Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Listening to the body can cause you to run a marathon by accident

This past weekend my friends Clyde and Kelly Shank decided to stop here and do the Adams County Marathon on their way home from MD to TX.  Heather had said she would hang with me for the run no matter how slow I went and no matter what distance I decided to do.  I had done 3 weekends where I did 12-13 ish miles on one day but during the week I've still been walking most of the time....not due to any pain just due to pure laziness.  The only pains I feel still remain in the right hamstring and upper ass.....its the same little pinch all day and night and no matter what I do it doesnt get better or worse.  It still doesnt radiate down the leg or foot any and it is not painful enough to require any pain medication....its just annoying to have a pain in your ass all the time.  I had Louvina my friend who is the race director put me in for the full even though I figured I would have to stop at the half.  I didnt have any goals and would not have had any disappointment at all if I had to stop at the half because honestly a half marathon 114 days after a 3 level spinal fusion is most likely unheard of as well.  I think sometimes there is something weird that goes on with my body the way things recovery....one day that may not be the case but the past couple years it has been and I will live like there is no tomorrow until that day knocks me completely down.

  Our minds are so powerful it is truly amazing.  Sometimes I do worry that my mind is so powerful that it somehow tells my body it is perfectly ok when its not? The only reason I say this is because the shit I have been able to do not only after this spinal fusion but back tracking back to the end of 2009 when I had the 3 micro fractures on my left knee then going for a year and a half with doctors telling me I would need a new knee if I would start running again...remember back then I also had only done a couple marathons!

Kelly and Clyde arrived friday afternoon so we got to spend the day together.  They came bearing hydration and nutrition so that I would be able to give 100% at the run on Saturday! ha..... I love these little airplane size bottles of booze....you just can't find them in Portsmouth Ohio like you can in Texas! They are perfect size to fit right in the little holders of a fuel belt....I think maybe those places were meant for gels but I think these work out best!

Race morning we got up early, Heather and Jackie drove to my house and Clyde and Kelly followed us since they would be heading back towards Texas after the run. I think the weeks leading up to this I was most excited one to see Clyde and Kelly and two the baked goods from Millers Bakery after the event!! CREAM HORNS and HOMEMADE PRETZELS.....those are the two items I was dreaming about.  They have so many other things too that will make you drool a little as you walk back and forth while you debate on what to get but my mind was set on just those items.  I have really been watching my food intake to get this weight off that I have gained during this whole spine ordeal. Trying not to worry too much about the number on the scale which is hard but how things fit and Im not into some clothes that I want to be into.
We got to the race with plenty of time to visit and had a maniac/fanatic/50 staters photo before hand. The race started about 15 minutes late due to some issues but I don't think anyone had a problem with it.  Kelly and Jackie were working an aid station near the half way part of each loop.  Heather and I got started and the weather was cloudy to start with chances of rain and temps about 60...so perfect running weather!!!  Im not sure how far into the run it started but a light misty rain came and pretty much stayed all day.  Sometimes it was heavier then others but no downpour.  When we got to Kelly and Jackie I told Heather we were half way to the half way if we were going to do the full....I was feeling really good, only issues is the hamstring and upper glute/hip pinch on that right side which like I have said I feel all the time. I still didnt care if I would drop to the half, I was just out having fun and listening to my body.  One thing about this course is it is very pretty scenery with all the horses we pass and hilly but not many guardrails to pop up your leg to stretch - I kept saying I wanted to do that at the next opportunity but that opportunity never really came.
After loop one I was still feeling really good and we just decided to keep on trucking and see how things go......Clyde was ahead of us by about a mile or so, so when we he hit the turn around and we were coming back to the turn around we passed each other.  Later he told me that he could see it in my eyes that I was feeling great and that I was going to do the full marathon. He was right!!!
During the second loop I decided to turn on my iPhone an play some music over the speaker and sing to entertain us.  A gal from Maryland that had come to run a 20 mile training run but decided she may as well just do the full ran into us.  She stayed with us for the course entertainment on and off for about 8 or so miles.  She was training for NYC marathon in November and is also planning on Vegas Half mid November.....I may have talked her into signing up for that full instead :-)...............
We finished with a time of 6:08 which honestly for that course being hilly isn't that bad. I can't believe I ran/walked the full and felt amazing!  I had doubts about doing the Full at Vegas because they have a 5 hour time limit but they do allow those to move to the sidewalk to finish in 6 hours but I have never seen them allow anything more then 6 hours.  Any given day I can run 6 hour marathons or for that matter a 5 hour cut off doesnt make me nervous  but not any given day after 2 spinal surgeries and one major one and not running a marathon since January 11th so this is why I had doubt for Vegas....I no longer have that doubt at all.....that course will not have the hills this one did ( i like hills) so I should be able to finish it in under 6 hours easily. Im not going to push it and just go out and have fun but I WILL beat the cut off but I also will listen to my body....if I feel any pain while running then I also have no problem dropping to the half.  Vegas is an evening run which will be different but Kid Rock will be playing an hour beforehand for us so that will be motivating!
I still don't think I have wrapped my mind around being able to finish with no issues what so ever.....even the next day I didnt feel like I ran 26.2 miles??  I do know that I felt at home again with all the runners and seeing some friends I haven't seen in awhile.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Life Is Good

