Summerfast 10k race report and injury update.

Today I ran the Summerfast 10k. It was my first race since suffering a second stress fracture, in the same foot, in all of 13 months.

The second fracture was pretty hard to take and I sat on my butt for a week doing nothing but accusing myself of it all being my fault. That really didn’t make a whole lot of sense when I looked at the big picture in regards to how I train though, sure there’s a lot of room for improvement but it just didn’t seem like stress fracture inducing stuff to me. I got back on the bike in the second week of no running and rode around Stanley Park Drive as much as I could which at first being on a crappy bike wasn’t much, and I wanted to murder that Prospect Point hill, but I ended up getting a new hybrid bike from my husband for my birthday which has allowed me to fly around the park and ride much greater distances and now I actually enjoy cross training.

I was originally told that I wasn’t going to be able to do this race by two physicians, and the fracture had already nixed a half marathon I was registered for at the end of June. My sports doctor and my physiotherapist had discussed my latest fracture and had decided that I was not allowed to run until I had seen a super fancy specialist. The specialist was booking for mid August at the time and my heart sank. Depression wise I had been holding it together pretty good, minus that first week. Alas, luck shone down upon me and due to my refferal being marked URGENT because of an upcoming race I have in Java, Indonesia, I got in on a cancellation for the very end of June. I was then ecstatic. I hoped that even if I missed the Summerfast that there was still a slim chance that I could get cleared for Indonesia.

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting out of my appointment with the specialist but I came out of it feeling underwhelmed. I had asked if it could simply be the case that I am someone who is prone to stress fractures, as had been suggested to me, and he said yes. It was one of the stranger visits to a doctor that I have had, the man fully knows what he is doing but it was just, different. I did come away from it being told that I could run again though. He gave me a two week run/walk/run program and told me that if I made it through that and then a subsequent 30 minute run with no stopping, pain free, then I was good to go and could race not only the Summerfast but the half marathon in Indonesia as well. He also suggested that I get a gait analysis.

The gait analysis although not cheap was probably the best thing I could have ever done for myself running wise. The appointment was state of the art, there are apparently only a few clinics of this calibre in all of North America, I’m pretty sure he said two in Canada. It was like being captured for a video game, so many cameras and you are covered in tiny ball like motion sensors from your shoes up to your hips and can see yourself moving as red dots on the screen. I LOVE SCIENCE! I ran at my average/preferred pace and then they pump it up a tad and take readings at both levels. 3-5 days later you go back and have your mind completely blown in a meeting where you go over your analysis. He immediately said that it was mostly good and that I was a formula one runner and he could tell I had been running for a while. How nice, I was very flattered as it is super scary to know you are going to watch yourself run or at least he had said it was normal to be weirded out by it, and I was. Seriously, the spandex they make you wear alone are enough to make most people not want to watch any playback.

A copy of the report was sent off to my fabulous physiotherapist and by the time I arrived for my appointment he already had all of my new exercises ready to go. Apparently, I’m basically strong enough now, but there are tricky technical things with my form that need work, these are endurance exercises that I have to do. I asked him to tape up my I/T band for the race because during my final 30 minute run it was fine but the next day it flared up on me. I really wasn’t sure how either of my I/T bands were going to hold up in the race given that I hadn’t ran 10k in ten plus weeks. Before the race, I’d also only had time for one run where I could start to try and work on the suggestions from the analysis.

During all of this injury business I still managed to achieve a goal that I had, I am now on the local store Distance Runwear’s racing team. The ladies portion of the team is sponsored by Oiselle and our singlets have just recently shipped so we will be all official soon and I’m ridiculously excited about it all. Today I raced in a fancy Oiselle tank and wore my Distance Runwear t-shirt until it was almost go time. By quite a bit, I’m the slowest runner on the team but that is extremely inspiring given some of the company I am in on both the female and the male side. I also feel confident that the team captain sees potential in me or he wouldn’t have said yes to me being a part of his project.

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My 30, well actually it was 34 minutes of non stop running gave me a really good indication of how much my fitness level had or had not suffered. I was very happy with my energy level on that run and was super glad that I had spent so much time on my bike. It also let me know how I should pace myself for my race and so I went in planning to run a 4:50 min/km pace. I have been working hard on relaxing while I’m racing and not going out too fast and trust me that stuff is a lot harder than it sounds but today it went off without a hitch.

Although all of my splits were faster than 4:50 I still ran a very contained race, in the first 5k I was constantly slowing myself down so I wouldn’t burn out at 7k like I normally do in a 10, but I did it, normally I just go, I convince myself that I will still feel however I’m feeling in such and such amount of kilometers and I end up kissing my race plan goodbye thus screwing myself timewise in the process (not everytime but a lot). In the second 5k I let myself run a pace that was comfortable. I still felt so good and relaxed I was starting to wonder if it was actually me who was running. When I hit around 8.5k I turned it up a bit and put my last km in at 4:28. I came across the line in 47:21 which is an average pace of 4:45 min/km. I feel so incredibly good about this race, in the last 3k I chanted to myself “just stay relaxed, you’ve got this” over and over and it worked, I didn’t burn out and I finished really strong. This race has left me feeling quite confident that if I can get my form/injury issues under control that I am going to be able to drop my time down into the high 45s low 46ish range.

