WARNING!!!! The following post is a bit of a pity party. You have been warned. Read at your own risk!
About two weeks ago I went out for my long run on Sunday which was to be a half marathon followed by a five mile run back to the start. By mile 10 of the half I was having really bad knee pain (from my IT band) so I didn’t run the 5 miles back to the start. The next weekend for my long run I set out to see how far I could go before I got knee pain and this time I did 7 miles before it started hurting and at 10.5 I had to stop running. This weekend it got worse. After only 3.5 miles I could no longer run.
I have received many nice words of encouragement in my social media circles and thank you all for that. But at this point I am pretty certain that I will be pulling the plug on the Boston Marathon this year. Yes, I could go and walk/run it just for the experience but that isn’t the experience I wanted. It will be quite a costly trip when you add in hotel, air fair, car rental, and food. I just don’t want to spend all that money to not have the race I know I am capable of when I am healthy.
I believe (as do those I am close to) that I will qualify again. Before my IT band started acting up I was running well. If I can get healthy I really do feel I can run that fast again. I am very lucky to have the support of my loved ones with this tough call. I am not pulling out because I won’t PR; I gave up on that goal a while ago. This isn’t the Boston I worked hard for. I will qualify again and I will run the race I am capable of running.
Now someone pass me some Kleenex so I don’t get tears and snot on my keyboard.
The most commonly cited reason for stretching the iliotibial (IT) Band is to alleviate knee pain. Before we can state the best way to stretch it, we need to talk about what the IT band is, and then how it influences knee pain.
What is the IT band?
It’s imperative to note the IT band is not a muscle. I’m not sure if people realize this or not, but based on the way people talk about it, and talk about stretching it, I’m pretty sure people often think the IT band were like any other muscle.
Multiple muscles insert into the IT band. So rather than the IT band being a muscle itself, it is a band made of other muscles. The two big muscles comprising the IT band are the gluteus maximus (GM) and tensor fascia latae (TFL).
Ever since I finished my Ironman almost a year ago my weight has been slowly creeping up. For most people the 5-8 pounds I have gained doesn’t seem like a big problem but it has really started to bug me. Even when I increase my exercise I still don’t lose any weight. I want the magic pill that will just make it start falling off but that doesn’t exist. So instead of a special diet I have decided to just count my calories. I have NEVER done this before; it seemed like so much work!
Enter the iPhone… I know I am not telling you about anything revolutionary but there are some great apps out there that make calorie counting easy (and a little fun). I downloaded myfitnesspal yesterday and I LOVE it! The simple fact of writing everything I eat down has me planing out all my meals with much more thought (and yes, I know this isn’t a new concept either). I was shocked to see it has me shooting for 1200 calories a day (I want to loose 1 pound a week). That seemed really low to me but yesterday I managed to finish the day at 1251 calories (pretty close) and if all goes well I will finish under today! Hopefully this is the accountability I needed to shed those couple of pounds. Eating has become a game that I can win just by paying attention. I think I can do that!
Two weeks ago I went out to do an 18 mile run in training for the Boston Marathon. After 10 miles I was having a lot of pain in my left knee from a problem with my IT band/peroneal muscle. I stopped after 13.1 miles (I was doing a half marathon) and my knee locked up. I decided to cut the run short and skip the last 5 miles. I ran easy the next week and then went out to try and run 15-17 miles on Saturday. After 7 miles my knee hurt and by 10 I could tell I was altering my gate to compensate for the pain and that was going to mess up my other side so I stopped again.
Boston has been a dream of mine for a very long time. I have already given up on the thought of a PR at Boston this year. All I want is to have a solid comfortable run. At this point, I am not sure even that is possible. If this progresses like my other IT band did last year I just don’t see how I will be able to run the marathon in April.
So here is my plan. For the next 4 weeks I will do all the activities I know I should to try and rehab the IT band. This includes a lot of pelvic girdle strengthening exercises, foam rolling, and stretching. I will keep trying to run until the pain is too bad I have to stop. If at the end of the next 4 weeks I can run 18 miles knee-pain free, I will keep training for Boston. If I get to that point and I can’t, I think I will pull out.
I know some of you may not agree with this but here is why I might do that. I know I will/can qualify again for Boston. I truly believe that. I really don’t want to spend all my time and a bunch of money going to a race that I know will be very painful and disappointing. I really hope that in four weeks I can report that I am ready to finish the training, but for now I am not so sure…
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you have prolly seen me posting pictures of my apple pies. It is one thing I bake pretty damn well (IMHO); and from scratch no less! One of my favorite people in the Twitter universe wanted the recipe so I thought I would bake a pie, take some pictures, and blog about it. Now realize, I generally do not use a recipe for my pie (except for the crust). What you will read below is my best estimation of a recipe.
2 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 cup of butter/2 sticks (vegan buttery sticks work just fine; the crust wont brown up as nice as crust made with butter but it still delicious)
¼ to ½ cup cold water
Mix the dry ingredients in a food processor with a dough blade (I use a Cusinart). Add the cold butter chopped into chunks to the dry ingredients. Pulse in mixer until butter is chopped up and mixed into the flour. Carefully add the cold water and mix until a dough ball is formed (maybe 2-3 minutes). I usually use the whole ½ cup of water but not always. You don’t want it to wet or it will be sticky. Too dry and it won’t form a nice ball and will crumble. I found that once I let my Cuisinart do most of the work it turned out pretty damn good. Split dough and roll into two equally sized balls. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in Fridge for about an hour.
