IT Bands, Metatarsals, and a Ragnar Relay (aka June – Dec 2012)

In an attempt to bring you all up to speed (ha, ha) on my 2012 running life, I’ve already described my running “un-schedule” for the first half of 2012: Fewer miles, less speed, more getting lost, and lots of cool photo ops.  This was all most excellent, but by early June, KMN and I were settled in Los Angeles, CA for the summer, and I was ready for a plan.

Switchbacks in Griffith Park

A glimpse of some of Griffith Park’s switchbacks. I do miss those trails…

Plus, I suddenly found myself with 12+ hours of daylight, clear blue skies every day, and mountains full of trails in every direction (except the direction that pointed toward the ocean, but what’s there to complain about in that?).  I started exploring the desert hills and developing my favorite running routes.  I was in (one kind of) running paradise!  In fact, I played on the trails so much that I irritated my IT band, which is my “go-to tweaky bit”.  Then, I remembered that I am a smart runner, and put together a careful and progressive training plan for the summer.  I built my mileage slowly, and burned off my extra energy (and nervousness about a round-the-world move) by putting in lots of miles on my bike.

Raleigh Cyclocross Bike

My Raleigh Cyclocross bike. <3

The cycling part of the summer was a tremendous, scary gift – I finally made the time (and had the daylight) to spend hours at a time in the saddle. I got moderately comfortable cycling in a city, I realized that I could fix a flat tire on the side of the road (and how to freeze my fingers off with use one of those mini CO2 canisters), I learned the symptoms of an out-of-true wheel, I fell over a few times, and I cleaned a *lot* of sand off my trusty cyclocross bike. I was often scared, sometimes frustrated, and occasionally discouraged – but I learned a ton, become a more confident cyclist, and am itching to get back on my bike again – so I’d count the experience a success.  Particularly since I also got a killer tan, and consumed gallons of lemonade.

Riding one LA river bike path

Tough stuff.  Cruising one of LA’s many river paths, with some mountains in the distance.

I ran just one race the whole summer: The Tough Topanga 10K, in early June.  Tough Topanga is a glorious little race run in the mountains of Topanga State Park.  The course is essentially 3 miles of climbing, then 3 miles of descending, and boasts (rightly so) an awesome small-town feel and a delicious homemade post-race brunch.  All this, just on the outskirts of LA – AWESOME!  I’d be back this year in a heartbeat, if we were living in the LA area.

I wasn’t in prime racing shape for the TT, but the hills, spirit, “hometown” feel, and did I mention the hilly mountains? were fantastic.  I was lovin’ life.  But in order to keep things (like, my IT bands) safe and strong, I made the (difficult) decision to hold off on racing for the rest of the summer, in order to focus on properly building my base.

Pictures of Ragnar ADK race shirts

Ragnar Adirondacks Team Holly Cow, for the win!

And I was going to need that base, because I’d been invited to join a team for the Ragnar Adirondacks race at the end of September.  I had been hankering to run one of these 200-mile, 12-person relay beauties for nearly 2 years, and a good friend of mine came through as a team captain, giving me the chance to run one literally days before I moved to Singapore.  This race experience warrants its own post one day.  I’ll get there, I promise…

Although I’d been prepared for the Ragnar distance, I hadn’t (quite) been prepared for the speed – running 3 legs of 6 miles each, separated by 8 hours, allows for a considerably faster pace than 18 miles, straight through.  So in the race’s aftermath, I babied those IT bands for a bit. The timing was good, actually, because we’d just arrived in Singapore, and I had some lifestyle, schedule, and climate changed to adapt to.

I was just starting to develop a running groove in Singapore, when a misstep on the trail (and some weird bone structure) left me with a broken or stress-fractured metatarsal.  [It happens with sufficient frequency that I don’t even bother with an x-ray anymore, and the only treatment is ‘ wear a stiff shoe and stop doing things that hurt until it stops hurting’.  And although metatarsal fractures are often over-training injuries, mine isn’t.  It’s a structural issue.]

Thankfully, the human body is an incredible machine, and it heals even the most annoying metatarsal injuries.  In the meantime, I spent a lot of time in the pool and on the spin bike.  Now, I’m finally – finally (OK, it was only 6 weeks, but it felt like for-ev-er!) – back out on the trails.  And I couldn’t be happier.  =D

I’m still proceeding carefully, with a couple of short runs during the week and a lengthening long run on the weekend, and I’m feeling good.  Nah, make that awesome.  To keep my running self healthy, I strengthen, I stretch, I cross-train, I spend quality time with the foam roller – and I’m sure we’ll be talking about all of these things in the future

But for now?  It’s time for me to get to bed.  I’ve got some miles to put in tomorrow morning.  And ya know what?  I Can’t. Freakin’. Wait.

Palos Verdes over the ocean, Bike Ride

Gratuitous Cycling Photo in Palos Verdes. I couldn’t decide between this cycling picture and the “bicep show-off” picture above, so I’m putting them both in. Why not? And for the record, I’m not flashing a peace sign. I’m counting – this is the top of the 2nd of 5 climbs on this ride.

What is/was/will be your workout for today?

5 thoughts on “IT Bands, Metatarsals, and a Ragnar Relay (aka June – Dec 2012)

  1. Holly

    I quite enjoyed the bicep flex picture! My workout(s) for the day, a 13 mile run around Irondequoit Bay, an hour and a half paddle (both done in shorts and a Tshirt!!!!) And now a runner weightlifting session with Deb (We named it the cupcake workout 🙂 )
    Loving reading your blog! And have fun with the run tomorrow!

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