Sunday, June 30, 2013

Running & Racing, I Am Coming For You.

Friends, today is the last day of June. Which means tomorrow is the first day of July. And you know what I said was happening the first day of July.

Come tomorrow evening, it is on like Donkey Kong at Kezar Track. My only goal is to get around the track once, slowly, with nothing worse than a dull ache. If I have no pain at all, I may rest it for a few minutes & try one more lap, but .5 miles is definitely the cap for day 1.

First, a quick update:

  • I've been going up stairs with my strained (right) leg! Not 100% normally -- I can tell I'm still favoring it just a little, and there is some really really faint mild pain that wraps around from the crest of my hip through my TFL & into the inside / adductor part of my thigh, but I can do it without wincing & collapsing into a quivering ball of pain.
  • I can do some amount of eccentric loading (think single-leg squats) without holding on to something, maybe ~20° or so, which is a big change from a couple of weeks ago when any eccentric stuff wasn't even a glimmer on the horizon. If I go much farther than that, my TFL gets pretty unhappy, but I have definitely found that the more I squeeze my glutes, the further I can go without pain, which is the whole idea.
  • I've been doing a sort of ball-of-foot bounding gait down our hallway from time to time (so maybe 10-15 yards), which is pretty comfortable. I wouldn't call it running, because any amount of putting my weight forward still absolutely kills my hip, but there is in fact a brief moment of suspension, which again, was something I couldn't even dream about two weeks ago.
  • I've dropped into karate a couple of times and found that can actually do about 45 minutes or so of reasonably solid (if slow and not particularly snappy) basics & kata work. 90° turns are a breeze; past that, my hip still doesn't really have the stability for it yet. Supporting weight on the leg is the only really issue; actually kicking with it is totally fine.
  • I've managed some of the lunging motions in yoga that were giving me trouble last week. I can't hold them for as long as we're supposed to, but I can (usually) get in & out of the poses without hurting myself.
  • Still can't quite go down a step with the left leg (which requires the right leg to do most of the work), but I keep trying, every morning on my way out of the house.
  • Still can't do a flying axe kick (in case you were wondering).

So. I think it's safe to say that we're seeing steady progress, even if it's not particularly speedy progress. I do have to keep reminding myself to compare where I to where I was 1 / 2 / 3 weeks ago, not 1 / 2 /3 days ago, because the improvements are really too small to see from day to day. I see both my sports medicine doc & PT again this week, so it'll be interesting to see what they say.

In addition to buying shoes I can't yet use, I've also been perusing races I can't yet train for. Now, I am under no illusions that I will be a) doing anything that even remotely resembles actual "training" any time soon, b) in anything that remotely resembles good shape when I do get back to training, or c) setting any PRs for the rest of the year. That's fine. That is the price of running a marathon you really shouldn't have, and I knew blowing the next couple of months was a risk going into it.

But, as with the shoes, thinking about fall races means I have some optimism. I can conceive of finishing something longer than a mile within the next 4-6 months. I don't want to sink too much money or travel time into anything since I think it's unlikely I'll be in shape to really "race"-race, but once I'm back to running consistently again, I think it will do me good mentally to have some things on the calendar locally for later in the fall. In general I have a policy against spending money on races I'm not planning to actually race, but what better way could there be than crossing a finish line to draw a line in the sand & say, "Now, I am back. Now I am ready to train."

I think the smart money is on starting with a 10K. I wanted to run a sub-44 10K at some point this year once M2B was done (which I really think I could do if I buckled down & trained specifically for it), but I don't know if that's in the cards anymore since I will have lost so much base training & probably won't be up for serious speed work again for a good while. But I would still like to run one & use the time as a gauge of just how much ground I have to make up after all the hip drama.

I am not even kidding you that I was in the middle of stalking for local fall 10Ks when this email arrived:

"A celebration of all that makes the 510 a great place to live and run, this race will start and finish at Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley and runners will be able to finish on the "home stretch" of the race track itself!"

How much of the love do I have for Brazen races? ALL THE LOVE. October is far enough away that I feel pretty good about the odds of being able to run a solid race & finish strong. All I have to do is get our fall travel plans squared away & make sure I'll be in town for it.

I'd love to get another solid half in before the end of the year as well, and currently the Berkeley Half Marathon on 11/24 is looking pretty enticing (and as it happens, also inaugural, & also in Berkeley).

Depending on how quickly the recovery goes, I might be in shape to do something else before October, but these are the two I'm most excited about so far.

Bay Area peeps, have you heard about these races? Are you thinking about adding either one to your fall calendar? I hear there is a 10% discount for the 10K if you register together with someone (taking the price from $44 down to < $40).

Wish me luck as I head to the track tomorrow!!


  1. While I *love* the fact that Berkeley now has two races to call its own, I can't for the life of me get excited about the courses. I guess it's cool that the Brazen race finishes on the horse track, but I run near the Berkeley Marina all of the time, and so it'd be a bit anti-climatic to me. On top of all of this, the Brazen race is a week before MCM, and I'll most likely be in Taiwan for the Berkeley Half. But if you race, I'll definitely go cheer you on!! (if I'm in the country)

    Good luck at the track tomorrow!!!!!

    1. Thank you!!

      Yeah, that makes sense. I've never gotten a chance to run over there at all, so it'll be novel & cool for me. :)

  2. GOOD LUCK tomorrow! I will be thinking about you and hope that it goes well. I would leave your watch at home too. Just have fun with it and see what you can do. :-)

  3. I'm basically the opposite of Jen -- I so rarely come up with an excuse to run in the East Bay, so I am over the MOON about both of those races. I'm thinking 10K at 510 and 10-miler at the other one, maybe. If you do end up pulling the trigger on the 10K, I'll be your sign-up buddy?

    1. ack and blogger did something dumb so I didn't get to add the most important part: GOOD LUCK TOMORROW!

    2. Thank you!!

      I think we are going to try to get dates nailed down for fall travel stuff this week, so I should know by this weekend. :)

  4. Injuries really suck, BUT I think it's really awesome that you are going to karate to train while you can't run! I've always wanted to do something like karate or tai-chi (although I think those are two completely different things). Good luck today on the track!

  5. Have you run yet? How did it go???

    I'm doing the 10k at the Berkeley Half. Really excited about it already!

    1. YAY!!

      Running this evening when I get home. :)

  6. I am definitely doing the Berkeley half and was strongly considering the 510 run. I have nothing scheduled for October yet, but 2 halfs and a 10 miler in November. That being said, if you're looking for someone to register with for the 510 discount I'm in.