Monday, June 13, 2016

Race Recap: Gary Smith 3-mile Walk (6/12/16)

A friend told me about this little race, and I was super excited to enter.  I haven't raced in FIVE MONTHS (Lifetime Indoor Tri in January), and I was itching to don a bib again!  

The Gary Smith Classic is actually a 5-mile running race, with a 3-mile walk option as well as a 2-mile kids' race.  Joey decided he wanted to enter the kids' race, so it was great to have a buddy for the morning!  This would be his first race where I wasn't either a) cheering him on, or b) running with him, so I think we were both a bit more nervous than usual.

We got to the race site, Thomas Worthington HS, and picked up our bibs and shirts (nice blue tech shirts!).  After we threw them in the car, we milled around chatting with a few of my friends who were running.  Always love to see people at races!  Joey and I did some stretches, and then walked an easy mile around the track.  He just got his first pair of running shoes the other day, so I wanted him to at least walk a bit in them before the actual race!  

Love this pre-race pic of my boy!
The 5 miler started at 9:00, and my walking race started a few minutes later.  Joey didn't start until 9:15, so I left him in the care of some random mom who looked friendly and who had two boys in the race, hoping that he'd make it to the starting line (he did, of course).  Quick recap on him--he did great!  My pre-race guess for his time was 17:30, and he ended up getting 10th out of 24 runners with a 17:28.  He said that he "died" after about a mile, that it was too hot out (it was!) and that "everything hurt" by the end. I'd say that's a successful race!

Allison took this one of him racing!

So, my own race started just after 9:00.  There were about 40 "walkers" in the 3-mile event. I use the term "walkers" very very loosely.  The race was chip-timed with a whistle start.  3, 2, 1.... TWEET, and we were off, with several people taking off jogging.  Um, what?  I thought this was a walking event?  I was actually looking forward to seeing some fast race-walkers (those people AMAZE me, with the elites able to walk a 10K faster than I can run one!), but alas, there were none.  Just the joggers who took off, and one other woman who was walking about 10 feet in front of me.  

The race started out in the parking lot of the high school, wove down to the Olentangy Trail for a bit, and then up into the neighborhoods. I do mean UP... after about a mile, the course went up up up for about a mile, total elevation increase of 80 feet over a mile.  This is so much worse than RUNNING up that kind of a "hill".  Walking is a whole different sport, I tell you!  It was during the second mind that I caught up to the only walker who was ahead of me.  We ended up chatting for the final mile or so of the race.  I probably could've gone a bit faster, but it was so nice to have someone to talk to!  We just chatted about the weather (HOT) and the race itself.  We actually finished at the EXACT same time, but I am listed ahead of her in the results (probably due to our last names LOL).  My final time was a 41:13, good enough for 7th overall out of 43 walkers (but I will swear by the fact that I was 1st overall for the walking division!). 

Another pic courtesy of Allison... approaching the finish!

See, exact same time! :)

I didn't look at the app on my phone at all during the race, just so that I wouldn't get obsessive about my pace.  Mile 1 was mostly downhill, with an average pace of 12:57.  Never thought I'd be so happy to go sub-13 LOL!   Mile 2 (the uphill one) was 13:41.  Mile 3 was mostly downhill as well, 13:45 average pace.  And the "finish" of 0.06 miles (on the track so very very flat) was 12:51 pace.  My overall pace for the race was 13:28.  I totally exceeded my expectations, as I was hoping for a sub-45 (sub-15 min/mile average).  That being said, I do not love walking!  Both of my feet fell asleep by mile 2.  I was bored until I met up with the other walker.  It was pretty out and I tried to embrace the fact that just 3 weeks ago I was still on crutches, and here I was, walking FAST!  The other great part: zero pain at all in my hip.  I was super happy for this, of course!

LOVE the mugs we got!!!

So, all in all, I'm excited that I got to do this race.  It was a great foray back into racing for me.  I saw my doctor on Wednesday and she said that when I come back in two weeks, she is planning on giving me the go-ahead to start the "return to running plan", meaning walk-run intervals!  The plan is the same one that I did with Dr. Bright last year, and it starts with walking. I told her I've already done up to 60 minutes of walking, so she said I could start at Step 3.  

