Monday, September 29, 2008

More than Ready

5 miles on Friday- fast and feeling great.

Finished 13 miles yesterday with essentially low pain. I had 14 on the agenda but it started to get dark outside and so I phoned the good ol' bf and had him come pick me up. What a sweetie.

Anyways, the knee hurts today so I'll probably end up doing a little cross training today and taking it easy. I finally got the go-ahead to ice after my long runs so I guess I'll start doing that with only one more long run to go. Crazy.

Tried out the sport beans during my run. They didn't do any harm on the stomach and I finished my run without feeling completely drained. Next I will try out the Clifshot on my 20 miler. Then...I'll be tapering...finally! I can't wait to get this marathon done...bring it on!

Oh and...the hills! I did hills this weekend and didn't stop once! Woohoo!!!

Anyways, I've got a lot to do so this blog has to be short. Good luck on your runs!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Run Distance: 9 miles, Run Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

Good news to report...finally!! Yesterday I went for a nice 9 mile run. The weather was perfect, nice and cool, sunny, and beautiful. The leaves are turning colors and for once I was actually not taking that as "winter is coming, winter is coming, oh no!".

The big news: A 9 mile run with no knee pain while running. Now, the problem comes with the fact that I changed 3 variables during this run and any number of them could have attributed to the lack of knee pain.
Variable #1:
I purchased a Pro-Tech band from the Running Warehouse and wore it during my run yesterday.

Variable #2:
I purchased new Nike Pegasus shoes and wore those during my run yesterday.

Variable #3:
My physical therapist changed the angle of attack and started working on my hip and IT band instead of my entire leg.
Perhaps all three aided in my great painless run...but either way I was loving it. Finally, I was hitting 9 min/mile splits through a good portion of my run. I haven't done that since before my half marathon! How exciting!! knee is in a little bit of pain. I'm thinking I just need to do some extra stretching.

Now here are some quick reviews of the products I purchased:

Nike+ Women's Pegasus 25th Anniversary Edition

I bought these grand shoes from the Running Room again. It was their 20th or something anniversary as well so I got my shoes with a 15% discount which I loved. But anyway, the newer, bluer edition of the Nike Pegasus--seem to be alright thus far. I started out the run with a bit of pain in the toe box. My toes actually started to go numb. I attributed it to the fact that maybe my shoe laces are just too darn short (I accidently left the longer ones at the store). Anyway, I tried to loosen my shoes up a bit and the pain went away a couple of miles in to my run. The shoes felt great--much like previous pair of Pegasus. I have read some reviews that also say the toe box is too narrow. I'm not entirely sure whether that was the problem or not (I may have just tied them too tight?!) But anyway, if that is the case, I would be suprised. My feet are pretty small as it is and definetly not unordinarily wide. So, if the toe box is too narrow, it could be cutting in to alot of "normal" footed people. Anyways, the cushion appears to be perfect, felt like I was riding on air--much like my old Pegasus.

Protec Patella Tendon Strap

The strap goes on pretty easy with velcro. It had a small little pouch cushion that goes directly under your knee. As I said before, I don't know if this attributed to my pain-free run, but I'm sure it might have helped. It didn't slide up and down during my run and was easily adjustable. Time will well if it really helps my knee on those long runs!

Today, I have scheduled a 5 miler on the treadmill. It is supposed to rain and it is kind of chilly here today (plus I need the gym time for my insurance rebate!).

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Mental Challenge

So yes, some of you may have read about my fall during my 18 miler (read previous post). But let me tell you, with all of this pain in my knee, that was half the struggle. I kept thinking in my head "Why in the world did you sign up for a marathon?" And then...the greatest..."Rachel, you are running 18 miles. This isn't 26.2 with hills. You still have 8 more miles with hills in your marathon." I know...take it one chunk at a time. But seriously, what was I thinking?! I asked Amanda this as my brain started to sidetrack from the main goal and she said , "It will be much better when your knee isn't hurting." Well, given the fact that my knee is hurting, I think I'm stuck with biting the jaw (which you should soon look for a trip to the doc for "jaw pain" as I have been biting it pretty hard) and running through it. Well, Amanda then said something along the lines of "it is fun and we can do it." I don't remember exactly what was said...but I was so frustrated with my knee and feeling sick that I said "We are crazy." Officially crazy. Who runs 26.2 miles for fun?! And especially when your knee feels like it should be sawed off!? Oh yes...this crazy one here. Yep...I'm not stopping.