I have specifically left August race free so that I can concentrate on Indonesia, I don’t have enough time to properly train for a race of this difficulty let alone a normal half marathon, so I’m going to do my best to get as many miles in and as many ugly hills as I can between now and when I leave on September 1.

They were telling me to run.

It’s been a little bit hard for me to take that it has only been a year and a month since I last had a stress fracture in my left foot and now I am sitting here again with another possible stress fracture in the same one.

Last year, I felt my foot crack, I remember the exact spot on the seawall where it happened. I didn’t know exactly what had happened but I had an instant gut feeling. At least last year I only ran another 13k on it before I went to physio and stopped running. The very next day I busted out my bike and hit the pool to water run.

This year things have gone a little differently. Three weeks ago now, it was a gym day, I was heading to bed and noticed a pain in my foot and chuckled to myself HAHA I HOPE THIS ISN’T ANOTHER STRESS FRACTURE. HAHAHAH SLEEEEEP.

Before seeing my shrink during that same week I had run 23k on it and it hurt on both of those runs but it was sort of different than last year, my foot was tightening up on me quite a bit and the pain would subside after about 7k. As I’ve mentioned on here many times, my shrink used to have a general practice and he was a doctor in the army and often saw a lot of the injuries that I acquire running, he didn’t think that it sounded like a stress fracture and told me to go and get some reflexology on my feet and good luck in your race tomorrow! At that point I still wasn’t sure that I would be able to do the 5k race but I went for the reflexology and it seemed like a miracle. It cleared up some nerves that were bugging me in my other ankle and it seemed to relax my foot, the main pain spot was still there but it felt much better so I decided that I would race the next day. I had made an appointment for physio but I was unable to get in until the following week.

The race was the Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women in support of mental health. There was both a 5k and a 10k. It was my girlfriend’s birthday, she was running the 10k and I was running the 5k because I had just done the Sun Run. I was relaxed (for me) and had no goals for this race because I had been stressing out about my foot all week plus the course was mostly trails and so I really didn’t think even trying for a PB was realistic. My trail running has been virtually non existent since spraining my ankle last July; before the race I had gone on exactly one trail run and it was on very well manicured trails at that.

My ankle seemed to bug me more in the race than my foot did. I had never run on those trails before and they were not even close to as smooth as I’m used to in Stanley Park and I’m not even used to them anymore. There was one downhill I almost bit it on a couple times and was sure my ankle was going back over but I managed to get out of the trail and back to the pavement without incident.

I ended up winning the 5k. All of my Denman Shoppers Pharmacy buddies were there running the 5k too, I’ve been going there for over 13 years, they know me by name and stuff and they were stoked that I won and were joking that there would be no more lines for me at the store. I was floored that I won, I have never flat out won a race before, it was pretty awesome. And I thought to myself “won’t it be hilarious if my foot is fractured and I just won that race.”

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The race was on a Saturday so I decided that I would take the next two days off to rest my foot and hope for the best. I got in a nice 8k on the morning before finally going to physio incase I was told not to run again. But of course I was hoping that I would get cleared to run my 16k later that week in preparation for the Scotiabank Half Marathon in June.

I was cleared to run, my foot was a bit of a mess which is common with this foot even without last year’s fracture, it constantly needs adjustments. I won’t go into all that has gone wrong with my left foot but the list is extensive as opposed to my right side which has just suffered the ankle sprain and the nerves in my heel irritation issues.

My physio had asked me to email him after my 16k and let him know how it had gone. Before I left I said “so, you are what, 90% sure this isn’t a stress fracture?” to which he answered that he was 81.78% sure. He also said that if it wasn’t feeling better that next week we’d consider the x ray for a possible fracture. I trust this guy he is one of two physiotherapists I have worked with in that office who deal with various members of our Canadian National sports teams.

I finished my 16k, my foot hurt the entire time, it felt like it did relax at times but it never fully stopped hurting or got worse. It was feeling eerily similar to the last fracture. I had tried two different types of treatment on it and it was still feeling super sore.

The next day I woke up and could hardly walk and thought fuck this, this thing is so fucking fractured I am going for the x ray. I had proactively asked the doctor for the paperwork in case the physiotherapist wanted me to have one. I emailed my physio and he had actually cleared me for my next run as well, still not thinking it was a fracture but I went with my gut and although for the second time the fracture does not show on the x ray my bone scan is on the 31st so even if I am wrong and it isn’t fractured, whatever it is should be cleared up enough that I might only miss one race instead of two or maybe I won’t miss either.

Today it isn’t hurting very much and is thus fucking with me and making me think that I’m wrong and that it isn’t fractured. I would love to be wrong about this one. LOVE IT. The one last year did the same thing to me though it stopped hurting almost entirely after I stopped running on it and it took everything I had not to go run on it to test it out before that bone scan report came back.

I’m not taking this as well as I did last year. I have given myself this week to be a sad couch potato before I get on my bike and back into the pool for some water running that I love so much. I don’t really understand what I’m doing wrong. I don’t over train. The only thing I can think of is that my cadence might be too high, also, I probably run too fast but I don’t see myself as fast and that is how I enjoy running.