Instagram filter used: Valencia
Instagram filter used: Earlybird
Instagram filter used: Valencia
Instagram filter used: Lo-fi
That’s More Like It!
Week 2 of P90X is in the books, and it was so much better than week 1. I’ve still got a long way to go, but this was very encouraging. In week 1, Plyometrics nearly killed me, but this time I had enough energy to attack it and got a great workout. I also made steady gains in all of the resistance workouts, and even in the group yoga (a.k.a. Bodyflow) at the Y. Looking forward to starting week 3 tonight. Last normal week before the first recovery week!
In addition to P90X, I also hiked the 4.5-mile red trail in Percy Warner park on Thursday and Saturday. Not quite the workout of running the trails, but it was still good work. I plan on trying to do this at least 2 to 3 times per week while I am recovering from my hip injury.
I mentioned in my last post that I was over 20 lbs heavier than I was for my first marathon back in 2009. Well, after 1-week of going back on my training diet I dropped exactly 2 lbs. Small steps!
Instagram filter used: Normal
Instagram filter used: Normal
I received the results of my MRI this afternoon, and…
Everything looked good. I’m free to continue with the “Return to Running” program, and training for the 2013 ING New York City Marathon. Leaving the bench and headed back to the road!
It’s amazing how a healed stress injury can feel so much like the beginning of a stress fracture, but it makes sense that whenever bones heal all of the connected nerve fibers will also be affected.
Whatever the case, I’m glad to be back….again! Thanks to everyone for your prayers and encouragement. They are greatly appreciated.
I had the follow-up appointment with my orthopaedist this morning, and he recommended that I have an MRI to definitively see what is going on with my femur. Though he acknowledged that this could be a full-blown stress fracture that doesn’t show up on x-ray, his opinion is that the pain I’m experiencing right now is “Phantom Pain” or “Healing Pain” from the previous stress reaction.
He explained that this type of pain is real, but is not caused by a recurrence of the injury. It is instead caused by how the healed injury site interacts with the connected nerves. He said this often feels very similar to the beginning stages of a stress injury.
Whatever the case, I’m just glad we’re going forward with the MRI so I can at least have peace-of-mind regarding the path ahead.
Well, now that I’m back on the bench, time to start doing what is needed to get back off the bench again. To that end I have an appointment with my orthopaedist tomorrow morning to discuss next steps. Prayers for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan would be appreciated. I’m still holding out hope that I’ll be able to run New York in November.
This afternoon I headed back to the pool for a riveting hour of aqua jogging. Every second I spend in the pool just helps me realize how much I miss running, and pushes me to stay disciplined and work hard to get back out on the road.
- Aqua Jogging >> 1 hour
- 100 Pushup Routine >> Week 4 / Level 3 / Day 1 – 120 total reps completed
– I repeated this day for the second time since I was not able to complete all the reps on either of my first attempts. It was a struggle in the last set, but I got ’em all done tonight! It’s interesting….I’ve been through this routine start to finish twice, and I’ve never had this much trouble with a single workout. Guess this means I’m getting old.
- Pullups >> 19 total reps completed
- In and Outs x 25 reps
- Seated Bicycle Forward x 25 reps
- Seated Bicycle Backward x 25 reps
- Crunchy Frog x 25 reps
- Wide Leg Sit Ups x 25 reps
- Hip Rock n’ Raise x 25 reps
- Pulse Ups x 21 reps
- Roll-Up / V-Up Combo x 25 reps
- Oblique V-Up Right x 25 reps
- Oblique V-Up Left x 25 reps
- Leg Climb x 24 reps (1 grab)
- Mason Twist x 50 reps
Well, after expressing my concerns about the “nondescript, dull, aching sensation in my inner-thigh” last night, I woke up this morning with aching and throbbing all the way up and down my upper leg and hip. This tells me there is no doubt that I’m back on the bench, and that I started running again too soon.
I’ve decided to go to the doctor, though I’m not sure if i’ll go back to my normal orthopaedist or seek a second opinion. Either way I’m incredibly frustrated to be back on the bench so soon. I’m also frustrated that New York is now in jeopardy.
I actually knew things were amiss last Friday when I had my bone density scan. It had nothing to do with the scan itself, but as I sat down for the study the back of my left leg hit the edge of the table and there was significant discomfort. I tried to brush it aside as “phantom pain” that many experience after a stress fracture, but deep inside I knew it was not good.
