Thursday, October 1, 2015

Injuries and being an athlete

This week has been all about REST and RECOVERY.  It's been about starting to get hyped and setting my final goals.  Today is officially October 1st and we are officially in race month and getting super close to race weekend!  Now is when anxiety has started to kick in, butterflies come in my stomach when I think of the race, and I start obsessively checking the 10-day weather forecast for Chicago.

So, a little bit of what I have been up to... I have been getting back into the groove of work, trying to get more sleep, and working to get in all my mines, as minimal as they are.

I did a four mile run on Tuesday evening, after cancelling on a morning run for the first time in a long, long time.  I woke up to rain on Tuesday morning and since I was fighting off the cold that I had gotten from my little niece and nephew, I chose not to go out for a morning run in the rain. Instead I got some miles in the evening along the Chattahoochee and was so surprised at how humid it still is in Atlanta!!  Up north it was NOT this bad.  It was a good run however, and even though my legs felt dead during it, I was pleasantly surprised with the pace I put up, as well as the view of the river.

Wednesday morning started with a 6-mile run with Janet that was at what I would like to refer to as "sexy pace." We kept it comfortable and caught up on the past couple weeks while running and getting in our morning miles!  It was a great way to start the morning and I was happy to be back in this routine that has kept me moving and getting my miles all throughout the training cycle.

Following that, I spent the day all throughout the city going to appointment after appointment to get my body checked out, partly for health, partly for the marathon.  I started with an appointment at a sports medicine doctor/orthopedist.  I decided to see a sports doctor because of the pain that I have been feeling in my right hip during my long runs.  It is not a super inhibiting pain, as I have not stopped any of my runs due to it, but it is definitely apparent and had been occurring earlier and earlier in runs over the past few weeks since my 18-mile run.  I also wanted to get some advice about my left knee, which has now been clicking/popping every time it goes from straight to bent for the past few weeks now.

The doctor did some x-rays of my hips to compare them and did an examination and essentially told me that he saw in the x-ray that my right hip fits into the socket a bit funny.  It didn't come as too much of a surprise to me, to be honest, because after he identified that, I was able to realize that it probably was also a source of the fact my right foot has always turned out a bit when I walk.  And when I swam my whole life, I was never able to compete in the breast stroke because I could not (and cannot to this day) get my legs to accurately line up with that frog motion.

He said that it is something that is so small and not really going to be an issue with shorter distance running, but as I've been experiencing, it can add up when I get to higher and higher mileage. Which then causes me to shift weight and pinch other things in different ways.  He gave me a prescription for an extra strength anti-inflammatory and also said that if I saw a chiropractor it would likely be able to give me some relief before the race.  So I took his referral and called from the parking lot and they were able to take me right then, so I went immediately to a sports chiropractor in Atlanta.

When I walked IN, walking OUT, was a local run club organizer and race director who helped me train for the Publix Half Marathon in March.  If you run in Atlanta, you know her, and I already felt confident in them when I learned that she has been seeing this sports chiropractor for the past 3 years.  I also learned that they work with the Olympic team, so hey, not too shabby!

I've only seen a chiropractor once before, but this was a whole new experience and I LOVED it.  Immediately after seeing him, I already felt some relief in my hip. He ran the Chicago Marathon last year, made me feel so comfortable, and treated me really really well.  He also helped educate me a bit on what I can do to prevent this from happening again and to relieve this "injury."

We had a number of interactions that struck me as funny that I am SURE had him thinking, "Where in the world did this girl come from..."  For example, I corrected him when he called my hip pain an "injury" and said, it's not an injury, it's just some pain.  He was like, "What do you think an injury is?!"  My response, "Umm... I don't know... that just feels so SERIOUS!"

Another good one was...

Him: "So, do you do core work?"
Me: "Um... well... what do you mean?"
Him: "What do you do to work your core?"
Me: "Doesn't running work your core?"
Him: (more seriously) "Do you do anything specific for your core?"
Me: "Um... maybe... do you mean like planks or something?"
Him: "....." (blank stare.)

Apparently I need to be doing "core work."  So I'll be working on that in the future.  And I guess some more stretching as well.

Him: "Do you stretch your hip flexors?"
Me: "If you could just explain to me what that looks like or where that is.... I can then let you know."
Him: "...." (blank stare)

Anyways, I loved the experience of going to the chiropractor and made an appointment to go again on Tuesday of next week.  I followed up the day with also an appointment at the dermatologist and then finally with a sports massage.  The sports massage was AMAZING as well.  Wow, I have never had a massage like that before and it really worked and stretched and massages parts of my hips and butt and legs that I have not been able to reach with a foam roller.

I woke up today feeling sore from all the work done on my body yesterday, but also feeling okay from the pain.  I did a 3-mile run this morning at the Jackson Street Bridge with my running group and felt really good during it.  Plus, the view there is amazing and I love seeing Atlanta in the morning in all its glory!

I am anxious for this soreness to go away so I can tell for real how it actually feels on my hip and side, because right now I definitely still feel achey from the chiropractor and the massage.  Last night at the masseuse's recommendation I did an epsom salt bad, and tonight, at the recommendation of the chiropractor, I took an ice bath.  It's the first time in my life that I have ever done an ice bath and to be honest, I thought it was going to be a lot worse than it actually was!  This picture may not tell that story though.

And to be honest, I also feel sort of stupid.  I feel sort of stupid that I am working so hard and spending so much time and effort (and money) into preparing myself for this race.  Why am I doing this?  I'm not trying to win any medals.  I'm not setting world records or trying to qualify for anything.  I'm just trying to run a race.

