2018 Running Goals

Don’t call it a comeback…

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You guys, I’VE BEEN RUNNING!

Over the past 2 months, I’ve graduated from physical therapy and continued on my therapy “return to running” plan. Just a couple weeks ago, I ran my very first nonstop mile post-surgery. It’s slow going, and not entirely pain free (my KNEE is pain free while running, it’s the hamstring and calf now that are sore while running, and then there’s a bit of residual knee pain after running).. but I’M RUNNING!

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These pictures were taken 6 days apart, in December. Tank tops to long sleeves.. only in Kansas!

I have a few goals for 2018. If you would compare these goals to previous years’ running goals, you’d scoff at how tiny these goals are, but if you look back at the year I’ve had in regards to my knee injury, surgery, and recovery, I’m so excited the roughest and toughest stuff is behind me, and I can RUN!  It’s not going to be easy. In fact, it’s disheartening how much fitness I lost over the past 8 months of barely running to not weight bearing at all after surgery, to slowly recovering back to where I am now. My last month of decent-ish mileage was May, and that month only had 50 or so miles in it!  2017 was extremely low in terms of mileage; I will end up with just about 300 miles for 2017, almost all of those miles happening January through May.  For comparison, I ran 1025 miles in 2016. 

2017 was a really rough year in terms of fitness and running for me. I have a lot of work to do, and I need to be kind to my body and be extra kind and thankful for my knee which is still mending.  But I’m not looking into the past, I’m looking forward!

In 2018, I hope to complete 2 half marathons, even if it is a walk/run. I hope to do 1 in the spring and 1 in the fall. Ideally, I will walk/run the spring and run the half in the fall, but right now, all options are open, and no races are on my schedule.  I have a couple races in mind, but I’m not signing up for anything until much closer. Right now, I’m on a running schedule with minutes, and strictly using a metronome to keep my cadence up. My return to running schedule currently does not allow me to run back to back days, and I am very cognizant of my running form and any signals my knee is giving me.  I will continue on this path until I’m ready to run back to back days without a metronome. I will sign up for a race when I feel I can complete it.

In 2018, I will get my butt to the gym. I hope to get back to lunch time classes about once per week, and lift once or twice per week as well. I’m not setting myself up with a strict schedule to begin, but I want to get back to the gym consistently in 2018. I am lucky that my employer pays most of my gym membership, leaving me with a tiny monthly fee. There is absolutely no reason I can’t get into a solid routine, which will certainly help strengthen my weak leg muscles and help me get some fitness back.  I want to keep up my cycling, and add in a regular cycle class, in addition to using my bike at home.

In 2018, I want to eat healthier. I want to limit or eliminate my pop and sugar intake. I drink wayyyy too much pop and have wayyyyy too many sweet treats.  The addiction is real.  As I ease my way back into running, I want to help my body and treat it with kind and tasty healthier foods instead of giving it sugar and crap to eat and drink. I know the journey off sugar or limiting sugar will be a long one, and I’m not planning to go cold turkey.  There isn’t anything wrong with an occasional treat, but my treats have become mostly daily. I anticipate this goal will be the toughest of the three I have for 2018.

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Thanksgiving run in Hays with Chris and Momma, my first outdoor run since before my surgery in July.

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2017 Running Goals

 

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Running Goals for 2017:

1. Complete a marathon. I am signing up for the Detroit Free Press International Marathon for this October, and will run it with Chris. I’m quite terrified, but excited.  I think running my first 26.2 as a racecation will be beneficial, as I won’t be able to psych myself out about the hills of KC quite so much. Plus, I’ll be running every step with Chris, and I know we can push each other to finish together and finish strong.

2. Run a trail race.  I’ve wanted to run a trail race for a while now. I’m a bit nervous about running on true single track trails because of the instability in my knee, but I think adding some trail runs will only help strengthen me, both mentally and physically, and I can’t wait to enjoy nature in a different way like this.

3. Feel more confident in the half marathon distance.  I have already signed up for Rock the Parkway, in April, and I hope to add a couple more half marathons to my schedule for 2017.  I want to feel confident and strong running a half marathon. I know training for a full marathon, and adding in trail runs, will help boost my confidence as I build up the miles.

4. Run 1000+ miles.  I was so happy to reach 1025 miles for 2016, I think the amount of miles was a good push for me to keep each month high enough but doable.  I want to reach 1000 miles again in 2017.

5. Add in strength training, yoga, and more biking.  I always feel stronger and more well rounded and balanced when I cycle regularly.  I miss doing yoga, it’s been a long time, but I want to regain the flexibility and centeredness I get from yoga.  I also need to add in strength training, and plan to start slowly by adding in a little bit once a week, and build from there.