So, it looks like I’ll be spending a LOT more time in the pool, which is AWESOME! Can’t wait! *sarcasm*
I got an email today from my dear friend, and frequent running partner, Paxton with some insightful analysis of my training log and possible factors that could have lead to my recent stress fractures. A number of members of our running group have accounts on RunningAhead.com, and have access to each other’s logs. Without prompting, Paxton looked through my logs for trends in the data that could provide insight into what threw me into my recent injury cycle. Paxton works in genetics, and is an expert in looking at datasets and graphs. He sent me a couple of annotated graphs from my log such as the one below:
He pointed out several things that were present in the data, but the one that jumped out to me was the fact that tempo and interval mileage accounted for almost 50% of my total mileage for a given week or month, just prior to both of the stress fractures. This is obviously way too high, but was exacerbated by the fact that it was also accompanied by a significant uptick in mileage. This is another example of how I allowed my obsession with Boston to push me over the edge in my training.
A big thanks to Paxton for selflessly spending this time to look at the data and help me out. It means a LOT to me. I will definitely remember this when I put together my full training schedule for NYC. I wish I knew some way to get both Paxton and Nathan into NYC to run with me. Would be great to have the Bellevue Trio in NYC together.
Just finished with my 4-week follow-up orthopaedic appointment, and it turns out that my left femur injury was a stress reaction instead of a full-blown stress fracture. What this means is that I can start the “Return to Running” program as soon as today instead of waiting an additional 2 to 4 weeks. The program will be painfully conservative, but at least it means I can get back out on the road!
I reviewed my planned training changes with him, and he was very supportive of them, especially the idea of only running 5 days a week. He said that back when he worked with Nike elite runners in California and Oregon, their coaches never had them run more than 5 days per week, even though they were racking up LOTS of mileage. He agreed that adding one additional rest day from impact would greatly reduce my chances of sustaining another stress fracture. He also said that he would be perfectly OK with me running doubles on some days during a week, as long as I still took 2 days off from running per week. He said that these days off from running did not have to be days off from workouts, just from impact activities.
All of this was very encouraging, and he said that training for New York this November should not be a problem at all. To that end, today I hope to start the slow climb back up the mileage mountain with his prescribed “Return to Running” program. It is a 10 week program, as defined below, which I will be doing 5 days per week:
- (Week 1) Run 4 minutes, Walk 2 minutes. Repeat 4 times.
- (Week 2) Run 5 minutes, Walk 2 minutes. Repeat 4 times.
- (Week 3) Run 10 minutes, Walk 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.
- (Week 4) Run 15 minutes, Walk 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.
- (Week 5) Run 20 minutes nonstop.
- (Week 6) Run 25 minutes nonstop.
- (Week 7) Run 30 minutes nonstop.
- (Weeks 8 to 10) Increase nonstop running 5 minutes per week.
- After week 10, increase time/mileage by 10% per week.
In addition to this, I am scheduled for a bone density study next week, and then will follow-up with my doctor in 6-weeks to make sure everything is progressing as planned.
Beast Mode….Back ON!
I have been surprised how helpful and accommodating people have been when they see me in a boot. This weekend I flew up to see my terminally ill Grandfather. When I was at the airport people would practically run across rooms to help me. While I appreciate the help, it did sort of make me wonder, ‘where were you when I was flying 7 months pregnant trying to fold a stroller with one hand, manage luggage with the other, and keep up with an over-excited 3 year old?‘
Some people have been a bit over-helpful. I was offered a wheelchair on more than one occasion. And going through security, they offered me a cane. Yep. A cane. 7 days ago I ran 10 miles. Don’t think I need a cane, thanks.
So it rained this weekend. Not wanting to get mud from my parents un-paved driveway all over my boot, I tied a plastic bag over it. Ahhh, the target bag over the robo-boot. The look that says…I give up. We went for coffee and the barista asked me
So, how does it feel to have to wear a plastic bag on your boot to keep it from getting wet?
It feels awesome. Really, really great. Thanks for asking.
People are funny. And awkward. But mostly nice. I am thankful for the people in my life who can laugh and cry with me. The ones who love me even if I have a Target bag on my foot. The ones that know I don’t need a cane, but maybe a hug. Just not from a stranger.
This has been a hard week on the bench. No cross-training completed. NONE! Some of it has to do with business travel. Some of it has to do with Olivia being in Michigan the past three days to be with her sick grandfather, and having to take care of the girls. However, I could still have done some cross-training had I wanted to. The real reason I haven’t done any cross training is because of frustration and anger over being injured again, and allowing excuses to win out over training.
This was brought to a head earlier in the week when Olivia was also diagnosed with a stress fracture, and will also have to miss the St. Jude Country Music race later this month. Both of us love running and racing, and it is so disheartening to work this hard and then not be able to do the thing we love. In an instant we go from peak condition, and ready to engage beast mode, to sitting on the bench.
I’m not a Kobe Bryant fan, but last night when I heard about his torn achilles tendon, I remember thinking that he must feel the same way times a million. This morning, most major news and sports sites were commenting about a Facebook post he made regarding the injury. I have copied it below with the expletives deleted:
All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I’ve done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the [deleted] did this happen ?!? Makes no [deleted] sense. Now I’m supposed to come back from this and be the same player Or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that??
