Saturday, January 28, 2017

Paine to Pain and the pains that followed

So it's officially Fall and I am back out there running again, signing up for races and scoping out races for 2017.

Two weeks ago I ran the Paine to Pain Trail Half marathon in New Rochelle, NY, one of my favorite races from 2015.  It was pushing it, but I didn't want to miss out on a fun local low key race some 20 minutes from my house where I knew I would run into friends and get to spend a couple hours pushing it on the trails.

Since the Vermont 100 in mid-July I have been trying to take it easy and build back slowly.  I attempted to take 4 full weeks off with no running at all, but while I was at the beach with my family I couldn't resist getting in a few short runs in on the beach, so I made it 3 weeks, pretty good.

After that I enjoyed a couple of months of running easy when I felt like it, but slowly building up the mileage to potential run a half marathon in mid September.  All went well, I started do hip strengthening exercises suggested by my friend/pacer and professional trainer Maria Campos to heal up from the IT band issues that reared their ugly heads at Vermont in July.

I feel like they really helped and made it possible for me to build up to running  a 10 miler on the Long Path a couple weeks before my race without any pain.

During the race, I pushed it hard, well for my fitness level, running an average of 8:30 minute miles for the entire race, which means I spent the first 4 miles running sub-8 minute miles, then slowed down at bit in the middle and then picked it up again for the last three miles.

I was good for the first 3 miles, but right around mile 4 I started feeling a little tenderness on the outside of my left knee and a bit of tightness in my left hip.  This continued but did not get any worse for the rest of the race and I was able to push it really hard when I hit the track for the last 300 meters of the race.

When I stopped running and my muscles started tightening up though I was not a happy camper.  My knee started really hurting which really bummed me out, mainly because it let me know I was not done with this IT band issue and all the plans and dreams I was starting to conjure up about what I might do next would have to wait.

I was thinking about running the Yonkers Half Marathon in mid October and then the Black Rock 25K trail race in November, but I think I'll have to miss out on Yonkers this month and focus on getting strong and healing up for the Black Rock trail race.

I am continuing to do hip strengthening exercises and build up my mileage slowly.  I will also start doing hill training, since the Black Rock race covers 10 summits and about 3000 feet of elevation in the course of 15 miles.  I think both strengthening my legs for the uphills, but also for the downhills will be important.

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