8-12 Granny Smith apples (depending on size)
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup flour
¼ cup butter
Peel, slice, and core the apples. I use my Cuisinart’s 2mm slicing blade to thinly slice the apples very quickly. You can use a mandolin as well. I think the thin sliced apples is what makes the pie so good.
Mix the sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the sliced apples making sure the apples are evenly coated with all the dry ingredients.
Carefully massage the ball of pie crust into a circle. Don’t force it or it will crack. Flip if over on the cutting board so you keep floured on both sides. Once it is about an inch think roll it out with the rolling pin carefully until it is about 1-2 inches bigger than you pie pan. Fold crust in half and transfer to pie pan. Trim edges so they are even then fold the crust under to make a nice neat edge.
Fill the pie with the apple filling and the last couple ¼ cup of butter.
Roll out the other ball of crust. Use a cookie cutter to cut out a cool shape. Cover pie with pie crust cut outs.
Cover whole pie with aluminum foil. Put in preheated oven at 375 for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes remove foil (it keeps the crust from cooking too fast since it takes some time to cook the apples). Put it back in the oven for 30 more minutes Watch pie carefully to make sure the crust doesn’t burn on top. Pie should eventually start bubbling juice. That is a pretty good sign it is done. That is why I always put the pie on a tray when baking. ENJOY!!!!!
Foil will keep crust from burning. Pan will keep pie from oozing all over the oven!
Oozing yummy pie juice!
**This is my first attempt at blogging a recipe…Hope I did well!
The week started off well. I was thrilled with my ladder on the track on Tuesday where I managed to hit all my splits and then I had a great tempo run on Thursday where I ran quite a but faster than I was supposed to. I only got a couple small swims in and no time on the bike (still reverting to the fetal position after the Tour Of Suferlandria) and had a nice little hike with my boys on Saturday. Sunday I won entry to the 13.1 LA Marathon. The original plan was to run back from the finish to the start to do my 17 mile long run that was on my plan. Well, my IT band decided otherwise. Around mile 10 of the half marathon I started to fall apart. When I finished the race my left knee totally locked up. I stretched it out but decided that I didn’t need to run the extra miles. It was very cold out and if I couldn’t run back it was going to be a very cold walk back to the car. The FIRST plan is very aggressive. Next week is my first planned 20 mile run and I will only be 4 weeks into the plan. I think I need to ease into the long runs a little bit more slowly. I am totally fine with that!
Hiking with my boys
On other news my race schedule for 2013 is changing greatly. My cousin is getting married this summer and I have decided to pull out of Challenge Penticton to go to the wedding with my family. I haven’t figured out what I will replace it with (if anything) yet. This is kind of disappointing mostly because I am not sure what to do and I kind of feel like I quit.
I decided back in August that I was gonna take another crack at the distance 140.6. I had visited Canada and in particular I did some race recon on the then Ironman Canada/ now Challenge Penticton course. I loved what I saw and that coupled by the fact that we have some awesome friends there I signed up for the race immediately.
Over the holidays my one and only cousin got engaged and set the date for her wedding the day before Challenge Penticton. I told her I wasn’t going to be able to make it because of the race. This week it unfolded that pretty much everybody in my family (I have a small family) will be at the wedding. How can I not go? I checked the cancellation policy for the race and it is actually really good (I only lose $100, not the $700 it cost me to register)
So it looks like I am going to pull out of the race (haven’t done it yet). Funny thing is I feel extremely relieved that I may not be training for the race. The relief I feel kind of has me questioning how much I really want to do 140.6 distance triathlons. Maybe I am not cut out for that distance? I am loving my marathon training right now. It feels so manageable; so achievable. The thought of 140.6 is daunting, especially if I have specific time goals. I haven’t figure out what I will do to take the place of Challenge Penticton yet. Maybe an ultra, some other triathlons, or another shot at Boston… If you know me you know I will have a plan by the end of the weekend!
While I was out on my tempo run this morning I was thinking about a few things that I love for running. The first one is my SPI belt. I got it at the Portland Marathon expo in 2011 and there isn’t a week that I don’t use it when I run. I have the original one but it is water resistant and has the loops to put gels/gus on. I also have the thingys that you can add to attach a race bib. I would be lost without it! It sits in place and holds my iPhone, key, and iPod nano perfectly while running. It never bounces around regardless of what I am wearing.
My next favorite things is my running back pack, the Wink by Ultimate Direction. If I have to go run for more than an hour I prefer to take this because it helps with all the food and water needs. It fits like a dream. Holds everything I need and I have never had any problems with it. I used it on my first 50K trail run and I am using it for all my marathon training. It allows me to have everything I need while running and to carry it comfortably.
Getting ready to start the day!
My last favorite thing is the book Run Less Run Faster. I have been using this book to train for running races for the last two years. I bought it over three years ago but was intimidated by the workouts; they are hard! Once I got more confident in my running ability I used this book to qualify for Boston by running a 3:34 and set a half marathon PR of 1:41. The book is easyish to follow (some of the workouts can be hard if you don’t own a Garmin or have access to a track). But it works! That is what counts in my opinion. It also works great for triathletes since it requires cross training.