And yes...I went to the doctor last week because my physical therapist was sick and decided to use the time wisely. The doctor took a look at my knee and said, "Yep, you are still okay to run, you just have chronic tendonitis" and then he mumbled something about how he could shoot cortizone in my IT band and it might help but that he couldn't do anything for the pain in the front of my knee. So I chose to opt out of the cortizone and continue through the pain. Which as you read, was pretty much pain-less until the tail end of my 18 miler. But when the pain sets isn't like a gradual pain. It is more like...bite your jaw as hard as you can pain. Actually, I don't know where the jaw thing started. I never used to bite down hard on my jaw but I guess I've never really experienced anything like this. The doctor did tell me to scale back on my miles, but I don't think he realized I only have a month left. And I'm already scaled back quite a bit. So I guess I'll just trudge on. And come to really dread that 20-miler creeping up in a few weeks...

But nonetheless...I will be happy when it is all done.

If I can still stand.

I sound like such a drama queen and honestly...I'm not. I'm just chronicling my journey and figure that someday when I run completely pain free--I can be extremely grateful.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

18 miles...and a faceplant

Amanda (roomie) and I went for an 18 miler yesterday. We used her Nike+ system and we think it was a little off as it said we only ran 16.8 when we came in but that had to be wrong. We ran around Lake Calhoun as the sun was setting and it was beautiful. My knee didn't bug me too badly until the last few miles whenever we stopped and started again. I was starting to really lose energy towards the end and was starting to feel kind of sick.

We were on our last when it happened. My foot somehow hit one of the cracks in the sidewalk. I was too tired to think about what I should do. I knew I was going to go down but I couldn't even think about how to land. I think I may have put my arms out. Both of my arms hit the ground and my head hit lightly too. My neck hurt, my left knee was scraped up and my hands stung. I sat there for a little while before getting up. I had to make Amanda walk for awhile after that because it hurt too bad to start running again. But it hurt really bad to walk too. After about 1/4 of a mile, I decided I needed to run because it hurt way too bad to walk. We ran and eventually my knee felt better.

When we returned, I felt pretty sick to my stomach. I tried to force some water down thinking I was dehydrated but I'm not real sure what was going on. I got light headed every time I stood up. Anyways, a lot better today. I'll blog more later when I have time...more about the thoughts that were going through my head as I ran..."Why the heck did I sign up for a marathon?!!"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just call me Rollercoaster Rachel

I don't have a run to report because unfortunately I was really really busy yesterday. But I do have some good news. My knee doesn't hurt anymore (thanks to those 2 rest days!). I spoke with the physical therapist today and explained the extreme pain I was having. He told me that I might need to go back to the doctor to have them do an MRI and/or inject me with cortizone. I told him that I would like to avoid that at all cost because I've heard horrible things about pain and cortizone shots in the knee. I told him that I think that if I just back off on those runs that follow my long run, and just deal with the pain, that I could do it. He agreed. He did push on my knee a bit and said it was definetly tissue that is sore so evidently that is good news? If tissue gets as sore as I was on Sunday, I'd hate to know the kind of pain associated with bone or cartilage damage!

Anyways, he wrapped my knee up this time, pulling it slightly to the left to try to help alleviate pain on the right side of my knee. Hopefully this helps. I'm also going to look into getting some new shoes next weekend because I think I'm probably due.

Thanks so much for all of your advice! I know that really it seems as though quitting would be the safest option right now, but honestly I think I can push through this. My knee pain is the most severe after my long runs and then goes away after a few days. The reason why I absolutely HAVE to finish this marathon?? Check here. My grandmother and uncle can't run this race because NF took their lives. If I have to walk a part of it...then I will. But I'm alive so that I can finish...for them...and those who have it today. Knee pain is nothing when you think about the pain that my grandmother went through...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Not Gonna Lie...

I'm in a great deal of pain. And to the beginning of my training, I actually believed all those "Runner-hyped" articles that denied the fact that runners are prone to knee problems. I think it is one of those things that runners are stamped with so often that they really do try to hide it at all costs. But bad. I never had knee pain until I started picking up the mileage in my running. Never before I ran. Never until I hit the 12 mile range. And now...I'm quite frustrated. My physical therapist doesn't seem too concerned yet this was supposed to be our last week. And I'm in the worst pain yet. Let me explain how I got to this point...

Yesterday Amanda (roommate) and I decided to head out at 7pm for a 12 miler. In the rain. Well, it was more like misting...but definetly wet...and cold. My knee wasn't responding too well to this cold weather. I was feeling it almost immediately but decided to run through the pain. Well, the pain only got worse and I had to make Amanda stop a few times. It sucked.