I am going to do a bit of researching as well to see if I find any others.  This one was a good one for me last year, but I kind of feel that I got back into regular running too fast.  This plan actually has me back to "regular running" after 16 workouts, which could be as soon as 4 weeks if I am doing it 4x/week (I think this is what I did last time). If I back off to 3x/week, then it's more like 5.5 weeks, which sounds a bit better.  With triathlon training, 3x/week is more than enough running.  If I don't find a plan I like better, I will use this one but stick to only running 3x/week at the most.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Chronicles of Recovering from a Femoral Neck Stress Fracture (an ongoing entry)

Updated 6/30/16

When I first Googled Femoral Neck Stress Fracture, most of what I got was doom and gloom.  People who were on crutches for 6 months and still not healed... people who were still unable to run a year after the injury... needless to say, I freaked out a bit.  Fortunately I have two friends who had the exact same injury and were able to tell me about their not-quite-so-dramatic experiences.  This blog was also very helpful, as it chronicles in detail the recovery of a runner, but her injury was less severe (a stress reaction versus a stress fracture). 

What this is, is my own personal recovery timeline.  I hope that by sharing this that others with the same injury might benefit from reading about my own journey, should they turn to Google for similar stories.  I of course am not a medical professional!  This is just my personal story, and what you take away from it is up to you.  

I plan on adding to this entry with updates, workouts, etc.

4/2--Second and final 20 miler of the training cycle!  So excited to get through it.  Zero pain during run... but groin felt sore after.  What the what?  I've never had upper leg/hip pain before.  Lots of ice and gentle stretching today and the next day (yoga class as well), but nothing really was helping.

4/4--Easy 4 miler... no pain till after the run ended, then it wasn't pretty.

4/5--A very sore groin muscle led me to call my sports med doctor for an appointment.  Had to see a colleague.  His diagnosis was what I expected: hip flexor strain.  He recommended rest.

4/6--Saw my chiropractor, who agreed with the doctor.  

4/7--Easy 4 miles HURT.  Met up with a good PT friend who felt it was NOT a hip flexor issue, but rather a joint impingement issue.  Given exercises to do.  She recommended a week of rest as well.

4/8--Saw my regular sports med doctor.  She agreed with the diagnosis of hip flexor strain and said a week off should do the trick.  

4/13--Easy 4 miles for my return to running (after 6 days of zero physical activity).  Felt off and not wonderful at all for the first 3 miles.  Good for the final mile, but pain as soon as I stopped running.

4/16--my last true run.  I ran with my marathon training buddies, and we did 6 miles.  Here is my daily mile post from that run: "It wasn't how I wanted it to be... but I was so grateful to run these miles with my girls. Hip was tight for mile 1, and anytime we stopped (e.g. crosswalks) it would hurt to start back up for the first 50 yards or so. I played with the pace to see what felt best. Miles were 8:56, 8:24, 8:30, 8:35, 8:47, 8:51. I felt best at the 8:24-8:35 pace, which gives me some hope. Post-run I'm very tight. I am getting a massage tomorrow night and I have great faith in both my massage therapist and chiro, that between the two of them I'll be running a marathon in 7 days!"   And I really felt that this would be true... that I would be able to run in my marathon.  

4/18--Running trial.  After two days of being very sore, I felt quite a bit better on Monday morning and decided to try a run with Tamara.  An easy 3-4 miles turned into 0.24 miles that ended in tears.  The pain was awful... I could barely walk, let alone run.  It was that day that I realized that the marathon would not be happening, and it was definitely a difficult day for me.

4/20--official diagnosis (via MRI) of a femoral neck stress fracture.  My doctor actually called me to let me know that I indeed wouldn't be racing that weekend.  It's never a good thing to hear your doctor's voice on the phone.  She said that I would be on crutches for up to 6 weeks, but Dr. Google told me that it likely would be longer before I was able to bear weight on my left leg.  I honestly felt relief, to finally know that there was indeed *something* wrong with me, more than just a hip flexor strain like all the doctors had been saying.  It gave some validity to my pain, knowing I actually did have a stress fracture, and that running the marathon wasn't only unwise, that it was not allowed. 

4/20-5/4--For these 2 weeks, I was totally non-weight bearing (NWB).  I used my crutches 100% of the time when I was out of the house, including when I was at work.  I will admit, I did some limping around at home.  It was almost impossible to do everything that I needed to do while on crutches--making dinner was the most difficult task, for sure. 

5/4--I saw Dr. Dick for a two-week follow-up visit.  The appointment went well, and I was given permission to start "partial weight-bearing." 

5/5-5/11--Partial weight-bearing.  I began with toe-tapping for a couple of days, then started putting more and more weight on my injured leg (still using both crutches of course).  

5/12-5/18--I started using one crutch for a part of each day.  I actually had to Google "how to walk with one crutch", as I had no clue!  Fortunately, it is a very natural movement for me, and within a few days I was almost as fast with one crutch as I was when I walked pre-injury.  The best part: I had one free hand, so I could actually carry things again!  I increased the amount of time that I used just one crutch (versus two) as the week went on, so that by 5/18 I was only using one crutch for the majority of the day.

