Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Love Affair with Running

Hi readers!  I thought it would be beneficial for me to share the story of how I started running, worked through an injury and ran my first of hopefully many 5k's.  If you're here for the food or the fashion posts, feel free to skip this one, I won't mind a bit :)

Let me start this post by saying, I never thought that I would be a runner.   I've always had persistent problems with my left knee on and off for years that caused me to avoid most cardio in general other than walking like the plague.  I'd been to physical therapy, had an MRI, had seen an orthopedist, etc. No one seemed to know specifically what it was, just that it wasn't serious based on my MRI.

In May, my boyfriend was running 5K's and I will openly admit that I was jealous.  I had a sporadic love affair with running in the past, but had never completed a 5K - I trained for one in the past, but when the day came it was cold and rainy so my friend Nancy and I decided to bail.  I just didn't think that I could do it.  He encouraged me and so one Sunday afternoon, we went to a little park and ran a mile together.  I never though that I could actually do it, I pushed myself, he cheered me on and from that day on I never looked at running the same.  I started running alone and using the Map My Run app on my iphone to track my progress.

Running was going well, until I started having knee pain in July and ended up in physical therapy. My physical therapist checked out how I walked, my legs, my flexibility and how my shoes fit.  She then concluded that my problem was IT band syndrome.  She taught me the stretches I'd need to do at home and then I finished my session with ultrasound and electrotherapy.  She recommended that I be fitted for running shoes at a local running store - my experience was amazing and they even let me test shoes out by running in them outside!!  After much decision making, I settled on the Brooks Ravenna 3.

In August,  I ran the Fox & the Hound 5K with a time of 32:30 and no knee pain in my left knee.  In September, I completed my 2nd 5K...Race for the Cure.  My knee was bothering me so much the week before that I sat in my bed and cried for more than an hour the night before the race.  Then, I ranted all my feelings out in this post.  We made it to the finish line and I ended up being able to run about half of it - the race was definitely not a 5K!  Map My Run hit 3.1 miles way before the finish line and once we hit it my app said 4 miles.  I was happy to have completed it... and even happier that there were physical therapists giving massages at the finish line. 

At the end of October, I completed the Run like Hell 5K.  It was an awful day for a race - rainy, cold, dreary - but I was pretty excited for the race and even more excited to dress up in my makeshift cat costume - black leggings, a black compression jacket, ears & a tail - and a little freaked out that the majority of the race was through a graveyard. 

We ran the majority of the race in the rain and then walked the last mile - my knee started bothering me and my friend's knee was bothering her after injuring it in an aerobics class.  Wouldn't you know that this turned out to be my favorite race ever?  It was also my best race ever - we ran the majority of it but both stopped since our knees started hurting at the last mile.  My boyfriend, dressed in a bee keeper costume, surprised me at the finish line. 

After the Run like Hell, I took two full months off from running.  When I was in physical therapy, my PT revealed to me that what cured her IT band syndrome was having a baby and not being able to run the majority of her pregnancy - she told me that rest was the best thing, but that she wasn't going to tell me to stop running.  My running hiatus started off intentionally - I planned on taking only a few weeks off - until I found out that I had pneumonia (yep, that fever I blogged about last time? Ha. Just the tip of the iceberg) and ended up taking another month off.

So, where am I now?  Well, it's on my 2013 wish list to be able to complete a full 5K without walking and without any IT band pain.  I decided that I needed to re-vamp the way I train and recently downloaded the Couch to 5K app.  I'll admit that sometimes it's frustrating for me - because I want to run more than it lets me - but I haven't had any knee pain and I know that if I follow this gradual program, along with stretching, foam rolling and the like, hopefully I won't have any.  I'm about to start the third week, so hopefully I'll be back to running 5K's in no time.

What fitness related injuries have you experienced?  How did you bounce back?