Boston Marathon 2018: Spectator Recap

Monday’s weather was my personal hell. I would take 80° with blazing sun or -10° with several feet of snow (sure, I’ll complain about them) over temps in the high 30s/40s/low 50s and heavy rain ANY DAY. But last year, everyone kept saying how dangerous the heat would be for us runners. I was hot as hell and complained about it a lot, but I was also really, REALLY sick so I kinda assumed I felt worse than I would have if I was healthy. But when I saw forecasts for Monday’s weather, I couldn’t imagine worse conditions. Truly tough.

20180416_094219I woke up around 8am and had to take a 10-minute route on back roads to get to the Dunkin Donuts that is ¼  of a mile from Juls’ house. Why? Because it’s on the marathon route, so roads closed at 7am. Even at 8:15ish, the place was packed with spectators who wanted to stake a good viewing spot for when the first runners would go by in over an hour. After watching the start of the race on TV with Juls and Jack, I jumped in my car and drove to the end of her street to watch the elite women run by at the 4K/Mile 2.5 mark. I was soaked just standing there for less than 10 minutes. It was crazy to see elites running in layers, jackets, and even those clear ponchos which are literally the best and worst things ever. Sure they keep you dry, but they stick to you and make you sweat even if you’re not hot because your skin literally can’t breathe. Usually elites are in their briefs and sports bras even on the coldest of days, so to see layers upon layers on these women made me feel a lot less bad about driving 500 feet instead of walking in the monsoon.

20180414_184846After they went by, I went back inside to change into dry clothes and load up on carbs and caffeine for my long day of spectating. Unfortunately, I didn’t time things right and missed 95% of the Dana-Farber team members run by. I did see my friend Aiko and several DFMC’ers I didn’t recognize, but they all loved my sign before it fell apart in the rain and seemed to love hearing me cheering for Dana-Farber. I was bummed to have missed everyone but was still relatively dry, so I loaded up Chip and drove back to Boston, where I put on a few additional “waterproof” layers and got on the T with my second sign. The T took forever but I knew I had plenty of time before my running friends would make it to Mile 25, especially in these tough conditions. Continue reading

Advertisements

MRI and Biopsy Results

First things first – no skin cancer! Even though the dermatologist kept saying “basal cell carcinoma” and the images I googled looked exactly like the bright red zit-thingy on my chest, it turned out to be a benign skin growth called a lichen-something-or-other. Great. I honestly was far less concerned about the biopsy than my MRI.

At today’s appointment at Spaulding, I actually met with my doctor’s resident first – Dr. W. She asked me to go over my pain with her – specific location, what brings it on, what makes it better, etc. She said that lined up with the MRI results. Uh oh… I wasn’t sure if she was going to tell me the results or make me wait for Dr. T, but then she said, “So the MRI didn’t really show anything too concerning,” or something along those lines.

No tears, no fractures. All the radiologist saw was some fluid between my IT band and knee joint, and a Baker’s cyst behind me knee. Those two combined explain the location of my pain, but Dr. T later explained that a Baker’s cyst is really more of a symptom or a result of an underlying injury, rather than the cause of pain. Continue reading

It’s Only a Plan

As I wrote in my last post, training plans are called “plans” for a reason. On Day 1, I had to scrap the plan and go to bed immediately after work instead of running or going to the awesome new class at the gym I love so much. I got maybe 2 full hours of sleep on Sunday thanks to the Bruins game, my dog being woken up at 2am thus waking me up, and too much beer earlier in the night to be able to fall back asleep after that.

It’s pretty uncommon that I don’t sleep much/well, but when it does happen, it usually hits me on the second day so I was expecting to be OK yesterday but tired and dragging today. Nope. I went grocery shopping after work and was about 3 steps into the store when it hit me like a ton of bricks. I bought 3 heavy bags worth of groceries like I usually do but did something I never do – took the elevator down one floor to push the shopping cart to my car instead of carrying 3 said bags down one flight of stairs and across the parking garage. I struggled to walk Chip after work and honestly did look at my running shoes but decided to just change into sweatpants and crawl into bed. I was dozing off while attempting to watch Hulu on my iPad, and eventually realized it was a losing battle and called it a night around 8:30pm. I woke up this morning at 6:30am thinking I had died. I seriously debated taking a sick day but I’m glad I didn’t – once I got up, walked Chip, and took a rare morning shower, I felt like a human again.

sleep

Something is definitely going around, though and I’m worried I might catch it. My friend Jess was sick at the Bruins game but it toughed it out. My boss was out sick yesterday and my co-worker (whom I share a cubicle wall with) is out sick today. It might snow today and it might hit 80° this weekend, so I’m not surprised people aren’t feeling great. I just hope this energy lasts long enough for me to get in those 3 miles after work that I skipped yesterday.