I haven't posted for awhile because I am just amazed with how good I feel.  I can't even comprehend that I had major surgery with pretty much a new titanium lumbar spine that connect to my sacrum 98 days ago??
Im still running by feel and not paying any attention to my watch so that it doesnt temp me to try to set any time goals....not that I ever was one to set time goals.
August 29th and September 7th I decided I was going to try to run/walk a half marathon distance. I had no time goal in my mind and a typical half takes me anywhere between 2:00 - 2:25 depending on what Im running and how many shenanigans I partake in while on a course.  These were not official Half Marathons just the distance...leaving my house and running up Rt 23 to the Highway Patrol Office and back....its just a tad more then 13.1 miles.  Now I did have in the back of my head that I would like to do this in under 3 hours but again I was not going to have my watch set to see the overall time so that I wouldn't push. I stopped a couple times to stretch when I needed to...walked a lot and just enjoyed being out there for some quality time.  On the 29th when I finished my time was 3:01:13...I was glad I didnt look at my watch because I probably would have skipped a stretch break or picked up the pace into a run instead of a walk and would have easily been under the 3 hour mark...but I feel like I needed those stretch breaks and the walking when I did. Nothing to prove just wanted to have no pains.  The 7th Heather came with me and we met up with Jackie and she went with us for about 9 of these miles. This was her longest for awhile.....this trip we were around 2:57 but again didnt look at my watch.  The first long one my feet got really tired....like they would feel when you're out there for a 50 miler...or I guess how they would feel for your first half or full marathon. The second trip my feet didnt get that tired feeling as bad.
Two days before the second 13.1 mile trip I decided to go ahead and run our local 5K.....Heather said she would do it with me and we were not going to look at our time because again...no pushing and no goal...just have fun and enjoy the atmosphere of a race.  I decided on the 5K over the 10K because I knew in the race atmosphere we all tend to get caught up in it and I may run a little harder then what I needed to be doing at this time.  We hit mile one and my watch does beep to tell me what each mile pace is and we were running a 9:45....shit it sure didnt feel like we were pushing that hard!!! My body  felt great...I was breathing a little heavy but kept pace and Heather would keep making sure nothing hurt and all was well and if I wanted to walk it was fine....I really wanted to run this entire 3.1 miles, I didnt care what pace but I wanted to run it all.  Mile 2 comes up and we are still under a 10 min mile...this one averaging 9:54....still body feeling good but my breathing at this pace has not returned....but it hasn't seen this pace in a long long time either. During the last mile we slowed the pace down a tad bit and crossed the finish line with a time of 30:30! Who does this shit!! I must be some sort of medical freak!!! I again was glad I did not have my watch set for overall time because if I knew I was 30 seconds slower then having a sub 30 min 5K 3 months and 1 day after a spinal fusion I think I would have kicked it up at the end instead of slowing down a tad.
After the 13.1 on the 7th I have only ran a couple of shorter runs, I have been getting my steps in each day and doing strength training as well.  Early this week on my FB page a post popped up about the Indian Run in Hocking Hills....for the past couple years I always heard great things about this run but I was always out of town doing events when it took place.  They have a 5K 10K 20K 40K and 60K.....I also read the 5 10 and 20K can start anytime between 9-11am so that meant I didnt have to get up at some God awful early hour and drive or find a place closer to spend the night. Its only about an hour and 20 minute drive too.  I knew Heather would love to do this and the price of only $25 even made it more appealing!! I quick message with the details to Heather and the next thing we knew we had both emailed each other a photo of our entry fee that we were mailing in!  We make a good team!! I had never been to Hocking Hills so had no idea what the course would be like. HOLY MOTHER HILL BALLS!!! Major Major climbing and long decents in the beginning made for some tired quads and painful lungs but it was a wonderful day and we had a blast!! We chose the 20K just over 12 miles....Some of the steep climbs really kicked my ass and Im usually a power hiker up hills but that was not expected out of me today and I honestly didnt even think they would have climbs like that! WOW......I kept moving forward each climb....even the one in the beginning that had to be over a mile long and 1000 plus feet of gain..I wanted so bad to stop and catch my breath but I knew I couldn't catch it even if I stopped so I may as well just keep moving forward.  Heather was loving it and she would stop and turn around to check on me and giggle and say Im enjoying the view....because Im usually the one way ahead on the climbing up where she kicks ass going down. The course was on some road and when it was on the trails they were beautiful.  Nicely shaded and we crossed a bridge that was above Old Mans Cave. I would like to return and hike out here and check out all the offering the park has.  The last couple miles was mostly walking....the trails started to have a lot of roots around and being tired I was a little nervous trying to maneuver my feet with all the roots in fear of falling and hurting my back. We were in no hurry at all....we kinda had a goal with it being trails and lots of climbing of 3:30 and came in in 3:08.  My garmin showed we had 3,819 feet of elevation gain and 3,428 feet of elevation loss!  WOW!
Next weekend is the Adams County Half Marathon and Marathon....Clyde and Kelly Shank are coming up - Kelly is going to volunteer with Jackie and Clyde Heather and I are going to run it. Clyde will run the full and Heather is going to run what ever I decide to run and hang with me. This course has a lot of hills too but after this weekends hills I think I will be ok....I worried about the downhill pounding on the spine and the uphill use of the lower back muscle to help you climb would bother me but so far everything is good.  The only issue I have and have had is the tightness in the right ass cheek.....there is still no nerve pain radiating down the leg and I don't think doing nothing will take it away and I don't think doing what Im doing will make it worse since it hasn't been getting worse just staying the same.  Part of me really wants to do the full but I won't push myself if after the half I have pains that are not normal marathon pains.
I would love to go to my next appointment with a marathon finisher shirt and medal for the Doc....I also can't wait to let him know that he is a hashtag :)