Thursday, March 10, 2016

February 2016: Everything was going so well for the first 130 miles

February started off with a snow storm that closed down everything. I mean everything. Even the police department was closed. You just couldn't go anywhere.  I didn't exactly stop running, if you could still call it running when you're going 15:20 pace with snow up to your knees.

Our Prius, Esmerelda, is buried somewhere underneath there. 

By the weekend though, temperatures had warmed up enough to run in capris.  I was desperate to get out on trails and hills because for so much of the winter they have been socked in/covered in ice, and I've been relegated to concrete.  I headed out to the trail near our house, figuring that the snow would be packed down and the running would be sweet.  Wrong. The snow this year just isn't packing down at all. It was very lumpy and still up to mid calf, which made the capris seem like a bad idea during the half an hour I trudged through it.  I eventually got off the trail and found a hilly road that had been reasonably plowed.

February snow isn't quite as bad as November-January snow, because at least the sun is shining and everything begins to melt quickly.  That doesn't necessarily help with the chronic exhaustion, though.  There were times I was so exhausted this month that I couldn't even remember how to spell my own name, but I still ran. Good training for Sleep Monsters at Javelina Jundred, I hope.

If I were a celebrity, I would be canceling my world tour and hospitalized for exhaustion. If I were a normal person, I would go see a doctor. But I'm Mellisa, so I'll just keep running. 
Everybody on the internet talks about their training plans for ultras, which involve doing things like intervals or speedwork or back to back long runs.  This makes me nervous because I don't really get to do any of that (and honestly, I don't even know what intervals are).  My "training plan" is called Feast On Scraps. When Rob is gone skiing, or whatever, my "long run" might have to end up being an 8 mile round trip loop to the playground while Will bikes beside me.  I am so lucky that he thought this was the funnest thing ever.

Showing off his missing tooth. 8 miles (4 miles there, and 4 miles back) was the farthest he had ever ridden his bike. Unfortunately the weather turned and we had 50mph wind gusts on the way back home. I was scared, but we made it, and he never once complained, never. 
There are a couple of things I definitely want to work on for the North Fork 50 (a race I'm running in June).  Mainly, I need to get more confident on rugged trails and I need to be strong enough to handle the vert.  I can't really work on trail aspect as long as the trails are either buried under a foot and a half of snow, or closed because the snow has melted enough that they are too muddy (they close the trails here when they get too muddy, because it would damage the trails to allow people to use them like that).  But I can work on hills.  Once the ice melted enough so that the roads were clear, I ran the "dam hills" on Centennial Drive as much as I could.

During the last week of February, the snow had melted enough (and the mud had dried out enough) that the trails were open at Horsetooth and Lory. I decided to go there.  It had been a devastatingly long time since I'd last been.  Seriously, probably not since I was training for Bear Chase, in September.  I'd gotten injured after that, and when I finally recovered, there was too much snow.

As it turned out, there was still a fair amount of snow on the trails.

Towers was so steep and icy in places that I'm pretty sure I cried, but the view at the top was nice as always.

I didn't relish the thought of glissading all the way down, so I diverted and went on another trail that I didn't know much about but I thought might be less icy.  It was.  It was more technical though, but the interesting thing was, that didn't bother me.  I was handling it and holding my own on the switchbacks and rocks, and I was feeling all good about myself until I rejoined the descent on Towers  and got passed by a guy wearing basketball shorts and no-tread road shoes and who was running with an overweight pitbull.  

What is the opposite of badass? Me.

At some point near the end of that run, I started feeling this sharp pain in the top of my left foot, and my entire arch just felt wrecked and burn-y.  I didn't think much of it, and anyway, I had to keep going until I got to my car at the trailhead. I made it there and headed home.

I ran again the next day, and the day after, and the day after that.

Finally the following day, this happened:

Quickly leafing through my old anatomy textbook, I realized I had destroyed my extensor digitorum longus, and possibly the metatarsals beneath that.  I thought maybe a day of rest would help, but it didn't.  Nor did 2 days or 3 days. No change.  I couldn't even walk, so I attempted to put myself into a medically induced coma with beer, dark chocolate (not pictured), a TENS unit, and Jason Bourne.

I began to think that perhaps running a 49.3 mile week that included several days of hills and at least one occasion when Strava had goaded me into running a 7:40 mile may not have been a good idea.

I wish that I could say I handled this well, but I did not.

By a week and a half out, I made a rossiter appointment  They had me walk across the room to assess my gait.

"It looks like your right hip is trying to win a race that your left hip doesn't even know is going on," the rossiter said to me, but not unkindly.  Then she took a look at my back and asked, "Do you have scoliosis?"

Well, yes, I have scoliosis.  And crooked hips.  And my left leg is shorter than my right.  But why would a medical doctor ever have taken these things into consideration when I went in about a running injury?

The rossiters set about fixing my back.  "It's your foot [and chronic calf injury] that hurts, but the problem is in your back," she said.  Massive muscle imbalances had built up due to the jacked up way I walk and run because I am a fucking mess.

My foot felt slightly better after the first session, and my back felt more mobile and poppy, which seemed like a good thing.  After the second session, I tried running, and it wasn't great but at least it didn't make anything worse.

So I have kept going.  It has been nice to get up early again and be outside as the sun is first rising and see things like this:

I have never been good at doing things in moderation, so I haven't come back from this lightly.  After a couple of test runs, I found myself going 7 miles and incorporating hills again.  My foot is definitely better, but it still isn't great.  It just doesn't seem to get any worse whether I run 0 miles, or 3, or 7. So I might as well run 7, I guess.

This post has spilled on over to include some of March, which I hope continues to go well, but I will admit: I am nervous that I will completely fall apart.

February mileage: 131, give or take. I still hate Strava. 255.8 YTD.

Thanks for reading.

"You're stronger than most people," the rossiter told me. I try not to compare myself to others, but I'll admit, it was sure nice to hear that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You ARE strong!! a BIT determined!!! a LOT GRITTY!!! it's what has kept you going !!! so as always I .WILL worry" and HOPE you can keep up the pace !!! since RESTING is NOT in your vocabulary!!!! Maybe the Rossiter treatments are the answer to correcting your crooky back😥! Good luck and may the 1/2 marathon not undo the treatments"!!!! Do listen to your body!! Sending a big hug and luv " ! Prayers for no more injuries!! Mama