquered that and check it off my list.