Well, my first post injury race is in the can and it was definitely a learning experience. Saturday’s Elizabeth River Run 10k far from one of my next runs but could have been worse.
Going into race morning I was concerned about how my glute would hold up. It’s taken me a while to get warmed up lately and I didn’t want to run for 30 minutes before I ‘raced’. I spent several workouts last week trying to determine the best way to get going as fast as possible and planned on a 2 mile warm up with two longer pick-ups and some hard strides.
That didn’t happen. Race morning got hot. Fast. Because it was so warm and I actually felt pretty good, I cut the warm-up down to 1.5 miles. I lined up and fought through some light traffic at the start. Around Mile 2 I noticed the temperature had gone up about 15 degrees and there wasn’t much a breeze as we circled through the city. There was at least a decent amount of shade in sections. I walked leisurely through the water stops and took a breather at the 5k mark to rest my glute. It had been a long time since I ran reasonably hard for three plus miles and didn’t want to irritate it.
After that rest stop, my glute was doing well and the heat became more of an issue in the race’s second half. When I was running I wasn’t too far off my warm weather 10k pace and it felt good. Unfortunately the weather really got to me. My heart rate was sky high and not enough water stops didn’t help me bring it down. The stagnant air and humidity were no help either. Coming into the last mile I wanted to pick things up a bit.
I increased my pace but had some discomfort in my right leg. Not in the mood to re-injure myself, I slowed things back down. I crossed the finish line in 48:12 feeling pretty good. My biggest issue now is getting used to being uncomfortable again. My glute seems to be 98% healed and my fear of straining it again is unreasonable. I didn’t strain it running in the first place. I’ve spent so much time playing it safe that I’m a bit of rut. It’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable again.
Have you run the Elizabeth River Run 10k? How do you come back from injury?
I’ve officially been discharged from physical therapy but that doesn’t mean I’m all better. My right hip and glute are definitely feeling fatigued from all of the concentrated work they’ve been doing. This has lead to some longer than desired warm ups on more intense efforts and it’s a little bit concerning. The last thing I want to do before a race is have to run four miles.
Yes, four miles. It takes me almost four miles (thirty+ minutes) to really feel like I can run hard for more than a mile. Not only does that mean extra miles, it’s a little bit upsetting. I usually run a 2-2.5 mile warm up for everything except a long run (shorter) or track work (longer). It all started last Monday with an ugly run. I went out for an easy hour and spent the first 30 minutes fighting ankle and shin pain. I stretched, I squatted, I activated my glute the best way I could. Then, boom! The second half was great.
A similar situation occurred this past weekend when I went out to tackle my first mile repeats since One City. The first two repeats my right leg felt heavy and I carried a decent amount of tension in that ankle. The second two? Great. I’m hopeful this means my glute and hip are very beat up right now and a little rest will set them straight.
I really need them to get straightened out, too. The Elizabeth River Run 10k is coming up next weekend and I want to race. Am I in PR shape? No. I want to get out there, push myself and get a solid idea of where my fitness is heading into summer. So here’s to a little rest, longer warm ups and a solid race day.
How long are your warm ups? How did you feel after finishing physical therapy?
I raced one of my favorite events of the year last weekend, the EquiKids 5k. Not only do I love volunteering at the farm, racing through the trails each year is always fun. The cross country 5k is preceded by a 1 Mile Run with the Hounds that Jordy was more than happy to participate in before hamming it up for the camera.
It’s the only cross country course I’m guaranteed to run every time it comes around and I usually don’t perform well. Maybe it’s because I don’t train on trails very much if at all or because I get too distracted by all of the adorable kids, dogs and horses. Any way you slice it, I was looking to turn my history of EquiKids 5k performances around this year. I didn’t.
In spite of finishing as third overall female, it wasn’t a good race or even the race I wanted to run. Due to some serious rain my schedule got a little screwy in the days before the race. My final workout was hours later than it should have been. I definitely could have been fresher at the start line but I also could have been less injured.
My glute injury is feeling much better. It has had some unexpected side effects, however. The different, more powerful, movement in my right leg has been leading to extra work for my right Achilles. That has caused some definite stress on the tendon as it strengthens. I ran a one mile warm up before toeing the starting line but failed to warm up as completely as I usually do because I was feeling fatigued. Little did I know I’d pay for it. About halfway through the race that right side felt like it was about to snap. No, thanks. I paused to rub it for five seconds then continued on. It was a scary moment but felt fine the last 3k.
It was disappointing to realize I’m not where I thought I was in terms of bouncing back. I understand the lumpy, muddy, ankle working course probably made things a little bit worse in that ankle. That doesn’t make it feel any better. The EquiKids 5k curse continues and I’m looking toward next year already.
How often do you race on trails? Love it or hate it?
Training rolled on last week after another round of physical therapy. I’m definitely feeling better and can tell a difference in my gait. A solid, positive one. Of course, if hopping right into race shape for this Saturday’s EquiKids Cross Country 5k was that easy, none of us would be very concerned about injuries in the first place. But it’s not. And nature has it out for me. It’s like coming back from an injury wasn’t bad enough, so the heat got turned on last week.
I really want to race well this weekend. It’s one of my favorite events and I usually don’t put in a great performance on the dirt trail course. There’s something to be said for actually practicing. I do 95% of my running on roads since that’s where I race, except for once a year but maybe one of these times I’ll get it together. My biggest concern, however, isn’t the race’s surface. It’s my grumpy right glute and staying calm (easy pace) enough to not get re-injured.
I did some speed work last week, keeping myself in check and staying within 30 seconds of half marathon pace for anything over 800M. I definitely feel more out of shape than I am and don’t expect coming back to take too long. Except that it’s 90 degrees out with 90% humidity and barely a breeze. Talk about a double whammy!
It could be worse. I could be 100% healthy and trying to prep for a fast 5k in rough training weather. Luckily coming back from injury is helping me keep things slower and safer in the warmth. Eventually I’m going to have to adjust to the summer’s heat and humidity. It might as well be right now.