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Friday, August 9

Happy Girls Half... and beyond

This May I ran the Happy Girls Half Marathon in Bend, OR. While this wasn't my first half marathon event, this time I tried something different and I worked with a Physical Therapist (Jay) and Coach (Stephanie) at Rebound Physical Therapy to keep injury free and improve my performance.

May - and Happy Girls - feels like a long time ago. I guess it was. School was still in session. It was still sort of "winter" in Bend. I was still running and training. A lot. But let's rewind and I'll do the best I can to sum up.

Happy Girls Half Marathon

I really couldn't have asked for better conditions for Happy Girls. Cooler weather with just a touch of damp. Cookies and a good luck note from Steph. Friends and family stationed along the couse. I really, really was pretty happy! I have such a great support system... I feel so lucky to have wonderful people in my life.

It's a really difficult route. From the Old Mill area, the route goes up Century Drive to Tetherow. Then it goes up (and down) through Tetherow. Next it goes up to Phil's Trail, where my friends working an aid station gave me water (not HEED, phew!). And then, a little more up to Skyliner Road.

From there you get to go down for a while. Down, down, down Skyliner Road, through the Mt Washington roundabout where my husband handed me my traditional mile 8 bacon. Down some more, to Bend's Westside. Down past Columbia Park.

But then, woe is me, the route goes up. Again. Really, after 11 or 12 miles of running any terrain, who wants to go up? Not me. It doesn't matter though. Up the course goes, past Deschutes Brewery along the "Haul Trail" until there's one final down into the finish.

It was a hard race. Really physically and mentally tough. That stretch along the Haul Trail made my fat cells cry harder than they've ever cried before. I was *not* happy at this point but somehow I made it through. The training worked. I just kept thinking about everything I'd learned and practiced.

I didn't make my "A" goal time. But I did beat my "B" goal time, pretty safely, and finished in 2:35. Not a PR, but also not at sea level so I was still satisfied and energized. I felt really prepared and strong for the event, due in large part to the training program with Rebound.

Dirty Half Marathon

After Happy Girls I felt so great that when a friend got injured and offered to transfer their race entry to me I jumped on the chance to run in this great event again. It took me a few miles before I got into my groove that day. It had suddenly become "summer" in Bend and it was quite hot compared to what I was used to. Around mile 5 I found my groove and started to enjoy myself.

Then, at about mile 6 (maybe 1/4 mile from the Flaming Chicken)... I fell. I don't know what I tripped over but I went down, into the bushes, and hard. And as I went down something didn't feel "right" with my right knee. I dragged myself out of the bush that had caught me (no rocks, thank goodness) and just sat there for a beat. As far as I could tell I wasn't bleeding but my heart was racing. Falling is scary. And when you fall at the Dirty it's also... very dirty.

When I calmed down a little I stood up. Everything felt OK. I walked a little, shaking off my jitters, and I still felt OK. Then I picked up the pace to a jog, and it felt like my knee would explode. I slowed back down to a walk and as my adrenaline rush wore off, my knee hurt more and more with each step I took. I hobbled into the Flaming Chicken aid station where I collapsed into a chair with help from a medic. They got me ice, they got me water, they got me checked for other injuries... and they got me a ride back to the start line. It was my first DNF (Did Not Finish). And I was super bummed.

Bum Knee

I have a long history of having a janky knee so maybe it was just a matter of time? I got it checked out, X-rays were taken, and I was finally diagnosed with "unspecified derangement of right knee." I took it easy. I learned how to tape it. Kinesio Tape is now my friend for longer runs. I'm at the point where it no longer hurts while or after running. For short runs I can even get away without taping now. But during longer runs I find that my knee cap feels, for lack of a better term, floppy. And after longer runs it does get a little swollen if I don't tape so, tape I do.

What Else?

Oh, there was a Run + Float + Float event in there somewhere, and last weekend I participated in the Cascade Lakes Relay for the second time. CLR seems like it probably merits it's own post, though. And this fall I'm going to work with Stephanie again and attempt to diversify my training to include more swimming and other activities. I do have running events "on the books" during the later part of 2013, including a 10k in Kauai this November. I'm really, really looking forward to having a bib from a race in Hawaii as part of my collection.

I really appreciate all the help and support I received from Jay, Stephanie, and Rebound to make me a better athlete. I still think about what I've learned while I run (Kegels!), and I should do my exercises more often. I get a sense that if I work on my hip flexibility like Jay taught me, a LOT of things will get easier for me. Stephanie's advice about everything from nutrition to training schedules has stuck with me and I'm looking forward to working with her again. If nothing else her excitement and positive attitude are infectious - she truly is an inspirational person to work with based on her own performances and her support of others.

I received free services from Rebound's Biomechanics Lab in exchange for writing my experiences and feedback. There are no strings attached and I am not required to write positive posts. The opinions expressed on this blog are my own and are not screened. For those who know me, that's all you get!

1 comment:

Celia said...

This is awesome!