One Year Later

Here’s why you shouldn’t plan: if you plan, it will go wrong.

Today marks one year since my ankle surgery, which commenced 8 weeks on crutches and 12 weeks of no driving – and included 1 month living with my parents and another living with my friend from work.

Don't you want this awesome shirt too? Maybe next time she orders them you can have one

Good times

I’ve been training to run the Myrtle Beach Marathon as my big ol’ “comeback” race – and my first marathon in almost FIVE stinkin’ years.

You want a reminder of how much can change in five years? Remember when this guy was a hero? Now rumor has it he’ll finally confess to Oprah in an interview tomorrow. (I am so, so curious as to whether/how she’ll respond, and if she’ll go all James Frey on him. I watched the James Frey interview and felt like I was in the principal’s office. Only worse.)

Just hanging out with my pal (he beat me by an hour and a half)

Hanging out with my pal pre-Boston 2008. He beat me by an hour and a half…

Training has been going insanely, amazingly well, which is (perhaps) why I have been loathe to write about it.

After the ridiculously windy and awesome Thanksgiving 5k, where I ran a time I hadn’t seen since I was a 16-year old, I started to up my “long run” miles. I ran 12 miles alone Thanksgiving weekend. It took me the entire day to make it out of my apartment, so I started looking for a weekend running group, knowing that it would only be getting darker, there’s no better way to waste a weekend than sitting around “thinking” about running, and that it’d be a lot more fun to run with friends.

The weekend after Thanksgiving I ran the Annapolis Half Marathon – my first half race since November 1, 2009 (the weekend before I wrecked my ankle). Annapolis was the only half I could find scheduled between December and February that wouldn’t require flying (shockingly, winter is not a super-popular time for halves on the East Coast). It required getting up at 3:55 a.m. and driving 45 minutes to – wait for it – Annapolis, but it was a great race and I would recommend it (in addition to a nice 1/4 zip coolmax shirt, we got nice coolmax hats). Mentally, I really wanted to do a half race to regain some confidence, and also to remember what it felt like to race for that many miles (it feels terrible). I also made a bunch of mistakes, which is the whole point of doing a test run. Apparently when running races in December on the East Coast, it is important to be in possession of a warm hat, or an earband. Fortunately, there was a vendor selling just these things in the tent before the start, so I bought one and was saved.

Proof I ran a race and wore sexy black earband:


I ended my streak (ok, two races, not exactly a streak) of running sub-8s and getting PRs, but I was happy with a 1:49-something (especially because it included a 1:30 potty break).

The weekend after that, I sucked up being “shy” and “afraid to talk to strangers” (ridiculous, given my profession), and went out to meet the DC Road Runners, who do a long run every Saturday. Guess what? They are nice. And it has been 1000x easier to get out of bed in the dark on a Saturday knowing there’s a group of people to run with – even if 95% of them are way faster than me.

Which brings me to my point. My “plan” was to run 3 hrs this weekend, as the first of my longest long runs before Myrtle Beach. I was going to do two or three three-hour runs; I’m a subscriber to “time on my feet” vs true mileage training, so I don’t really care how many miles it works out to be. Last weekend I ran 2:40 and took my first winter ice bath (terrible, terrible experience)(the ice bath, not the run), so 3:00 seemed pretty reasonable.

How poetic! My longest long run on the anniversary weekend of my surgery! Oh, I could hear the muses sing.

They’re not singing. They are snorting.

Earlier this week I tweaked my back, to the point I called in sick to work on Wednesday because I COULD NOT SIT UP. There’s no better way to feel your age.

Everyone had their theories – it was the 17.5 mile long run last weekend! It was Body Pump! It’s my stupid, OSHA-violating work set-up! It’s my mattress!

Maybe it’s all of the above. But that doesn’t help my back feel any better. I called, begged, and got into see the chiropractor I don’t much care for (and haven’t seen since the day before surgery last year), hoping that might help. He adjusted me, and it helped temporarily. But he also tried to get me to buy new orthotics, asked about my supplements (of course he has some of those to sell, too) and was generally creepy. I can’t take advil or any NSAIDs, so ice and stretching are the only things I can try.

I went back to work on Thursday, hobbled about, and begged the awesome PT to fit me into her schedule. Which she did, and helped 100x more than Creepy Chiropractor. On Friday I went back to CC again (desperate times, I’d agreed Weds to go again on Fri), where he tried to tell me I’d need to come back 3x a week for the next 5 weeks leading up to my race. (Yeah right, buddy. Don’t think so.) (Dr. Rabbetz I miss you so much, please move to DC and open a practice here!)

I felt better, and decided I’d try to run yesterday (knowing full well 3 hours was probably not going to happen). It didn’t. I ran with two of my new running buds for an hour before the group met at 8 – several weeks of running another hour AFTER everyone had finished had become demoralizing – and I felt ok for that – just a few twinges. But the second hour was badness, and I returned home before everybody else. 2:07 in the bag.

7# ice bath, tiger balm, lots of stretching, the entire new season of Downton Abbey, several glasses of wine later, and it’s still sore. It hurts to sit for more than 20 minutes, and it really hurts to get in and out of my car. (Let me introduce you to the quadratus lumborum).

So today, I found myself in the pool for the first time in almost two years, ready to aqua-jog for the first time in three years. I am sad to report it is still boring as all heck. After “running,” I swam another 10 minutes, and didn’t drown. Somehow my stroke count is lower than it used to be (go figure).

This week I’m laying off my beloved Body Pump. I’m stretching, I’m going to get up from my OSHA-violating desk every 20 minutes, and I’m going back to the pool. I just spent the entire Golden Globes broadcast looking for my mattress receipt (still under warranty!). I guess I’ll see what happens.

The good news? It’s not my ankle!

Here we are, 52 weeks:

52 weeks

52 weeks – Jan 13, 2013

Two weeks! Jan 25, 2012

So long ago…Two weeks! Jan 25, 2012

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5 Responses to One Year Later

  1. Ry says:

    Happy surgiversary!!! I am so proud of how far you have come, bad back and all. xoxo

  2. Juls says:

    Stay positive as you can. We’re all rootin’ for ya.

  3. ryan mccarty says:

    Its good to see you still updating. You were several months ahead of me and I followed your progress with a lot of interest. I can not believe you are having back issues. I have rushed back and have experienced all sorts of core/hip/back issues which I think come from too much too soon and an altered gait. I am running 20 this saturday on a nasty trail race. I am soooooo not ready. Been resting for 9 days, 4 massage sessions, 1 chiropractor visit and infinite obsessing. Best of luck. Keep writing.

    • goironmo says:

      Thanks, Ryan! I hope the trail race went well (better go read your race report). I saw Dr. Staker when I lived in the Triangle and he is the best.

  4. Pingback: Almost to the starting line | IronMo: Adventures of a (retired) Irongirl

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