My 8-Week Covered Bridges Half Marathon Training Plan

I do my best training when I follow a plan. I recently found a half marathon training plan, made some major changes (like running 3 days a week instead of 5), built in the workouts I love (spin, ballet), and gave myself one “free” day to pick a cross-training workout on Thursdays. Those might end up being a 2-a-day on another day because I often have things on Thursday nights – this week it’s the Bruins first playoff game, next week it’s donating platelets (which I try to do every 3-5 Thursdays) – and I have not done a morning run or workout on a weekday in more than 6 months. Besides, this Thursday at 7:15am is my follow-up appointment to discuss my MRI results, so there will be no workouts taking place that day.

Without further ado, here’s my plan. It’s called a “plan” for a reason, but I hope my MRI results don’t throw too major of a wrench into this.

plan

Continue reading

Long Run, MRI, and Biopsy

20180407_110313.jpgGuess what y’all? I ran 4 miles on Saturday!

My 8-week training plan (post coming soon) for the Covered Bridges Half Marathon officially started today and calls for 5 miles next Saturday. I thought I’d be further along by now so I wanted to see what I had in me. I planned to go out like I would for any long run of this training cycle – 3/1 intervals, meaning 3 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. My running pal Lori is doing this for CBHM and because I want to run with her, I plan to do the same. Even though 4 miles hardly seems like a “long run” to me, it’s the furthest I’ve run since November 19.

I had no additional pain beyond what I experience 24/7, although I had to take one full walk interval (5ish minutes of walking around mile 3.5) because the route I ran involved a massive hill, and I promised the doctor no hills because that is a major hamstring aggravator. I started out doing a loop around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, knowing I could just run, walk or limp home if that proved to be too much for my hammy. It wasn’t, so I kept going and did a big loop around my neighborhood that ended at the gym. Continue reading

Count Me in for Boston 2019

Despite all my pain and frustration about my hamstring, I have been incredibly motivated lately. It’s almost April in Boston which means that everyone is out running, all the time, regardless of the weather. Signs are going up. Businesses are announcing sales or closures or extended hours. All any runner can think about or talk about is…

THE BOSTON MARATHON!

In just 16 days, the 118th Boston Marathon will take over this city and the towns between here and Hopkinton. I took the day off work and am planning to stay at Juls’ house in Ashland, which is along the course. I’ll watch the elites and my DFMC crew run by, and then I’ll head back to the city to enjoy a beer or two while cheering everyone on from somewhere along the final few miles of the course. And I will spend the entire day wishing I was out there.

20180324_083901.jpg

DFMC Water Stop #2 volunteers at the “last long run”

Last weekend, Jess, Meghan and I volunteered at the “last long run” for the Dana-Farber team. It’s not really the last long run, but it’s the 20/22-miler, the longest training run of the season. Between now and April 16, marathoners are tapering their mileage to avoid overtraining and last-minute injuries.

Being out on the course last Saturday was the biggest FOMO I have experienced since April 17, 2017. Jess and Meghan admitted they felt the same. And so I verbally committed to apply for the 2019 Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team. This has been my plan since about April 18 or 19 last year, but I was only around 95% sure I would do it. Of course, I need to be accepted to the team, but I am hoping my $9,000 fundraising last year and my volunteer efforts this season as well as my personal reasons for running (Riley, Taty, working at Dana-Farber for 2+ years) will be enough to earn me a spot once again.

Progress and Pain

So about 6 weeks ago, I finally got cleared to run. I’ve had good runs and OK runs – no great runs and no bad runs – but I’m bummed to report that my hamstring pain is back. It is 100% localized to the meaty part behind my knee, and it’s only about a 4 out of a 10 when I run, but it’s also a 4 out of 10 all day, every day. I’ve been slacking on stretching and foam rolling, and my weeks haven’t been very consistent due to a couple of time-consuming obligations, a complete inability to work out before work these days, and a weird two-day allergic reaction/GI upset due to something I ate. I’m hoping my pain level will improve as I get more consistent and my body gets used to running again, but I’m frustrated and worried about my appointment with the doctor at Spaulding next week.

I had PT this morning for the first time in over a month, and Ben seemed equally bummed and frustrated, but more optimistic than me. When I told him about the crazy shooting pain I’ve been experiencing on my RIGHT side (the good side) when extending my leg out to the side in ballet, he palpated the area and low and behold, my gluteus medius was insanely tender to the touch. Yet after a brief dry needling treatment to that muscle, I was pain-free. He and I are both wondering if my left hamstring pain could be due to this muscle tightness/weakness on my right glute. You know, the whole overcompensating thing. Continue reading