I had my doctor appointment on Thursday morning. One of my running buddies was pretty convinced that I had hip bursitis and it turns out she was right. This same diagnosis put her on crutches for a week after her first half marathon and sidelined her from running for several weeks after so she was very familiar with my symptoms. So, what exactly does that mean?? Well, according to my pal, Google, a bursa is a fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between moving tissues of the body. Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa. What is causing this? According to my doctor, it could be my running shoes (I did buy a new pair about 4 weeks before the pain started), poor running form (I will never claim to have good running form, but I don’t think I’ve changed the way I’ve been running. Who knows?), or it could simply be from overuse. And what exactly can I do about this? Well, my doctor gave me a round of steroids to reduce pain and inflammation and 800mg motrin to help with the pain. He also recommended icing it 4 times a day and starting PT after my race. He said that since my bursitis seems to be running related, he didn’t think I would need steroid injections at this time. I asked him if I could run this weekend and he said that if I was willing to accept that I would be in a lot of pain, that he wasn’t going to tell me I couldn’t run.
I left the office on cloud 9. I was so worried he was going to tell me that I needed to stop running for 4-6 weeks. He did X-rays and said everything looked good; I don’t even have any arthritis. Yay. So by Thursday afternoon, I had decided I would still run the Richmond Half Marathon. I decided to take it easy on Thursday night to give my hip one more day to rest. Below is my full recap of the weekend:
I left work early on Friday to pick up my mom and head to the expo. Originally, Sam was going to stay with us, but she decided to bring her girls so she made the decision to book a separate hotel room that was closer to the start at the last minute. So, it made more sense for her to drive separately as well. I picked up my mom and met Sam in Leonardtown so we could caravan to Richmond together. My hotel was actually about 10-15 miles outside of Richmond so I decided to check in prior to heading to the expo. When my mom and I got to the hotel lobby, she noticed this sign right away!!!
I’ve never received a hotel upgrade before, so I was pretty excited! I got a dedicated parking spot and an upgrade to a huge 2 bedroom/2 bath suite. Man!! We would have had plenty of room for Natalee and Lilee. We had 3 beds and a pull-out couch in the living room. Too bad it was too late for Sam to cancel her reservations. I even called Steven to tell him that we had plenty of room for him and the girls if they wanted to come, but he wasn’t up for the 2 hour trip that night. If you are ever in Glen Allen and need a room, check out the Comfort Suites at Virginia Center Commons. Excellent hotel and excellent staff.
After we got ourselves all checked in, we headed to the Expo. The expo was very crowded, but there weren’t any lines for bib pick-up so that process was very easy. After we got our bibs, we waited for Sam and girls before checking out the rest of the vendors.
The rest of the expo was crowded and hot. I’ve heard that there were some pretty cool opportunities to meet some “Running Royalty”, but we just made our way through the vendors.
One cool thing that I hadn’t seen before was the giant display of all the names of those running the races. Of course, we all had to find our names. Mine was way up high so my 5’2” self was having trouble finding it, especially with the amount of people who were also there trying to find their own name. I finally found it!!
After about an hour and a half total at the expo, we decided to head to dinner. The traffic was pretty bad so we decided to head out of Richmond and go back to Glen Allen for dinner. We ended up eating at the same Chili’s we ate at last year before my first full marathon, which was only a few minutes from our hotel. I ordered my go-to pasta meal from Chili’s. The food was pretty good, but let’s just say it wasn’t the cleanest restaurant I have ever eaten at. After dinner, Sam and the girls headed to Target, while my mom and I hit the grocery store to buy some yogurt for the next morning. We went back to our room and I made my Flat Kimbo before settling down and going to bed.
My alarm went off at 5:00. I had fallen asleep relatively easily the night before, but did wake up a few times throughout the night (brrr…I’m freezing, followed by waking up in a puddle of sweat. Rinse and repeat). After a few minutes, I finally crawled out of bed. We got ourselves together, I French braided my mom’s hair, took my medication (steroid & 800mg Motrin) and we were ready to go by 5:50. I had mapped out a parking spot that was in between the start and the finish (a little closer to the finish because I was worried about how my hip would feel afterwards). After getting parked, we had to head straight uphill to find the start. We made it to the start and my mom checked her coat by 6:40. My mom was racing the 8k and her race was starting at 7 so I hung out, checked my coat, and then saw her off. Go mom go!
