Well, I have to be honest. My training as of late has been somewhat lacking. I do have some reasonable excuses though; climbing trips, impromptu trips to Austin to visit friends, and injuries. Injury has perhaps been the biggest hindrance; I think it has somehow breed laziness as it has kept me from several runs.
I recently started having knee problems while running. I would end up getting pain on the left side of my left knee. This would happen a few miles into my runs after being warmed up. All sorts of theories as to what might have been wrong were going through my head as I researched online, but what the actual problem ended up being was something I had never heard of - IT Band. Scientifically known was iliotibal band syndrome. IT Band is the tissue that covers the knee and runs up the thigh to the glutes. Essentially this muscle is getting stretched, thus pulling along the part that covers the knee causing the lateral pain.
A sports medicine doctor diagnosed me with the problem, which I am thankful for, but I was a bit perplexed after my follow up visit when he asked me to come back again on a daily basis. I’m pretty sure he was just wanting money in his pocket. If a doctor tells you you need this be cautious. You MIGHT need it, but from my research lots of stretching, ice and warm epsom salt baths do the trick. I have yet to take an epsom salt bath for mine, but I am now at the point that I feel like stretching is all I need.
Since I have been stretching better before and after runs my IT band really isn’t bothering me anymore. It is still somewhat of a problem, but I am at about 80% now. I am also interested in foam rolling as mentioned by Matt over at No Meat Athlete. I also have planter problems on my left foot so will likely start using a tennis ball to massage and stretch that. Now, it may sound like I’m one injured dude right now, but from what I have heard it’s all because I’m a new runner and it’s something all new runners go through.
Because of the injury and recent trips I have been running less. It seems to have decrease my motivation. Even last night I almost skipped my run. On my way home from work I ended up having to stop by the grocery store, and after that was just feeling lazy and stayed home. But, after a few hours of siting around I couldn’t take it anymore; I threw on my running shoes and hit the pavement – knocking out 4+ miles with a pace of 9:18. It’s strange, even though I have been inured my last two runs have been pretty fast.
My five mile run the other day (9:13 pace) was just under the pace (9:15) I will need to meet my 2 hour goal for the Dallas White Rock Marathon (running the half marathon). I was beginning to start thinking I wasn’t going to be able to meet the goal because of the injury, taking trips and being distracted by the new road bike I got (but that has helped in some ways). I am excited to get back on track though. I plan on getting a long run in this weekend. So far 10 miles has been my longest run, but seeing as how that was several weeks ago I will likely keep this weekends run under 10 miles.
Training for this half marathon has been pretty exciting. The other day my roommate suggested I just got for the full marathon, but I really don’t think I am mentally ready for that yet, nor am I sure I want to dedicate more time to train for the longer distance. I have already taken up cycling on top of running, and now both of those are competing with climbing – which is my true love. I had always secretly made fun of other climbers that also ran, cycled and had other hobbies on top of climbing. In my mind I didn’t want anything competing with that, but now I find myself right where they are and understand them a bit more.
So far, I have not let any of these interfere with my climbing trips, but my guess is there will eventually be a race scheduled for the same weekend as a climbing trip and then I will find myself conflicted and torn, but at the same time I will be enjoying one of them. Running and cycling may have been the smartest things I have decided to do for my health. Since beginning to do those things I am starting to feel even healthier than when I started a vegetarian diet. Now, with that said I am a firm believer that man can not add to his days, I don’t do these things to live longer, I simply do them because I enjoy them and they help me enjoy the days I have more fully. Just because God controls all things doesn’t eliminate human responsibility, and I believe we are called to take care of what he has given us, even our bodies.