rest period. (or rest, period)

There are so many great reasons to keep a running log. Injuries are easy to track with a log. Miles on shoes are also easy to track. You are also able to reward yourself, by comparing month-month analyses of mileage/speed, etc.

I have kept a running log since 2008.

Yes that is a little obsessive. Yes, I am aware of the CRAZY factor. However, when I was injured in 2011, it was a lifesaver- I could say exactly when the problem occurred and what I had been doing the weeks before that lead up to it (a hilly 16-miler, two 10-milers back to back, hill repeats (4-5 miles), and trail running). I actually had kept a running log from 2007-2009, but when I switched computers, I forgot to transfer the file before my ex, who took my old computer, wiped it clean. I am not a hoarder of real things, but I am a digital hoarder. At work, I keep old versions of things and put them in a folder marked “old ____” because I am afraid I might decide I need the older version. Crazy? Yes, I know. But I digress…

My excel file tracks:

Daily Tab- date, miles ran, total time, average split time
Weekly Tab- week dates, miles per week, average split times of runs
Monthly Tab- last date ran, total number of runs, total miles per month, and any goals. This tab also includes a chart of month-to-month progress (miles per month)
The weekly tab has room for “notes” about each run. Generally this is blank, but if I was dehydrated (and could feel it), if I experienced any pain, went particularly fast, had a race, etc, I note it.

In looking back over my log, I noticed my abdominal “cramp” started in early March. Approximately a week after being sick (and still running, while sick. Remember this? Well, the verdict is in: it’sĀ  stupid).

So it took 6 weeks of a progressively more and more painful feeling to decide there was something wrong with me. I’d like to add the pain would only happen occasionally at first; then it was every run between mile 2-3 and would go away during the run; then it was every 1-2 miles during every run.

Last Tuesday was the worst pain yet. I was running with Dave and Sarah, and I was trying to fight through the pain to finish our simple 4 miles. We were probably 2.5-3 miles into the run, so I kept thinking I can make it to 4 miles. Sarah finally told me to stop running, as she could see the pain on my face. I stopped, defeated, and keeled over, grabbing my stomach in pain. We walked a bit, then I convinced myself the pain had subsided and I picked up to an easy jog. The pain was still there, but I wanted to get back to our end quicker.

This time, when I stopped running, the pain didn’t go away. It was a dull pain, but still a 5-6 on the pain scale (1-10). I went back home, showered, and it still hurt. I could barely get through two slices of pizza. I hardly slept because every position was slightly painful. I rolled onto my stomach at one point and it hurt a lot. I thought it felt swollen, but also thought that might have been just my hypochondria kicking in… šŸ™‚ I made an appointment for the first available time- Saturday morning. It still hurt Saturday morning, though the pain was getting more and more dull.

And the diagnosis was pretty simple- that pain is an abdominal spasm, most likely due to a pulled/strained tranverse abdominus muscle (it’s a muscle below your “6-pack” abs that kind of cushions your organs) or part of my diaphragm, such that heavy breathing causes the muscle to spasm (as I would experience when running). It is more common for people get these in their back than their abdomen.

The doctor sent me on my way, with a prescription for muscle relaxants and 800mg ibuprofen. Exciting right? I scheduled to follow up with her this Friday, and she will do an ultrasound, xray, and general follow-up to ensure there is no hernia or anything internally wrong with my stomach/diaphragm/ribs that could be restricting my airways.

I decided for myself that I am not doing any physical activity for 2 weeks after the pain is gone. The doctor agreed that is a good idea. So, for the first time in 5 years, I am going to take 2+ weeks off. It might put me behind in my training for Richmond, but I am waiting til July to see how off I am from where I’d like to be.

My body wants rest. It needs rest. So, I am taking a rest, period.

Thoughts on Richmond Marathon (before)

I would like to set my goals out, so I can look back and reflect. When I first signed up for Richmond, I put in my pace as 4:45. Honestly, I’d like to be below that. We finished our 22 miler in 3:50, meaning if we slowed our pace to a 12-minute pace (which is pretty slow for Allison and I), we’d still finish our marathon in 4:36. I know I am capable of a 4:30s finishing time, so that’s been my goal in recent months.

When I first signed up, I didn’t think my body would hold up. In 2011, I tried training for a marathon, not knowing everything that goes into it (no training program, no buddies, no schedule), and ran my hip out of line. As in, my left side of my pelvis was tilted forward. (See below. Thanks creepy girl who also posted these images while wearing a thong…. Or creepy doctor. Either way- from It was excruciating. I have scoliosis, so I guess that has something to do with this? My physical therapist told me to do keigels (no shitting!), which the guy I was dating at the time was like, uhhh yeah, good plan! Anyway! And took about 3-4 months before I was doing long runs again (though I could run on a treadmill for 30 minutes a few times per week).

Not me. But you can see the yellow line is straight, the red line is hip to hip, that’s how mine looked.

Then I trained for Nashville (spring 2012) without a hitch. I felt strong. Speedy. And Nashville- well the course was HARD. And I hurt my IT band. Like I was run/walking long runs for a few weeks. And went straight into training for the full. As I am tapering, I wonder how well I trained, and if I’ll be really ready for it. Will I be crying happy tears or painful tears during those last 4 miles. I’ve done 18 miles a few times, I’ve done 20 three times, and 22 once. So I’m worried about the last four.

Then, I remembered why I signed up for Richmond. Allison sent me a you tube video Tue night (Runner’s World Tour of Richmond Marathon, from 2009), and I got all teary eyed and emotional. It’s America’s Friendliest Marathon. I’m ready. I trained my butt off. And I’m not injured. And yes, I’m sick, but I’ll be better in a week. All the training, all the work I’ve put in since July; it’s all going to be put to the test soon. And really, it’s not even since July. Because before July, there was the ground work that got me ready for it all. I’m a bit of a sap. And I will probably cry after I finish. So, Sarah, Allison, if I disappear for 5 minutes, it might be because I found free beer… or it could be because I wanted to take it all in.

Confession- I cried after PR-ing in Nashville (I PR’ed by about 9-10 minutes). It wasn’t even the PR aspect. It was the whole training and feeling like I reached my goal, and ran the best race I could. I was on the verge of tears when I saw a friend of a friend. And then I just sat down, and it hit me. I did it! … I think it will be the same with Richmond. But, I might have to find Allison and cry with her. After all, I couldn’t have done it without her šŸ™‚

There’s a quote I love, and I have it on my refrigerator:

Nothing teaches us to surpass our perceived limitations like running

And that’s the truth. After a great race, I just remember all that I am capable of, and feel it’s all out there- waiting for me to grab it. I never would have dreamed I’d be running a marathon. I’ve always been athletic, but running just isn’t my thing. I still say ‘I’m not a runner’ but I guess I am…

So- goals?

1. Enjoy it. I’m doing my first full marathon! (Who knows if I will ever do another one?) I want to just enjoy it. Not worry about the time or anything; just enjoy it.

2. On the other hand, mid-4:00 would be nice. Under 4:40? That’s my goal. Not my expectation, but my goal.

3. Be able to continue running afterward. Meaning, I don’t want to be one of those people who runs a marathon, and then can’t move for a week, and never runs again. Side note- I registered for our Turkey Trot 8K (12 days post-marathon… I didn’t do the math until after I registered…. It may not be a PR haha).