Friday, January 27, 2012

Life since Mississippi

It's been nearly three weeks since my half-marathon in Mississippi. You may be wondering what's happened over that timespan, given the fact that I haven't made a post.

In a word, things haven't been going great. Almost as soon as the race was over I could feel my right IT band seize up.

The IT band is a muscle that extends from the hip to below the knee on the outside of the leg, and it's notorious for acting up in runners. I've had IT issues before, but never this bad. Most runners seem to notice pain in their knees, but for me in the past it's been primarily in the hips. This time, it was the knee for me as well. I generally have more IT pain after runs than during runs, and this was no exception. Many runners feel significant IT pain during runs, and at least I wasn't getting that.

That said, it was quite painful for me to just walk around, and for the first time ever, I was feeling a little pain during runs as well. Chad suggested I try an IT band strap, and actually gave me one to try. This helped with the pain during runs but afterwards I really wasn't feeling much better.

Then, last week, I caught my first cold in over a year. This actually sidelined me from running for four days -- the longest layoff I've had in over a year with the exception of a ski vacation I took last winter.

During my illness, I took some time to reflect and decided I needed to get serious about fixing the IT band problem, so I went back to a regimen I had outlined last year. I'm doing two different exercises every day, along with stretching a couple times a day. I'm back running this week, and so far, things are feeling quite a bit better. My knee still cracks and pops when I walk around, but there is no pain except for a few twinges during runs.

So what's next? I had considered trying another half-marathon this month, to try to squeak in under the deadline to qualify for this year's New York Marathon, but given the IT issues, that's definitely out.

I have only been doing easy recovery runs this month, with significantly-reduced mileage. I think I need to set my sights on a new challenge, and I'm a bit torn. I could sign up for a signature event like the Cooper River Bridge Run, but that seems like a bit of a mob scene ... unless you're in the sub-40-minute 10K group. That would necessitate me actually running a sub-40-minute 10K, which is probably at the borderline of my abilities. A challenge!

A completely different challenge would be the Blue Ridge Marathon: One of the hilliest road marathons on the planet. Obviously you're not going to PR on a course like that, but still, it would be an exciting challenge.

Decisions, decisions....

For what it's worth, today's workout is below.

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