Saturday, August 29, 2009


That's what they say... Listen to your body. Okay, well.. I thought it was saying, "You can do it! Forget the pain. You're back! Let's go!" But, if I would have gone a little deeper I would have heard, "You're doing well, but you still have pain, so you need to take more recovery time. You can do this; you just need to remember you're not where you were. You are where you are." How about that for profound. Haha!

So, I did too much. So, I back off. Regroup. Recharge...

The schedule was a bit too ambitious.

After the nice run with the strides last Thursday, I went out Friday for an easy six miles. Well, before I knew it I was doing under 9's, and ended up doing four miles at marathon pace (what my 5k race time predicts my marathon pace would be). It felt so good! But afterwards I was hurting.

Took Saturday off, 45 minutes on the elliptical. Tried to run on Sunday, hurt too much, cut the run short. Again on Monday, tried to run but again, hurt too much and I cut out. Took Tueday and Wednesday off, very discouraged, but... reminding myself that this has happened before and all I need to do is take a few days off and start again. And how do you know if you've done too much until you do too much? Listen. Listen deep.

Back in South Florida, it is hot! Perfect for taking some down time! Jog/walk in the park on the trails on Thursday morning--beautiful! Friday off. And this morning, again, jog about 3 1/2 miles on the trails, then jog/walk another couple miles. Enjoy the woods, enjoy the fresh air and the waterway and the sun and the people I see in the park... Listen--not to my ego.. go deeper--to my heart.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Recovery and Communion

Wednesday was recovery day after the 15 miles on Tuesday. I walked to our local grocery store to get food for dinner. That was a mile there and a mile back. I also went an hour easy on the elliptical in the fitness room. Thursday, I went out for an easy 6 miles with some strides thrown in. I didn't think I would be able to do it when I started out. I was hurting. But three miles into the run (yes, three miles of "warmup"), I began to loosen up and was able to do six 30-second controlled strides.

Getting old isn't fun. Turning 50 was terribly difficult for me--menopause (Ohmigosh!) and all sorts of health issues that seemed to come out of nowhere. But now, as I am heading toward 60, it seems to all be getting a little easier, a little gentler, and more... joyous! Instead of fighting it, I am learning to accept, and enjoy, the process. I am settling in to being a middle-aged woman, who is healthy and, yes, happy.

In the running world, getting older means slowing down--slower race times, more recovery time and longer warmups needed. But all your running friends are getting older too, so the slowing down doesn't really matter. The road racing community devised a pretty neat thing when it started providing recognition for age groups. Motivation for staying in the game! We now realize that "competition" means helping each other be the best we can be. It brings us together. And that's what it's all about, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Love It!

Went out for a 12-mile run and ended up doing a little more than 15! Feeling pretty good at 12, I thought I would just keep going another half-mile or so before heading back. A water fountain I was counting on to fill up my water bottle wasn't working. I really needed more water, so I looped around to one I had filled up at earlier, and that added the extra miles. The last mile was a very slow jog, but okay! It is just a beautiful day--sunny and warm, not too hot! Saw two bunnies and lots of different birds on my run. I was out there for almost two and a half hours and it was wonderful!

On my run in Wisconsin...
On My Run...

"I just started running and I love it!!" Barb told me when I saw her last week. We met a couple months ago. She turns 50 soon.

That's exactly how I felt when I first began running at age 37. When I could finally run three miles without stopping, I felt like I could run forever. It was fun! It made me feel like a kid. I felt pure joy when I ran--and that's when I first used "run2joy." It was 1991, e-mail was new, and I thought up "run2joy" for my screen name. My kids were all devising clever little screen names, so I did too.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm Training - Yay!!

I'm going to train. I may have to quit, but I am going to begin. The successful 5k on Saturday tells me I can do it.

Starting today, I've set out a schedule for completing the Miami Marathon in 24 weeks, using Matt Fitzgerald's Brain Training for Runners, Jack Daniels' Running Formula, my RRCA coaching classes, and my own knowledge and experience.

No time goal, just finish. Walking is okay.

From my first marathon in 1993 at age 39, and my first ultra in 2000, to my last marathon and ultra (Miami, 2004, Croom 50-Mile, 2004), I completed over 30 marathons and ultras. Now, at age 55, five years after my last marathon and ultra, I'm finally training again!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What the Heck is Wrong With Me?! and My Return to Running

Okay, so I ran my first race in over three years yesterday. Just a local 5k... but I won my age group!
Irish Fest 5k

The last race I ran was a 5k, April 8, '06. I had decided if I couldn't run long I would train for 5k's. My best friend and training partner Jane and I started training end of January of that year. Trained with the pain in my hip and managed to run a 4-miler and a 5k in March fairly well. But the 5k in April was too much; my leg blew up and, once again, I stopped running.

It wasn't a running injury that stopped me, though I didn't know it at the time. A disease called synovial chondromatosis had settled in my left hip joint. It's kinda rare and will usually only affect one joint. They don't know why it happens, but the thinking now (according to my surgeon) is that it is caused by a virus. The synovial lining of the joint becomes inflamed and then over time produces little nodules of cartilage that then float around in the joint. This would normally show up on an MRI and even an x-ray. Over the next five years, I had numerous x-rays, six MRI's, and a bone scan. The synovial chondromatosis was never seen, though other injuries were diagnosed because I began compensating for the pain in my hip and developed an abnormal gait.

The pain and locking in my hip started in early 2003. From then till I finally had surgery on August 10, 2007, I would stop running, see a doctor, be diagnosed with various injuries--herniated lumbar disks, bursitis in my hip, high hamstring tendinopathy, inflammation in my external rotators--go through physical therapy, start running again just to be stopped in my tracks and go through the whole thing again. I would stop running for two-three months at a time, but the pain in my hip would never go a way.

The pain became so bad the spring and summer of '07 I could hardly walk. My whole leg ached all the time. Went to an orthopedic surgeon, had an MRa, with a dye injection; still nothing showed in the hip joint. But it did show a tear in my gluteus medius tendon. Physical therapy for that and after telling the PT my symptoms, he tested me for a labral tear of the cartilage in the hip joint. He said I tested positive for that and talked to the surgeon about it. Arthroscopic surgery three weeks later, supposed to last about an hour. When I woke up, my husband John said to me, "It wasn't what they thought." I had been in surgery over two hours, my leg in traction--the hip bone pulled out of the socket so they could get inside. The surgeon (who told me my hip was a "bloody mess") cut out the inflamed synovial lining and sucked out all the nodules and blood.

I know now that I made everything worse by continuing to run and race. I ran a 50-miler and a marathon, along with the training and numerous shorter races, in 2003; and a 50-miler, a 50k, and a marathon, and the training for those, in 2004. No racing in 2005, but that little bit in early 2006. I think that that is why I am still having trouble with my whole leg. I have pain in the front of my hip and down the front of my thigh. I have the high hamstring tendinopathy and probably some sciatica. I have pain down the front lateral lower leg. My toes cramp. For the past two years, after surgery and physical therapy and the doctor and PT telling me I could start running again, I have not been able to get my mileage up or do any kind of speed training. Hurts too much.

But... a couple weeks ago, I seemed to be a little better. So, this past week, Monday, I was able to run nine easy miles with not much trouble. And so I did some 30/30's on Tuesday, and some strides on Thursday... and my first race in over three years on Saturday, August 15, 2009.

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