Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Some speed and my knee

Let's talk about a knee and speed.

I went to the doctor on Monday. I told her about my cranky knee. She did a quick exam, bent my knee a couple of different ways, asked me what hurt. I told her. She said it didn't sound or feel like anything structural and that she thought it was most likely an IT band issue.

So on Tuesday I'm heading to see a physical therapist. My doctor opted not to refer me straight to the sports medicine doctor. She said she's worked with the PT she's sending to before - both as a doctor as a patient herself - and the PT has really good diagnostic abilities. So PT it is for me. And if my cranky knee isn't getting better in a month, I'll get sent to the sports doc and probably have x-rays or an MRI to figure out what's wrong.

PT starts in less than a week. But at this point, I'tm still cleared to run. My doctor said I can continue to run at this point, just don't ramp up mileage, try to change my form or do anything stupid. Well, she didn't really say stupid, but that's what I took her to mean.

Which meant I could go to my first speed work session on the track with my running group last night. OK. Speed work on the track may possibly fall into the new and stupid category, but I went into it with the mindset that if my knee started to hurt I would stop.

And good news, it didn't hurt. Well, not while I was running. Afterwards, it was sore, but I was kind of expecting that. I mean it's not everyday I do speed work. So I had a nice date with the foam roller and ice pack last night when I got home.

As for the speed work session? It was a 1.5 mile warm up followed by 6x200 meter intervals. Since it was the first week, I wasn't aiming for a specific pace. I just wanted to be consistent. Which I was - four were at 58 seconds, one at 57 seconds and one 59 seconds. Following the 200s, I had one 400 meter interval, which I finished in 2:10. I'm happy. Then there was another 1.5 mile cooldown. I almost bagged it at 1 mile, but I gutted it out.

So kind of good news on the knee and I managed to survive my first speed session at the track. That was kind of a good start to the week.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Plans are set

Yup. A Ragnar recap is in order. I'll get to that this week.

First, I just want to get something out there about what's coming up for the next few months. If you look over at the race schedule sidebar, you'll notice it doesn't have anything listed after Ragnar. That's because up until a few weeks ago, I didn't have any plans set in stone.

I do now.

It'll be a summer and fall working towards a trio of half marathons. Since I didn't get an official time in the Green Bay Half Marathon and therefore wasn't able to apply for Half Fanatics status, that became the goal for the fall. Well, that and have better results than I did in the spring. So I picked my races.

The Madison Mini on Aug. 18. I loved this race last year, even WITH the hour-and-a-half delay due to a thunderstorm. Of course, it's hard not to love a race that runs through the UW campus and some of my favorite places in a city that holds a special place in my heart. Honestly, this may be a "training" run, but I'll decided that as the race gets closer.

Fox Cities Half Marathon on Sept. 23. This is my home half marathon. Run through my hometown. The site of my first half marathon. The place where I set my current PR. So of course I'll be back. It's also the race that I'm throwing that "A" race designation on. I'm planning on leaving it all out on the race course.

And I'll wind down the fall racing season with the Tyranena Beer Run half marathon on Nov. 3. I'm excited for this one. Most, if not all, of the The Panty Raiders will be there, so it'll be a mini-Ragnar reunion. Plus I have a ton of oher friends who will be out there on the race course. I think it'll be a fun race to end the season. Plus, being an early November race, it'll motivate me to keep running once that A race is over. And if we continue with hot weather through the summer, it should give me an almost guaranteed cooler weather half.

So there you have it. Three half marathons planned for the fall. Throw in a 5K or two for fun and there's been talk of doing an Olympic triathlon relay. Should be a good summer full of big dreams, hard work and lots of running.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wanting to run, but I haven't been

I have a confession to make.

Since Ragnar I've run one time. Once. Three miles. That's all. It's not that I haven't wanted to. It's because I'm a tiny bit scared to.

See for the last three weeks or so I've been dealing with some strange pain in my knee area. I've mentioned that I've been struggling with some IT band issues in my left leg for about, oh six months or so. It hasn't been anything too awful. Lots of foam rolling, some icing, KT tape on the long runs and I've been good to go.

But sometime around Green Bay it changed. Yes, the soreness was still there in the IT band area. But the week leading up to the race it was odd. When I would go upstairs, it was a little more painful. It was taper week though, so I backed down on mileage. Ran the half, recovered for a week and got back into running with just the IT band issues again.

Then we get to a few days before I was set to go to Ragnar.

The knee hurt again. But in a different spot. It moved to the inside of my knee. Not the IT band area. And it felt stiff. And random sharper pains. I almost wanted to cry. I iced big time, taped my knee. I ran. During my second leg of Ragnar I had to throw in some extra walk breaks because it was getting cranky. But I could run.

And in the week since Ragnar? It's been on and off pain. In different spots depending on the day. Some days it doesn't hurt - like the day I actually ran - and then it will. I can't think of anything that I've done lately that would have caused me this pain. The only thing that does come to mind was when I feel off the 12-foot wall at Tough Mudder last year and banged my knee.

So I'm confused. Thankfully I've already got my appointment made with my primary care doctor on Monday for my yearly physical. I'm telling her about the cranky, troublesome knee. I'm pretty sure she'll point me in the direction of a specialist. I'm OK with that. I just want to know what's wrong and how to fix it. Honestly I don't think it's anything super serious. I'm hoping it's just some kind of strain that I can address with some PT and stretching.

