Since Uwharrie a couple of weeks ago, recovery has been going pretty well. I ended up taking 3 days off before my next run, which was just only about 4 miles and I made sure that I did some light stretching during that period. The last time after I had ran Uwharrie, I ended up sidelined with a major bout of IT Band Syndrome for the next 6 weeks because I did no stretching. I wasn't going to make that mistake again this year and have done light stretching after every run so far. But despite the stretching I was beginning to feel that slight twinge once again on the side of my left knee. But luckily, not to the extent of years before.
The real test for the knee and how well I had recovered would come from running yesterday's Rattle My Heart 50k, just two weeks removed from Uwharrie. The run was going really well, but upon the descent down Kitsuma, I began to feel my hips getting tight, which is usually a sign of what is to come. I kept pressing on though, and continued up Heartbreak Ridge, slowly moving higher and deeper into the snow. I decided to hike most of it with my friend Jeremy as the lead pack went ahead after I had to take a pit stop. While hiking, the glutes, hips, and hamstrings just got tighter and tighter. I knew that it wasn't a good sign, but I didn't have the option of turning around.
As we slowly crept to the Toll Rd, I also realized I only had one gel left. No PR's were happening today, but I could still enjoy running with a friend if my body would hold up. It didn't though. Upon hitting the Toll Rd, I was bonking and was having to stop and stretch the IT band about every 5 minutes. This made for some slow progress. The pain kept getting worse as the run wore on, but I did enjoy cruising down the Trestle switchbacks that the others skipped out on. I slowly shuffled into the finish after being on the feet for 6:28, my slowest RMH time to date, but I wasn't concerned. I didn't want to make the injury any worse than it was. No matter the pain, I had an excellent time sharing the trails with some of the best people around.
The plan moving forward.......and hopefully the solution
About a year ago, I was told by an athletic trainer that I had weak and tight hips. This wasn't really news to me, but she gave me some stretches that would help with the tightness at the time. I've been doing that stretch ever since and it has kept the IT band monster at bay until now. So reluctantly, I will finally make a move to address my weak hips and hopefully fix the problem once and for all. Therefore, in the next 4 weeks, I plan to do a hip strengthening and stretching routine every other day for that period of time. I will also have to make sure I do not get to ambitious and go out for any 20+ mile training runs during that time, although I do plan to continue running in the next 4 weeks. I just have to dial it back a bit. Plus, I'll be targeting my core strength, something I have poorly neglected during my running career, by doing exercises targeting that on days I am not doing the hip routine. Hopefully, these measures will make me a stronger and more resilient runner. Heck, most likely it will make faster too!
Past couple of week's numbers
- Time - 4hrs33min
- Miles - 21.5
- Vert - 4800'
- Time - 8hrs34min
- Miles - 45.2
- Vert - 8200'
First, the biggest and best news that has happened in the past couple of weeks is that I asked my girlfriend Hannah to marry me and she said YES! I've been with Hannah longer than I have wrote this blog and she means the world to me. She has supported me through all of my running shenanigans and has crewed for me on almost every race I've attempted. Obviously, this is not why I decided to ask her to marry me, but this is a running blog so I want lay out every single reason why she is the ONE. I can't express how much I love her and I can't wait to take that next step in life with her by my side.
Secondly, I recently wrote an article for IRunFar.com about trail running in Asheville. You can check out the article here.
Rattle My Heart Pics Below