Monday, April 16, 2012

Expect the Unexpected

My title is a bit of a misnomer, as you'll see in a bit.

So it appears that I am facing an injury.

Yesterday, I set out for an easy-paced (9:00P) 22-miler. I felt really good and was actually shooting for 8:59P (Ha! I like seeing 8s as much as possible.). I decided to go on a more adventurous route and run across the Colorado River into California. As I crossed a bridge and crested a hill at mile 11, my lower back started hurting. I was caught a little off guard but thought maybe it was just a kink. You know how all of us distance runners get kinks during runs that seem to eventually work themselves out.

Except this wasn't working itself out.

I stopped to stretch at mile 12. Then I started back up and discovered it wasn't getting better. I began to consider an alternative. Maybe I could shoot for 20 and call it a day. I kept on but started doing the thing where I look down at my Garmin every 2 seconds. I saw my pace slowing. Uh oh. I realized I was in the 9:20s and starting to hurt more. I got to 15.57 and something in my mind said, "STOP." So I did. Then I walked 2 miles to a nearby Chevron and called my husband to come pick me up.


While this certainly was unexpected in a sense, in another sense, I've seen it coming.

Signing up for marathons within 4 months of one another was a big leap of faith for me. I did not plan on BQing at Carlsbad, so Pasadena was primarily my A-goal race where I would run sub-3:40. Being the Type-A that I am, once I got that BQ I realized that I wanted to shift to sub-3:35 to help increase my chances of actually getting into the Boston Marathon with the new strict registration process.

While I could maintain the intensity of training for Carlsbad fairly easily, it's been tough to keep hanging on for Pasadena. My runs have been solid and exactly where I want them to be, but the things that I need to be doing off the pavement? Not good.

Things I have NEGLECTED:

  • strength/core work-It's been about 5-6 weeks since I've been to the gym... yikes
  • sleep-I don't get enough. Period. I really should be getting a solid 7-8 hours per night.
  • diet/hydration-My diet has not been that great for a while. I'm in busy mom mode and haven't been feeding myself the *best* quality foods that I should be eating. Also, I live in a constant state of dehydration.
  • yoga-Yeah right! Like I have time for that.
Neglecting some of these things has simply come down to how I bit off more than I can chew. Running sub-3:35 has meant an increase in mileage, which has been incredibly hard for me to balance given my family responsibilities, part-time job, and grad school studies. Oh yeah, and then balancing stuff like spring break and this:

Poor guy fell asleep on our back patio yesterday. I swear, I'm wondering if he brought home the Ebola virus from school. 

So here I am, not sure what's going to happen in the next 34 days. The good news is that my back feels better than it did yesterday. Yesterday I was hobbling around like a 90 year-old woman. It is still most definitely unrun-worthy, however. My plans today include a lot of sitting on the couch with the boys, listening to them cough/hack, but selfishly, I will be dragging them to the chiropractor's office so I can start re-hab ASAP. They are ill but not DEATHLY ill, so it's all good. And I know they'll be up for a little good behavior bribery in the form of Starbucks cake pops. 

Oh, and of course today I'm going to be tracking my Boston girls! YAY! 


  1. That picture of your son asleep on the patio is too cute!! Yes, take care of yourself and your babies FIRST! Get everyone healthy and maybe a few days off will help your back feel normal again.

    Do a little bit of core every day and make it doable- not overwhelming. I just stick my basic push-ups and sit-ups since I can do them anytime from home. It's a very simple core workout but it's something.

    I'm sure by the middle of this week you will be back in action!

    1. Thanks, Tia! I have already started on my core workouts. My husband is in PT for hip issues (i.e. super weak adductors) and last night we did his prescribed PT exercises together. Boy, I am WEAK! Only took 10 minutes though, so my goal is to do it every day.

  2. Oh, no, Allison! That's so frustrating... I hope, like Tia said, that you'll be back in action soon. I'm glad you can get to the chiro-- back pain seems like it could be so many different things, it will feel good to have someone explain what's going on and get you back to running asap. I hear you on the type-A, I'd be doing the exact same thing!

  3. Yes, the all neglected core - I know what you mean. Take it easy, I hope it turns around quickly. I'm the same way about sleep - I know what I should be doing but there just isn't enough hours in the day!!!

    Hope the Ebola virus passes quickly!! ;)

  4. Oh babe, rough patch. The good thing though is that you still have time. your body is speaking to you and all you need to do is listen. In the book Running on the edge(I think thats the name- its on my kindle (<;) he says that a stong runner is like a recipe. You need a little of all things to make it all come together. A sprinkle of tempo, a dash of nutrition, a bit of long runs,some sleep, some strength training. That the recipe isnt complete without all of it. Which is so damn hard to actually do. But I think he is right. 34 days is a long time. Maybe go with your B goal instead. In anycase you are on the right track, regrouping ready to do what you need to do. Hugs.

    1. What a great analogy with the recipe. So, so, so, so true. Fingers crossed and hoping it's a minor setback!

  5. You know what I'm going to tell nice to your back. You are doing the right thing to be seen. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you that it's a warning shot and nothing more serious. (I'm so sorry about the sick kids too. Both of mine have coughs they can't seem to lose. Ugh. I like winter better, but with kids summer is much easier.)

  6. Oh, this is not fun to read. I am sorry about the long run gone bad, but I am GLAD that you had the common sense to get a ride. My pride sometimes gets in the way and I have regretted it more than once.

    Hoping you have a rapid recovery and that you are back out there again soon. Perhaps something inflamed just needs to settle down and then you can start working in some core strength stuff.

    Looks like you are getting some good advice already (I just now looked through the comments) . Hugs!!

  7. Hope the chiropractor helps! And that you are back at it again soon. Enjoy the down time though because I'm guessing it won't last long.

  8. Back issues are the WORST! I tweaked my back last month it is no fun. I had a massage and it helped loosen the muscles. Also, "icy-hot" patches are great. Geez, when did we get so old? Slowly add core work to re-build your strength. I re-started my strength training after reading your last post. Thanks for the motivation to keep a balance! Here is wishing you a speedy recovery!