I did get a 5 miler in earlier this week too--one that was supposed to be an 8 miler and had to be cut short due to pain. And even yet earlier in the week-- I ran a 5 miler with no pain.

Anyways, my options do not include "not running this marathon". I will be walking it if I have to but I will be there. I'm just hoping a miracle happens between now and then so I don't have to walk it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

16 Miles!!!

I did it...back on schedule! 16 miles! Woohoo! That is the longest run on my schedule that I have missed and my longest run ever! Now...I will fully admit...I probably shouldn't have...but I really really wanted to get back on track.

The first 11 miles were gravy. The weather was super cool and so I didn't get all hot and gross. It was amazing how much more energy I had in the cooler temps. I knew that the only thing that was really going to hold me back was my legs. My lungs and heart were feeling great. The last 5 miles were okay as long as I kept moving. The instant I stopped to tie my shoes or stop at a stoplight, I could feel the pain. The last 2 miles I started to feel it while running and at that point I knew I really should have been walking but I wanted that distance so I kept on. Now my knees hurt pretty bad. I did some stretching and I'm really hoping it helps. I couldn't walk down the stairs on my right knee again. I'm hoping my physical therapist sees past the obvious problems and is happy I achieved 16

Anyways, some cool things about my 16 miles:

1) I ran clear to Uptown from Hopkins. To drive between these areas would take 20 minutes (w/o rush hour traffic!) and I just ran it. I could tell when I hit the city though--ran in to some not so happy people when I accidently migrated into a newly formed "bikes only" lane.

2) I saw a cat poop on a hill in Uptown.

3) I saw a clan of kids on bikes.

4) I saw many many pretty flowers.

5) I witnessed rush hour traffic from a bridge that I ran over and laughed because for once I was not stuck in it.

Okay I thought I had more cool things but I guess I don't. That's my wonderful 16 mile run...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cleared for the Long Run

Run Distance: 4 miles (Tuesday)
Run Distance: 8 miles Run Time: Unrecorded but a speed of 6.6 on TM (Wednesday)

I went to the physical therapist yesterday and he gave me some glorious news (semi-glorious). He told me that I could attempt a long run this weekend. Although, his idea of a long run was only 10 miles but he said that if I felt like I could keep running--then by all means--RUN! He also told me that I should probably do this after my ASTYM treatment on Friday. So Friday will be my long run day...and I'm sooo excited! I adjusted my schedule a bit to accomodate the change in long run today I am going to take off.

Yesterday I completed 8 miles. My quads are a bit sore today but absolutely no knee pain. Now that is good news.

Thanks to everyone for their support through all of this! Hopefully I will be back on track again soon.

Oh and btw...for all of you "summer go away" should come visit Minnesota. You would definetly get your wish-- as my very nice warm weather has been traded for some brrr! freezing mornings and afternoons. It was a mere 50-some degrees this morning!!!! For most people...they would be excited to embrace the beautiful fall weather--but I am now terrified of what follows fall--a very long cold winter. And lots of treadmill time. I've had enough of the TM with this injury...I so don't look forward to it in the winter.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Stressed, Frazzled, and All of the Above

I got a run in this weekend, which met my 4 run goal for the Virtual Run Club but definetly didn't quite meet my training schedule. I was hoping to get at least a 15 miler in to try to get back on schedule. My physical therapist thought otherwise. I told him about the way my knee reacted post run (hurt going down stairs) and he told me that I needed to keep my runs around 6-8 for now so that I'm not going backwards on my healing. So on Sunday I headed out with the intention to really just get a run done. I was in the hilly region of St.Michael and I knew that I couldn't expect to get a super long run in. I was feeling good though and finally found a road with minimal hills. My I-Pod wasn't charged so I was running without the ability to know how far I'd gone. Andy and I calculated it with the car later and found that I'd almost ran 7 miles! Not the 15 I was supposed to do but at least my knee is still in tact and not in too much pain.

So where does all the stress come from? Well...I'm not at 15! And my marathon is really creeping up here. It is already September. I hate to say it, but I think I should have put this marathon off a little longer. But I can't back out now. So...I'm left with nothing but worry until this knee heals.

And school is starting this weekend so that means I will have less time. And on top of that...I've discovered that somehow I've spent way too much money lately. And I really would like to figure out a way of getting more income--meaning maybe another job. But that would leave me with literally NO time. Blah. Plus Amanda and I are looking to move. So Rachel is very stressed. If only I COULD run 15 miles to vent all this stuff!

Anyways...that's my life right now. Physical therapist tomm. Hopefully he can fix me.