Okay, really the hip is the limit. I noticed recently that my motivation for getting faster has been flagging. Last year I was running 70 and 80 miles weeks, pushing my body to the limit and doing as much running as my life could handle. This year, I’m extremely cautious and I feel like I can’t really push myself too hard or I might have a recurrence of my dreaded hip injury. Lets go back to where it starts..
In 2008 I ran my first marathon and after a 1:31 at the AFC half decided I really wanted to get my half PR down below 1:25. So I started doing workouts. At this point I was still only running 3 or 4 days a week but the consistency was helping. I ran a 1:27 in Long Beach that October and wondered how I could possibly run any faster. I was spent. I started learning about speed workouts and added them into my weekly runs. A month later I chopped 30 seconds off my time at Silver Strand. In December I blew up at mile 10 in Las Vegas and ran a 1:25:46. I just couldn’t hold onto the pace long enough. Then Adam suggested I bulk up my mileage. I went from 25 to 40 and six weeks later I ran a 1:22:58 at Carlsbad, smashing my goal. A month after that I ran close to 5 seconds a mile faster in Palm Springs (although the long course didn’t show it). I was ecstatic. My improvement curve was huge. I ran a 1:20:08 that May, further dropping my PR. I was losing close to a minute a month. I started having big dreams, wondering how much time I could keep chopping off at this pace. For a few shining moments I started thinking about how achievable a 1:05 might be and qualifying for the Olympic Trials. I was young and stupid? I’m a dreamer, what can I say?
After blowing up big time at a marathon that June (2009), I realized I was burned out and possibly a little overtrained. I took some time off to reflect and to stop stressing. I went up to Seattle and ran a race at the end of the month of very little training and did quite well. The pressure was off and it was fun again. So I started hammering again and signed up to run the Long Beach Marathon and qualified for Boston. A month later I dropped a 1:18 PR at Silver Strand. I thought I picked up where I left off and would continue improving. I didn’t. I had some bad luck and got sick a few times and got busy over the holidays and didn’t get to train as religiously as I could have. I did run a blockbuster 16:19 5k and thought I was going to be money for my 1:15 goal. I had two races to do it and failed miserably. Turns out 5k shape and half marathon shape aren’t the same thing. My endurance wasn’t there. At that point I switched gears to train for Boston and really packed in the miles to build my weak endurance.
My buildup to Boston was the best stretch of training I’ve ever done. I ramped up as high as 85 miles one week but mostly stayed in the 70s. I ran every free minute I could. I was doing 9 to 10 runs a week and pretty much all of my friends thought I was crazy. I figured I was moving to Portland so my social life could take a backseat since I would be leaving all of my friends anyways. I felt pretty much invincible, as I hadn’t had a real injury in three years. I’m good about taking a few days off before small injuries become big ones. After my Boston goal was met it took me a few months to really get the hunger back. I had run my marathon in fantastic fashion and was ready for a break. So I wasn’t expecting much when I ran a 5k at a summer track meet. I ran 16:19 again on crap training and the shock of my fast time really encouraged me to start training hard again to pursue my sub-16 and 1:15 goals. My mileage went back into the 70s and I thought I could really get something going. My workouts were the fastest ever. I ran a 35:15 10k tempo run and was fresh enough to keep going. I thought things would pay off big. A week before the AFC 5k my hip started to hurt. Next thing you know… I can’t run. Then I couldn’t run at all. The whole time I was trying to keep my fitness in whatever way I could but when it boiled down to it, I had to let it go. There was nothing I could do but watch my running fitness deteriorate.
Since then it just hasn’t been the same.
After months of frustration and a lot of time off, I was able to start running again. When the pain started I stopped. It was hell. I had no real answer about why the injury happened in the first place and scant evidence to tell me why it went away. They said it was bone growth that caused an impingement in my hip. Time off shouldn’t have fixed it. Doesn’t make much sense. So I’ve been feeling it out and slowly increasing my training and mileage. I wasn’t able to even start until December. Started with 3 days a week and no back to backs. As of now I’m up to 6 days finally and my mileage is in the 60s. I don’t know if it’s going to hold up. I’ve had to back off a few times due to pain. I can’t run big inclines and declines without paying for it later. The only blessing is that I’ve found a stretch that deals with the tightness and I’ve got PT exercises to help strengthen. But really, I feel handicapped. I can’t just go out and blow the doors off and run 7 days a week anymore. I have to be cautious and not run doubles and watch how I feel. It really kind of sucks. I’m thankful to be running, but I’m not the kind of person who can deal with stupid restrictions. It’s like Brett Dennen says, “I can’t get used to my bodys limits.”
I’m getting back to where I was. My Carlsbad 5k time was only 4 seconds off the previous years, but my track workout yesterday tells me I still have a long way to go. My goals are not going to be reached soon and I’d love to work harder and run more to achieve them, but alas, I can’t. I’m just waiting it out until my body decides I can run free again.