Bad Luck & Managing A Dreaded Injury
Well, let's just say I have had a string of bad running luck since July 27, 2019. Yes, remember, that's the day I ran the Idaho Falls Marathon. See post for specifics as I really don't feel like reliving that race here. Let's just say I was very disappointed in the race operations and leave it at that. Secondly, I was so pissed that I just HAD to book another race right smack dab in the middle of Idaho Falls and RDU Marathon. As luck would have it, I just happened to pick a winner, just like picking the slowest line in the grocery store. I picked the Heartland Marathon which I read so many great reviews about it prior to signing up so I was sure it was going to be ok, minus the flooding of the Missouri River just days prior to the race. Anyway, long story short here, I traveled all the way to Nebraska (of all places) to start the marathon in the torrential rain only to be told that the race was over due to flooding on the backup course and the Iowa DPW needing to access the pumps near the river. Oh well, sucks. See I told you. What I forgot to say is that my left hip flexor was sore before this marathon because I went hiking the Sunday prior to the race. During the week leading up to the race, I honestly questioned how the heck I was going to run the marathon on Sunday. But I started the race and ran just under 7 miles before I got shut down, so perhaps it was a blessing in disguise that I didn't push it 4 times farther?! One will never know. To top the shitty week off, I found out a few days after this 'swing and a miss' race, that although I qualified for Boston with a 3:49 marathon, it still wasn't quite good enough to get in next year. I was mad because the BAA lowered the standards and I freaking beat that new standard, but still, they have to make room for the sponsor bibs. I don't think this is right. If you qualify, you should be in. Oh well, let's keep the streak of bad luck going, shall we? I ran the Baystate Half Marathon about a month later and I signed up for this race in January to get another half under my belt. I'm always running full marathons and the truth is, I'm probably a better half marathon runner. My goal was to run a sub 1:50 half (for my age, not half bad!) but I was around mile 11 or so when the sweeper truck was showing up to pick up the slower runners (it's a loop course) and at that segment of the course, I was stuck because the jersey barriers were up and the road was narrow and I couldn't get between the truck and the slower guy, so my pace slowed (I probably lost about 10-15 seconds.) I was worried this was going to be a factor as I neared the finish line and sure enough I ran a 1:50:02. Of course, I was so pissed about this. LOL! Only me. I was running a 5:53 pace (per Garmin watch) at the end of the half marathon because I was trying so hard to close the gap. Anyway, I was bent and soon after this race, my hip flexor was hurting during the week. I took 2 days off post-race and then tried to run 4 slow, measly miles. It was after this I realized my hip hurt considerably and that I could only take rest days to try to make it heal. I took 3 days off then ran again. It felt sore again, so I took another 3 days off. As this next marathon was inching closer, I was feeling desperate between icing sessions and began my PT exercises again. Yes, it's the same hip flexor that hurt 4 years ago after Reach the Beach, so I was quite familiar with what I had to do to get back to normal again. When nothing hurts, you tend to skip these strength training exercises. But for me, I know when it hurts to WALK, that I have a PROBLEM and I shouldn't run! And here I was only 1.5 weeks until my next freaking marathon. OMG, I was thinking how will I even accomplish it if my hip hurts to walk?! I was asking myself if perhaps it is a touch of hip flexor tendonitis because it bothered me before Nebraska too. OK, well, I could go see a doctor about it, but why should I when I can try to resolve it on my own. I don't need to pay them to tell me what I already 'know'. I'm the last person on earth to go see a doctor and be a big freaking baby. I will only go if I feel like I'm dying. LOL! So I religiously began these exercises again (bridges, pushups, clamshells with band, walking sideways with the band and donkey kicks as well as a myriad of specific hip flexor and hamstring stretches) and I slowly started to feel better. So much so, I have been able to run consecutive days again. My hip is still a little sore, but it doesn't hurt to walk or run, so that's a big plus. Occasionally, I will feel an ache but I think I can get through the race now. I was able to run a few miles in the 8's over the past few days without any pain. I just need to string together about 8 times that distance on Sunday and I will be fine! I took my pre-race epsom salt bath and will have a date with my compression boots soon, but I am feeling more confident now than I was a week ago. I started to think I could be on the shelf for a while and frankly, that would make me freak out!! So I'm on to North Carolina for now and I'm hoping and praying I can bust out a good marathon. After all, my string of bad running luck has to come to an end once and for all. I am due for something good to happen. As long as I don't feel any specific hip pain, I'm going to run as hard and as fast as I can. I am going to aim for a 3:45 marathon (stretch goal) if I feel good. But of course, I won't know how I feel until I get about an hour into the race. I know I should be able to do that barring any major pains. I just have to push it baby! Check back to see if I was able to do it or not. I will still be happy with a PR of course (under 3:49), but even just running a sub-4 marathon (realistic goal) will be something to be proud of after this annoying hip flexor soreness so close to the race. As my favorite, Tom Brady says, "LFG!" That's what I am going to think about during the race. Words to live by Tom. Words to live by. Let's see if I am able to "G"! Fingers & toes crossed for now. Not during the race though.