Besides, I just wrote this whole post about how I am okay with losing some time off my run because of the hectic schedule.  I guess, I mean, maybe this is just part of where my priorities are.  Now that I am home, I do want to get myself into top shape.  I know that I did myself some harm by enjoying myself and enjoying my moments with family and living my life, but now that I am back, I want to put the investment in to repairing my body and getting myself race ready.

But why?  Why am I doing this?  To be honest, I need to explore this thought a lot more.  Because I literally spent the majority of the day yesterday at appointments trying to fine tune my body.  I don't know how much it will do, but this somehow feels worth the investment.  I know I'm rambling at this point but I do want to be as ready as I am race day.  I know there are no quick fixes and maybe I wouldn't be in this position of having to spend money to repair my body before the race if I had been better at investing the time earlier, but alas here I am.

I find it funny though that I jumped back and corrected the chiropractor when he addressed my pain as an "injury."  He called me out on it and addressed the fact that when I first introduced myself I let him know that I had psoriasis (to account for the blotches on my skin that he had to touch.)  He laughed and said to me, "You can say you have psoriasis but you can't say that you have an injury?"

And then the masseuse (who happens to also be my friend Nikki) told me that she sees similar things that she has been seeing in me in the other "athletes" that she treats.  I again corrected her, "Ha! Nikki, I'm not an athlete!" and she stopped me with, "Girl, you do marathons. You are an athlete."

I've been struggling a bit leading up to this marathon with accepting some of these things about myself and about my training/race.  Calling my pain an "injury" and ME an "athlete" does not feel right.  It makes me feel quesy and a bit uncomfortable.  It feels so serious.  And because I don't consider myself an "athlete" and don't consider what I have to be an "injury" than why am I spending so much time and money investing in a race?  Why am I doing this?

A few weeks ago I was thinking about the Chicago Marathon and thinking about the race weekend. As I mentioned before I compare things a lot and I have been thinking about the finish lines and the races I have done in the past.

When I ran the Kansas City Marathon, I had picked out and run that race with my friend Kristen. We knew we wanted to do a race together and chose that location, planned our trips together, shared a hotel, etc. I would never have picked the Kansas City Marathon as a race to run if I hadn't been doing it with my friend Kristen.

When I ran the Paris Marathon, I ran it with my friends Dani and Jess. I signed up for that race when Dani signed up and invited me to join.  I trained for the race with Jess, made arrangements to stay in Paris with Dani, Jess, and another friend who was coming to cheer. I would have picked the Paris Marathon as a race to run if I hadn't been doing it with a group of friends.

So why did I sign up for Chicago Marathon and pick that as a race to run?  Well there is one difference between why I signed up for this race and why I signed up for others.  I signed up because I wanted to run the Chicago Marathon.  ME.  I wanted to do it.  Nobody else.  Regardless of what friends are doing.  I wanted to run this race.

This is a first for me.  My first marathon I am running for ME.  I tell all my friends who begin training for things and who worry about pace or finishing times that that doesn't matter.  What matters is that they are out doing something that the majority of people are not.  That they are fighting and pushing themselves and that whether you finish in 2:30 or 5:30, a marathon is 26.2 miles for everyone.  However, when it comes to myself, I think, "Why are you trying so hard when you are barely trying to set a decent time?"

As you can see, I have a lot of back and forth going on in my head.  I've also been working on trying to set goals for myself.  I haven't had a time goal throughout all this training, wanting to set it at the end after I've seen the times I've been able to post during the long run training.  Well, now I've done it all and here I am and what can I expect to do?  Run at 10-minute pace? 9:45 pace? 9:30? Can I run a 9:10 pace?

I don't know! I don't know what goals to set.  I don't know what to expect of myself.  I don't know why I am paying all this money in attempts to fix myself from this non-injury when I didn't just invest the time earlier.  Maybe I'm just getting anxious, maybe I'm just over thinking things, maybe I care about this more than I let my earlier post realize?

Usually I love writing here because it helps me figure things out.  I don't feel like I'm closer to figuring things out right now, but it is helpful to let everything out.  I am getting nervous and excited and scared for Chicago.  Which I think is natural a week and a half out.  I'm doubting myself and doubting what I am capable of.  I am analyzing my times and my runs and my aches and pains and at any given moment changing my mind of what I think I am capable of.  I know some people think I'm crazy for all I'm investing in this.  A part of me thinks that I am crazy too.  Who do I think I am getting sports massages and seeing an Olympic chiropractor?  I'm just a goofy girl who barely knows what she is doing. I'm not anyone special or doing anything extraordinary.  My times are not stellar and wouldn't impress most marathoners.  I feel a bit like a poser and one of those people who goes to the gym in a fancy expensive outfit but barely does anything to break a sweat.  I mean, I survived all these other marathons without doing this stuff.  And yes, I think I can do better in this race with all that I've been doing with my training lately, but at what expense.  Maybe I run a few minutes faster with the help of the masseuse and the chiropractor, but am I buying those minutes?  I have always worked hard and gotten ahead at things by earning them.  Am I feeling like I am buying this race by investing so much money in my well being?  Or are these just my insecurities about being new to thinking about these races on a more serious nature?  It all feels odd to me. Do you guys know what I'm saying?

Anyways, I'm rambling.  I've got a lot of stuff on my mind and I guess I should think some more before I put it all in writing.  I will sign off and try to do some more of that :)

I'm done my miles until Sunday, which feels weird.  So I am going to keep resting and taking care of myself and spending time relaxing, seeing friends, and having fun over the weekend.  If you've read this far and have any thoughts, let me know what you think.  I always appreciate hearing from you guys.  Happy Thursday :)

No comments:

Post a Comment