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With My Brave Wings

The past few months have been a bit rough when it comes to running.  I guess it all kind of started at the end of last summer, or maybe the beginning of the fall.  I had started seeing a chiropractor for some pain in my right glute.  The pain, paired with several high mileage months getting ready for two fall half marathons, also led to some pain in my left knee.  Thinking it was IT band syndrome, perhaps caused by my body compensating for my glute problems, I simply pushed through, but finally began seeing the chiropractor about that issue as well.  Unfortunately, with still running higher mileage months, the pain simply got worse.

In mid-December, after a particularly hard workout at the track, the pain in my knee was the worst it has ever been.  I was unable to walk the next day without limping.  It ached while sitting, standing, running, laying down; it hurt all the time.  I scheduled an appointment with a sports medicine orthopedic doctor for the beginning of January.  His first diagnosis was that my left lateral meniscus was torn, and he suggested a cortisone shot, as well as 2 weeks of no running.  I was bummed, but accepted it, and dutifully did my 2 weeks of no running, and I was relatively pain free.  Once I tried running after my 2 weeks off, the pain was immediately back.

After an MRI and another appointment with the orthopedist, it was 100% confirmed that my meniscus was in perfect shape, and there were no structural problems with my knee.  I was torn, mentally.  On one hand, I was glad to have no real problems in my knee.  But on the other hand, I was not making up this pain, and I wanted a clear cut answer!  During this time, I had been seeing the chiropractor almost exclusively for my knee.  ART, Graston, kinesiotaping, and dry needling all helped some, but not entirely.  I was given a series of stretches and exercises to do, as well as a weekly or twice weekly appointment.

It has now been 2 months since my first orthopedic appointment.  I do still have some knee pain, but it is quite a bit better.  My glute, also, is doing much better with my at-home exercises and stretches.

It is still unclear exactly what is/was wrong with my knee, but as far as my chiropractor can  tell, it seems my hamstring and quad are not being activated like they should, which puts a lot of pressure on my calf and knee stabilizing tendons to make up for it.  It likely was an ongoing problem that gradually got worse and worse, and could have been tipped to unbearable by my right glute not doing it’s job, and also by running more than my body wants to run.

So, these last two months, I have run about half of what I would like to run.  I’ve run about 30-40 miles less per month than I was averaging over the last 6 months of 2015.  I’ve added cycling, which is working on strengthening my quads and calves.  I’ve been mostly dutifully doing my stretches and exercises for my knee and glute.  I’ve been running on the grass when I can, instead of the hard asphalt trails and sidewalks. Most of all, I’ve been truly listening to my body, and giving it what it wants, which, apparently right now, is less running miles.

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Where does this leave me? Well, it leaves me in the present.  Accepting what my body can do today.  With that being said, I am working towards running more, cycling more, being in better overall health.  I’m working on strengthening the correct muscles to support my knee correctly.  I’m working on getting my lower back healthy so my glute stops pinching nerves.  I’m working on mentally accepting where my body is today, and I’m working at my own pace to where I want to be.  Where I know I can be.

With that being said, I am dissolving my goal of running 1100 miles in 2016.  What is that number but an arbitrary number I feel like I have to reach to be successful?  Why am I holding myself up to this goal that my body may or may not be able to reach this year? I am all for goals, they motivate me, they inspire me to get out there on the roads, or on the bike, or in the gym.  Goals are great.  But why am I stressing about reaching 1100 miles when I am also adding in biking, which I have never consistently done before? And does that 1100 mile goal also show my gains in strength, or my consistency of exercising and stretching and becoming more healthy?

Instead, I am focusing on being healthy, listening to my body instead of pushing it to get to this arbitrary number that I came up with.  I am accepting my body for what it can do today, and I am proud and encouraging my body to reach higher, go further, and run longer, but within reason, and within the limits of my body today.

I will still be keeping track of my miles, running, biking, etc.  I keep track because I do like to look back, to see my progress, and to push myself to be greater and better than before.  But I will no longer stress about the number that nobody cares about but me.  I will no longer push my body past what it can do, potentially injuring myself, to reach this random number.  Instead, I am looking at how far I have come, how far my body has taken me, and I am looking to what my body can continue to do over the next 40 years of activity.

I am still going to run my races; I am still going to total my runs and cycling at the end of each month.  I am still going to share my journey, try to encourage and inspire those around me.  I am still going to be inspired and encourage by those around me.  But I am no longer holding myself and my body today to reach a random number.

Today, I am running for me. I am cycling for me.  I am becoming strong for me.  And I’m so happy that I’m able to share my life with you, and that you can share yours with me.  That’s what this life is about, after all.

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With My Brave Wings,
Renee