5/18--I saw Dr. Dick for a four-week follow-up visit.  Things were still looking great, and I got permission to start weaning off the crutch.  I started using only one crutch 100% of the time on 5/19.

5/19-5/24--Each day, I used my crutch less and less.  Some days I'd be a bit achier than others, so I would just use the crutch a bit more on those days.  

5/25--my first day of 100% walking without the crutch!  I wasn't at school (professional development day = sitting around listening to others talk), which was ideal for my first crutch-less day.  I overdid it a bit over Memorial Day weekend (5/28-5/30) for sure... I swam at Alum Creek twice (1.5 miles and .75 miles) and did my first true "recovery walk" of 1.6 miles with a neighbor friend.  By Monday evening I was achy and realized I needed to take things a bit slower.  Fortunately a couple of days off did the trick, and I was as good as new! 

At this point (6/6/16), I am working to slowly build up my strength and endurance again with walking, swimming, and very easy cycling (learning how to ride clipped in!).  Below is a list of the workouts that I have done since beginning my recovery (going all the way back to my first swim workout in early May):

6/8/16--I saw Dr. Dick for a seven-week follow-up visit.  Another great appointment.  Dr. Dick had me do the "hop test", which I was pretty nervous about.  I was able to successfully hop without pain on my injured leg, which is pretty phenomenal!  Going back in two more weeks and barring any unforeseen circumstances, we will be discussing my return to running!

6/22/16--My final appointment with Dr. Dick!  Things look great and I'm officially "released" from her care, at least for this injury.  She wrote a script for me to have a gait analysis done at OSU Sports Med Endurance Clinic. I am super-psyched for this analysis!  For my return to running plan, I am following this plan, which I found and decided on after a lot of Googling.  I will chronicle the workouts with this plan below as well (separate heading from the walks I've been doing).  

Walking workouts:
5/29--1.24 miles (19 minutes) @15:17/mile
6/2--1.63 miles (30 minutes) @ 18:00/mile
6/3--2.32 miles (36 minutes) @ 15:39/mile
6/4--3.1 miles (49 minutes) @ 15:50/mile **note: right foot got numb after about 30 minutes
6/6--4 miles (64 minutes) @ 15:34/mile **note: right food numbness again... wtf???
6/7--2.45 miles (34 minutes) @ 14:07/mile
6/9--3.00 miles (44:48) @ 14:57/mile
6/12--3.06 miles (41:12) @ 13:28/mile **BOTH feet numb after about 30 min.

6/13--3.17 miles (45:40) @ 14:25/mile **right foot numb after 30 min.
6/15--3.1 miles (45:00) @ 14:31/mile
6/19--1 mile (13:48) @ 13:48/mile **after a bike as part of a "brick"

6/20--4 miles (57:08) @ 14:17/mile
6/23--2.8 miles (40:00) @ 14:17/mile

(continued below with return to running workouts)
Swimming workouts:
5/4--1200 yards pulling
5/9--2000 yards pulling
5/14--2000 yards (pulling with some drills and very easy swimming mixed in at the end)
5/18--1500 yards swimming (very very easy)
5/28--OWS (1.5 miles)
5/30--OWS (.75 miles--1:36/100)
6/4--OWS (.73 miles--1:36/100)
6/8--OWS (.73 miles--1:36/100)
6/16--OWS (.99 miles--1:44/100)
6/18--OWS (1.45 miles--1:32/100)
6/22--OSW (.72 miles--1:35/100)
6/25--OWS (race) (2.44 miles--1:31/100)
6/30--OWS (.98 miles--1:32/100)

Cycling workouts:

6/3--5.02 miles (12.6 mph)
6/5--8.88 miles (12.4 mph)
6/11--11.91 miles (15.7 mph)
6/12--20.46 miles (14.9 mph)
6/15--13.22 miles (16.2 mph)
6/16--11.85 miles (16.6 mph)
6/18--29.79 miles (16.0 mph)
6/19--10.25 miles (16.6 mph)
6/21--17.35 miles (15.2 mph)
6/22--11.84 miles (17.1 mph)
6/27--10.28 miles (16.4 mph)
6/30--11.92 miles (16.5 mph)

Return to running workouts (based on this plan):
Phase 1: Walking program (completed prior to 6/22)
Phase 2: Plyometric routine (completed 6/20)
Phase 3: Walk/jog progression
*Stage 1: 5 min walk/1 min jog x 5 (6/23 and 6/27)

*Stage 2: 4 min walk/2 min jog x 5 (6/29)