In the meantime, I took the night off from running tonight so that I can run/walk with two of my Panty Raiders teammates tomorrow during their Longest Day event for Alzheimer's and so I can get another run in on Saturday with Peggy.

Because this girl is going stir crazy not running.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Panty Raiders survived the run!

Photo courtesy of Kim M.
The Panty Raiders before setting out on our 200 mile journey.

Ragnar Chicago. What an adventure.

My thoughts are still swirling around what that 200-mile journey with 11 other amazing ladies was. But at this point, let's just say it was a blast. An experience I'm so happy I had. And one that I hope to repeat in the future.

A more complete Ragnar report will be coming in the next few days, but I just wanted to throw out a quick update. We ran, we smelled, we had a blast and we crossed the finish line!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Ragnar Edition

1. It's Ragnar Chicago Eve! And I'm so excited! Grant I've still got a living room floor covered in stuff I need to pack and I still need to track down a few things, but I figure I've got all day to do that. That is why I took the day off today after all. I'm super excited to meet up with my team, The Panty Raiders, tomorrow morning and whatever the next 36 hours has in store as we travel 200 miles from Madison to Chicago. Can't. Wait.

2. What I could wait for is the heat. We got an e-mail from the race director with this nugget in it:

Oh. A heat index over 100 degrees on Friturday. That sounds swell. Especially since I'll be running my legs at approximately 6 p.m. on Friday, 3:30 a.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. I'm pretty sure that last leg will be brutal. Quite possibly the hardest 4.8 miles I'll ever run. Needless to say, any plans for fast legs have been thrown out the window and it'll be a "have fun, finish and don't die" kind of race plan. :) Of course, am I surprised we're getting this kind of weather? Remember Columbus, Ohio and Green Bay? Hot. I should be used to this by now, shouldn't I?

3. So obviously I won't be around until Sunday afternoon at the earliest. But chances are, I'll be trying to sleep then, or I'll be so sleep deprived I'll have hit that slap happy state where I'm UNABLE to fall asleep even though I want to. But I'll be back next week with a full report on my 36-hours of running, sleeplessness and shenanigans that was Ragnar Chicago. If you want, follow me on Twitter, @BadgerJen2002, for updates. Or follow @ThePantyRaiders for updates from my entire team!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sole Burner 5K Race Report

I'm cutting it awfully close. The Sole Burner 5K was almost a month ago and I still haven't written a race report.

But since I have the afternoon off - conceivably to get ready for Ragnar Chicago - I'm sitting down and writing it. So here goes, I'm pretty sure it'll be a short one since it was almost a month ago.

So between my double race day in Ohio, where I ran the Capital City Half Marathon and the Cinco de Mayo 5K, and the Sole Burner 5K I didn't run. Call it a recovery week I guess. Honestly I'm not sure why I didn't run. I just know I didn't.

Race morning I went down to the downtown Appleton park where the start/finish area is and we met up with my brother and his family. There was chit chat, some pictures taken and pretty soon it was time to line up.

I positioned myself somewhere in the middle of the pack, just really not wanting to get stuck behind a bunch of strollers and walkers. The gun went off and I just stood there. With a large crowd of runners - there were about 7,000 people running/walking - it took awhile to cross the starting mat, I'd say about 3 or 4 minutes. But eventually I did and I started to run.

Due to some construction, the route was changed up a bit this year and I really didn't study the course map before hand. So I was kind of running blind during the first 2 miles, not really knowing where I was going. I didn't like that part of the course too well - too many turns for my liking, especially during the first mile.

But right before Mile 2 we hit the downhill. I like hills. And I was aggressive, passing people. And of course at the bottom of the hill is where they set up the water stop. I grabbed a cup, walked for 10 seconds and started to run again.

I kept wondering when my brother (with his long legs) would fly by me, but he never did. I was holding a decent pace, right around 10 minute miles.

And what goes down, must also go back up. I hit the Heartbreak Hill and gutted it out. It was harder this year since I haven't done as much hill work. But I refused to walk the hill. Now, when I got to the top? Yes, I took a short walk break, mostly to get my heart rate down a bit. Then it was just two more blocks and I was cruising through the finish line.

Now, according to my Garmin, I crossed in 31:30. According to the "official" results, I finished in 30:30. So I'm not sure where that extra minute went. Either time I'm happy with, especially considering the top of the hill walk.

After I finished, I headed over to where my mom was camped out and cheered on the rest of my family to the finish. My brother finished a minute or behind me (but actually had a faster finishing time since he started behind me). The reason he never flew by me? About a mile in he hit a pot hole in the road and ended up twisting his ankle pretty badly. Ouch.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Few things on Friday

1. Ragnar! One week! At this time next week I'll be in a van with five other fabulous ladies getting ready to run my first Ragnar leg. Can. Not. Wait.

2. It's amazing what running with a friend can do. Thursday night I wasn't in the mood to run. My knee was achy, I had a good book to read and it was kind of dreary out. But one text message from Peggy and an hour later I find myself enjoying a 4-mile run with her and her dog Belle along the  Fox River. Just what I needed.

3. After Ragnar is done next week, I've got seven months of the year free of races. Which means I've been thinking of what I want to tackle next. And my mind has been swirling ideas around.