After mom started her race, I walked over to the Marriott, where Sam was staying. It was such a convenient location and I was able to eat my yogurt and banana in her room and then use her bathroom before the start. I had realized that I left my earbuds at my room and was freaking out a bit at first, but Natalee was a life-saver! She had a pair and said I could use them. THANK YOU so much, Natalee!
Sam and I headed down to the race to line up. The half marathon started at 7:30, but our wave (hello, wave E) didn’t start until approximately 10 minutes later. Originally, Sam was going to shoot for a sub 2:00 race today. She had texted me that morning and said that her back had been aching and she was just going to stick with me today. Honestly, this made me nervous at first. I was a little worried that I would push it a little too hard to try to keep up with Sam on a day when I knew I needed to take it easy. Going into this race with hip issues, the only goal I had was to finish. I knew it was possible that it would be a bad race and I certainly didn’t want to PR. I didn’t have any specific pace that I wanted to keep and said I just wanted to listen to my body. Soon enough, wave E was off!
Miles 1 -2: The first 2 miles were down Broad St. in downtown Richmond. I remembered this start from last year, only it was a little more exciting last year. I felt pain in my right hip, but lately the pain usually starts at the beginning of the race and seems to fade after a mile or so. This time, it wasn’t fading. It wasn’t really any worse than usual at this point, but I was concerned that it wasn’t going away. I couldn’t wait for the course to turn off of Broad Street because I hoped it would help mentally to think of something other than the pain.
All of these splits are according to Map My Run (unofficial):
Mile 1 – 9:43
Mile 2 – 9:53
Miles 3 – 5: We turned right and headed north. We passed the Arthur Ashe Athletic Center, where the expo had been held and then ran and out-and-back leg down a street.
It was at this point that I started to really worry. My pain was intensifying. Every step I took was a mental battle. I wanted to walk, but I was so worried that if I walked, it would hurt even worse when I started running again. I remember telling Sam that I planned to walk at 4.5 miles and refuel. But as we got to mile 3, I didn’t think I would make it that far. I kept telling myself, “I’ll stop at 3.5”. Then I would push through and tell myself “Now stop at mile four”. Luckily I was able to push myself through it. I decided not to stop out of fear that I wouldn’t be able to start back up. I was also feeling nauseous and didn’t want to refuel at that point anyway.
Mile 3 – 9:56
Mile 4 – 9:53
Mile 5 – 9:59
Miles 6 – 7: We entered a park and ran about a 2 mile loop around the park. It was very beautiful, but I was having a tough time concentrating on my surroundings. I couldn’t get out of my own head. Again, each half mile was a fight to not walk. There were rolling hills throughout the entire park. I haven’t run hills in a while and I could definitely tell because each hill was a struggle. I was proud of myself for getting through them. The downhills hurt my hip more than the up-hills. I felt like I was limp-running down some of the hills. I remember saying I would walk at 6 and then it dawned on me that there would probably be a timing mat at 6.2 (10k) so I said I would stop after that. My official 10k split was 1:02:14 (10:01 pace). I decided to keep pushing through.
Mile 6 – 10:01
Mile 7 – 10:19
Miles 8 – 10: Just past mile 7, there was a water/powerade station and this is where I finally decided to stop running and grab a powerade. Sam and I pulled over and I stretched my hip a bit and had her dig out another motrin for me.
I was a little nervous about taking another one because I was still a bit nauseous, but I knew I needed something to help the pain. We headed out of the park and into some residential areas. A lot of this part of the race is a blur to me because I was struggling a lot. I remember a junk food stop, where Sam and I grabbed some gummy bears. I believe it was somewhere between mile 9 and 10 where I stopped to stretch out my calf muscles and walked a bit again. I must have been compensating for my hip while I was running because at this point, my whole right leg was hurting, with the exception of my ankle and knee. My quad was feeling very weak and almost numb. I felt like there was a possibility that my leg would give out on me. My calves were screaming. Weird, as I have never experienced calf pain in any of my runs. And of course, my toes always hurt at every race. And of course, my hip was on fire. I was very upset at this point of the race. I knew I was going to finish, even if I had to crawl to the finish line, but I was pretty miserable. I think Sam realized how bad it was for me at this point and she was very encouraging and helpful. We picked it back up to a run to mile 10.
