Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spring Recap

Some of the medals from my spring races.

It has been a busy spring for me with a lot to catch up on so I will just dive right into it.  After Louisville Lovin' The Hills I ran into some issues with my training. It wasn't just the harsh winter that refused to go away but I had some injury problems as well.  LLTH definitely put me through some pain. The hardheadedness that runs in my family kept me on my training schedule regardless of pain. Little did I know that it was a big mistake!

The week after LLTH I felt like I was OK to run but I started having some hip pain.  I had a 5k coming up so I just took it easy until then. When the 5k came around, the hip pain really intensified when I tried to run hard. I had signed up for a lot of spring races so I knew I had to get it fixed. I talked to a few friends and decided to see a chiropractor. After an X-Ray he said my legs were uneven and the lower vertebrae in my back as well as my hip were locked up.

I decided to go on a 9 visit plan to see if he could help me. I continued running through the treatment and I don't know if it was because of the adjustments or if I was overcompensating for the hip but I started having knee pain as the hip pain got better.  In fact, I was out on a 20 mile run when I saw a friend of mine and stopped to talk to him.  When I went to start my run again, my knee locked up completely.  I was able to loosen it up enough to continue running but when I got home it locked up again.  I continued to have knee pain for a while and couldn't run more than a mile before I had to stop.

At this point I knew I was in trouble.  Training wasn't going well, I was in pain, and my spring race schedule had already started.  After some research I decided to start using my foam roller on my legs every night and use some heat therapy as well.  I also bought a compression knee brace which really helped get me through longer runs without as much pain.  I was able to fight through a 10k, 10 miler, and half marathon with the rolling and the brace but I had to back down the Derby Marathon to a half.

I had 2 marathon's planned for this spring, The Kentucky Derby Marathon in Louisville and The Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati.  I had run the Derby Marathon before but I was really looking forward to The Flying Pig because I had never done it and I had heard how big it was.  I decided to focus on The Flying Pig so that meant backing down the Derby Marathon to a half to make sure I was healed enough and had enough time to get in some more training.  It was a hit on my pride to back it down to a half especially since it cost me another $40 to do so.  But, I really wanted to do well at The Flying Pig and now that I look back on that decision, it was the correct one..

Luckily, I was able to resolve most of the pain by the KDF Mini-Marathon.  I still wore the knee brace because my knee still hurt but I was able to finish with a good time.  It wasn't my best time but after all I had been through in the spring I was happy with it.

The week before The Flying Pig I felt a lot better about my knee.  I was able to get my training runs in without the brace so I took the trip to Cincinnati without it. I was amazed at the effort put into the weekend events in Cincinnati.  The expo for the marathon and half was huge!  The kid races (which both of my boys participated in) were really well organized and they even gave all the kids medals.

The race itself was unlike any marathon I had ran.  If you have ever been to Cincinnati then you will know what I am talking about.  I knew going into the race that there would be some hills I would have to conquer but I had no idea how many!  I remember getting to the 20 mile mark and thinking it should be all downhill now to the city so this must be the last hill.  I think I said that phrase "this must be the last hill" 5-6 more times before realizing that there was a final climb up to the finish line.  By that time I was pretty proud of my finish because I hadn't stopped to walk one time during the entire race.  With the hills, lack of training, and injury, I was able to finish in 3 hours and 36 minutes.  It wasn't my best time but it may have been my best effort yet.

The best part about The Flying Pig was the fan support.  I cannot say how amazing it was!  I had never seen so many people out to support the runners than I did that day in Cincinnati.  There were parties going on at houses all along the course.  People were handing out water, fruit, Vaseline, wet towels, and even beer.  There were people dressed up as pigs, Elvis, and superheroes.  There were signs, bells, motivational quotes chalked on the road, as well as bands playing all along the course.  The hills brought a challenge but the people there made sure lack of motivation wasn't a factor.  I left very impressed with the people of Cincinnati as well as the massive effort and support of the Flying Pig organization.

So it was a rough start to the spring racing season but it ended pretty well.  Now it is time to focus on getting faster over the summer so I can attempt to qualify for Boston in the fall.  Hopefully I am done with injuries for the year and can finally make that goal!