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My sister recently had a graduation party and I took this opportunity to test out some available running in the Chicago suburbs. I have to admit, it was quite impressive. I never expected such elevation for the area. There was even a really mean hill that is truly amazing for hill repeats — it was about a 65-70ΒΊ incline, easily; almost unrunnable. The only problem was that I never expected to find a trail so I only brought my Saucony’s (street running shoes). But I’m sorta glad I did simply because I can now see first-hand that trail shoes are really made for trails. I was all over the damn place try to run up that hill. Lisa, on the other hand, had her Montrail Mountain Masochists and had almost no issues climbing (other than the fact that it was damn hard, physically).

Aside from the hill repeats, I was able to increase my pace for the first time since my injury. I finally was able to run a 6 mph pace for the entire hour. However, at the very end the pain returned. I wasn’t too worried about it because it felt different this time. Sure, it was there, but it felt as if it would go away as soon as I stopped running (and it did). This is why I never get too excited when I run pain-free. I know it’s still around, just waiting for me to f-up and do something stupid. Admittedly, I pushed a bit too hard because I was excited about my 6 mph pace, but fortunately nothing serious came from it. I’m pretty good now. Taking Advil as a precaution, but pretty good.

Congrats to everyone who competed in the PCT 50-miler. You guys all did very well. And good luck to those in the upcoming Leadville Trail 100. I’ll be keeping track online. I’ll even go out and suffer for a bit just so I’m not too comfortable. I always feel this is necessary. The same was true for Badwater and Hardrock. When others are suffering, I feel compelled to suffer along with them. It’s a disease.

A brief update, so that I don’t neglect this blog and my ultra-friends πŸ™‚

Things are looking up for me. As I’m certain all of you are familiar with, at this stage of the recovery process is really all about motivation. After so much time off — well, I should say “after so many sub-50 miles months” — motivation starts to deteriorate. As with almost everything in life, I believe it’s all mental and this is a block. Blocks and barriers can be overcome with work. And work is what I try to do. It may not always be the best (some days are worse than others), but I’m working at it slowly.

That said, I should end up with over 50-miles this month! I’m shooting for something like 60-65 (originally I thought I can do 75, but those damn barriers). Running is becoming less painful, and that is awesome for me. My longest so far since the full-time injury is 7.5 miles. Low, but it’s progress. I’m happy to report that this morning’s 5-miler was completely pain-free. To me, these things are exciting, as with any other progress one experiences.

Once I feel comfortable that this healing is not something temporary, I will increase mileage and try to get back to my old self (well, better, actually!). I don’t know what future plans are, but I’m always thinking about Rocky. Sure, it’s many months off, but you can never plan too early, especially when there’s injury involved. Again, this is just a thought. There are always many pressures when racing/competing.

Good luck to all my friends who are competing in the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) this weekend! Take some photos for me. And kick some ass. πŸ™‚

It’s been several weeks and I think it’s time for an update on how things are clearing up for me. πŸ™‚

If my memory serves me correctly, in my last post I had only started that patch that delivered ibuprofen with electrodes. Well, since then I’ve had two more of those 24-hour sessions, totaling three. Those were a good choice to go ahead with, but I should say that the physical therapist is also pretty remarkable. I can tell she actually gave a crap about the problem (which is a bit uncommon, especially since it’s from our on-campus health center). Every time I’d come in she would always have some other ideas about what might be causing the injury and therefore a new exercise for me to try. During my last session with her, which was last Friday, I was prescribed my best exercise yet. While leaning on a desk, stretch out my injured right leg to where only my toes are touching the ground. Then slowly lift the leg until it’s roughly 90ΒΊ to the ground, and then slowly release it back down, but do not let gravity take over. 100 of these per day. I sometimes do a tad more only because I feel that doing a tad more will help speed up the recovery for me. I can’t help but overdo myself all the time, no matter what it is. You know how it is, we think we know better than the PTs. πŸ˜‰

Well, I believe that easy, easy runs and a bit of time off (about every other day) is helping. I’m terribly ecstatic to announce that just yesterday I was able to run about 5.5 miles relatively pain free! Granted, it ended up being like a 13-minute pace and I wanted to walk for one minute every mile, but believe me, this is progress. I really want this to go away, so I’m taking all the necessary precautions, which is why I included the walking even though the pain wasn’t returning. So far, I think it’s helping.

Before yesterdays run, I’ve only been doing 3.5 miles at most. And during those runs, the pain would return around mile 1. But even in those instances, I would walk for a minute or so when the pain level would get to about a 3 out of 10, as the PT had recommended. So a relatively pain-free 5.5 is progress and excitement for me!

So this is my latest news. I’ll be back in almost no time at all. I can feel it. What kills me the most is that I still have great tastes in my mouth from long runs, and I’m craving the hell out of them. To know that your body can handle a 20-miler but you’re debilitated by some ridiculous injury is something that is probably one of the worst feelings anyone can endure. The joy of suffering really knows how to linger in your mind.