Monday, September 17, 2012

Tale of Two Halves

On the theory that things could not possibly get any worse in my running experiences, I entered a couple half marathons in preparation for the upcoming NC24 and Akron Marathon.

The first one, the River Run, actually went better than expected. This is not to say that it wasn't a PW, but it was a PW in a good way. I ran a fairly steady pace, and finished just under 1:43. Although this was a minute or so slower than my previous worst half, I was actually encouraged. There wasn't an undue amount of pain and suffering, and anytime the pace is even, you feel pretty good about it. On top of all that, my friends were all there, and it was good to see everyone.

After that race I went to work, where I almost always spend all my time on my feet. That's usually not a problem after a run or race, but it was this time for some reason. By the time I got home, my right knee was killing me. That's strange because this was a first - in recent history - for this kind of pain. My back/butt/hip pain had been on my left side, and as I mentioned, it didn't bother me very much during the race.

So I took a day or two off, and sure enough, the knee pain subsided. I ran 20 on the mill mid-week, and it didn't hurt much. In fact, even though that run was simply awful, I wasn't in pain. I was just board and tired.

Thursday was another off day as we drove to Connecticut. On Friday I ran an easy 7 on the Housatonic trail there. I like that trail, and things were looking up.

For Saturday, I'd signed up for the Sam Alpern Half Marathon in Norwalk, CT. I did the same race a year ago, and I'd enjoyed it. Since I was there by chance on the same weekend, I thought: why not? It's small (<200 a="a" and="and" believe="believe" bucks="bucks" by="by" can="can" club.="club." fifteen="fifteen" i="i" it="it" local="local" love="love" on="on" only="only" p="p" put="put" run="run" runners="runners" s="s" you="you">
Things started off fine, as I settled into a nice 7:30 - 8:00 pace. All I wanted to do is keep it steady, and better yet, pain-free. Just like last week. There was just one problem: it wasn't pain free, This time, the pain was in my right hip. And it was on the side, and sharp! The previous hip problems had been with my left side, and generally more toward the back.

Maybe it was from running so much on the side of a slanty road. Maybe it was over-compensation for my other pains. Whatever it was, I kept going. As I started the second loop, I was beginning to think that I could cheat death and make it through this race in one piece. I hit mile nine in 1:10:40 - just about like last week - and then the wheels fell completely off.

I felt something snap in the hip that was already in pain. THIS pain was really sharp. So sharp that I suddenly had to stop completely. I tried to walk a bit, and it hurt like hell. I stopped and then tried to walk some more, and I could hardly make forward progress.

A friendly biker came by and radio'd my position in, so a car could pick me up. A while later, a red Mustang convertible picked me up and took me to the finish. At least I DNF'd in style.

So things have in fact gotten worse. Worse than I could have imagined. And I'm sidelined again.

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