Mile 8 – 12:09 (stopped for powerade/motrin/walk)
Mile 9 – 11:16 (ran, but with a slower pace)
Mile 10 – 12:22 (stopped to stretch calf, walk a bit)
Miles 11-13.1: Pain, pain, pain. At mile marker 10, I told Sam I needed to walk again. I kept telling Sam to go on without me. I didn’t want to ruin her race, but she made it very clear that she was sticking by my side till the end. I can’t thank her enough. We walked (limped) all the way to mile marker 11. About halfway through this mile, I started feeling better mentally. I think once I accepted that I was just going to walk and truly be okay with it, and that I wasn’t disappointing Sam, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I even grabbed a cup of beer that one of the spectators was giving out. Just a swallow though. I was still worried about my stomach on top of everything else. We had pulled out our phones during this stretch so that I could update my mom that we would be later than expected at the finish line in case she was looking for me and so that Sam could check on her girls. Might as well take advantage of the opportunity. This is where I saw the text with my mom’s time! She finished her 8k in 1:20:40 (her goal was 1:30). She smashed that goal! Way to go, mom! Lo and behold, a photographer was there to catch us on our phones (I must have just put mine away)!!! Seriously?!?
All that effort we had put into the race up until this point and we get our pictures snapped NOW!!! At mile 11, we started running again and I hoped that I could make it to the end of the race. I made it to mile 12, but then needed another walk break. I was still in a lot of pain and the walk (limp) breaks felt so glorious. I decided I would walk to mile 12.5 and then finish it out with a run. At mile 12.5, we started running again. Although I was in pain, I knew I would be finished running in about 5 minutes and just pushed through the pain. As if my right leg and stomach issues were not enough, I got a side stitch as we headed down the last steep hill. But that was NOT going to stop me now. I put on a smile and headed down the hill to the finish line!!
I was so happy to finish this race. At the finish, Sam gave me a huge bear hug and we continued through the line to grab our finishers medal, blanket (very nice), and hat.
Mile 11 – 16:35 (walked/limped entire mile)
Mile 12 – 11:00 (ran, but with slower pace)
Mile 13 – 12:39 (walked half, ran half)
Mile 13.25 (GPS was a little off) – 9:09 (sprinting to the finish)
Our official time was 2:28:14. I’ll take it.
We met up with my mom, grabbed my bag from the gear check and headed to the finishers party. We ate some pizza and some of their other treats and found a place out in the grass to sit down.
My leg was feeling much better now that I wasn’t running. We didn’t hang out very long. We were cold and ready to get home. Once I stood back up, my pain was back and I had a slow walk/limp uphill, back to the parking garage. We said goodbye to Sam and we headed back to our room.
I don’t think there is anything more glorious than a hot shower after a race. I could have stayed in there for an hour, but we had to get ourselves together and get home. I was dropping my mom off by 3:15 and heading home.
After thoughts – Well, this probably completes my running for the year and was my 11th half marathon to date. The bad news is that I am sure I will have to take some time (hopefully minimal) off from running. The good news is that I smashed my goals for the year. My first was to race 15 races in 2015. This marks #15!! Yay!! I completed 6 5ks, 2 10ks, 1 10 miler, and 6 half marathons this year. My second goal was to run a sub 2:10 race. My Crawlin’ Crab half marathon time was 2:08:37. While I am sad about my injury and the fact that I need to rest, I am looking forward to racing next year. First stop will be Key West in January with some great running friends.
I am struggling to get around today and have to rely on crutches, but I am confident that I will heal quickly. In hindsight, I probably should have switched my race to the 8k this weekend. I have been known for my stubbornness and when I have my sights set on something, there is not much that can get in the way. Was it the smartest decision? Probably not. But I am accepting my consequences today as I lay in bed and type this. Thanks to my hubby for helping to get everything done around the house. And thanks to Jason & Greg for helping set me up for the football game 🙂