I have NO CLUE. Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing? Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that was. Maybe this is how my book ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me…Then again maybe not! It’s 3:30am, my foot feels like dead weight, my head is spinning from the pain meds and I’m wide awake. Forgive my Venting but what’s the purpose of social media if I won’t bring it to you Real No Image?? Feels good to vent, let it out. To feel as if THIS is the WORST thing EVER! Because After ALL the venting, a real perspective sets in. There are far greater issues/challenges in the world then a torn achilles. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever.
One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence. Today is NOT that day.
“If you see me in a fight with a bear, prey for the bear”. Ive always loved that quote. Thats “mamba mentality” we don’t quit, we don’t cower, we don’t run. We endure and conquer.
I know it’s a long post but I’m Facebook Venting LOL. Maybe now I can actually get some sleep and be excited for surgery tomorrow. First step of a new challenge.
Guess I will be Coach Vino the rest of this season. I have faith in my teammates. They will come thru.
Thank you for all your prayers and support. Much Love Always.
I realize I’m not an elite athlete being paid millions of dollars to compete like Kobe, but I feel the same roller-coaster of emotions that he expresses in this post. I KNOW this is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but it is still frustrating, and I still feel anger. I KNOW I want to work hard to overcome this, but questions fill my mind. At 38, is it possible to ever set a PR again? Qualify for Boston? Train hard without getting a stress fracture? I DO NOT KNOW!
Well, it is time to break out of my slothfulness, and get back to work. Thanks for letting me vent for a minute. Gonna take the girls out to the park for a hike before heading to pickup Olivia from the airport. Next week will be a better week.
About this same time last year, I remember thinking I had been extremely fortunate to have only missed one race due to injury, especially considering how many races I’ve participated in since 2008. Well, a year later, and 2 stress fractures later, I have now missed 8 total races. This really hit me yesterday after Olivia was diagnosed with a severe tibial stress fracture, and will miss the upcoming St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon. Between the two of us, we have now missed 12 races due to stress fractures and other injuries. These are…
- 2008 St. Jude Half Marathon – ITBS
- 2012 Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon – Stress Fracture
- 2012 Murfreesboro “Middle” Half Marathon – Stress Fracture
- 2012 Chickamauga Marathon – Stress Fracture
- 2012 Flying Monkey Marathon – Stress Fracture
- 2013 Oak Barrel Half Marathon – Stress Fracture
- 2013 St. Jude Country Music Marathon – Stress Fracture
- 2013 500 Festival Mini Marathon – Stress Fracture
- 2011 Tupelo 14.2-Miler – Stress Fracture
- 2011 Women’s Half Marathon – Stress Fracture
- 2011 Chicago Marathon – Stress Fracture
- 2013 St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon – Stress Fracture
There’s a LOT of running frustration in the Team Agee household right now. However, as I always say, this is NOTHING in the grand scheme of things, and we are very, very blessed in the life that we have.
Since both of us will be missing the St. Jude Country Music race, Kate will be carrying the Team Agee banner as she participates in her 8th kid’s marathon!
A couple of weeks ago I posted about 3 changes I was planning to make in my training once I come back from the current injury. The following are 3 more thoughts about changes I can make for the remainder of 2013.
- Incorporate more soft-surface running into my training. I used to be in the habit of doing at least one run per week on trails, but began to really slack on this beginning in 2012. I know that in addition to an extra rest day per week, it would be good for my legs to have one run per week on a surface softer than concrete or asphalt. I also know that incorporating more trail running will increase my overall leg strength.
- Drop a few pounds. I’m by no means overweight, but at the same time I’m about 10-pounds heavier than I was during 2010/2011. Losing these pounds would just take that much more pressure off of my legs while running.
- Be more consistent in cross-training. Back in 2010 / 2011 I went through the full P90X program twice, and then continued to do a large portion of the workouts for quite some time. These days, my cross training is inconsistent at best. While I don’t think I need to go back to the full P90X plan, I do believe a more consistent schedule will help in preventing injuries.
In the meantime, while I’m injured, I continue to put in as much time cross-training as I can. This includes aqua-jogging, biking, and elliptical. I’m so over the pool, but also know it is probably the best cross training I can do. Oh well….everybody else out there keep beast mode going while I’m on the bench.
As part of my obsession with qualifying for Boston, I became convinced that moving my weekly mileage from the 40 to 50 mile range into the 60+ range was required to have any shot at a BQ. I began the process of increasing my mileage in mid-2011, and cranked this up even more in mid-2012 after my 3:12 finish in New Orleans. I doubt it is a big coincidence that this also marked the beginning of the stress fracture cycle I’m currently battling.
With this in mind, I have begun the process of re-evaluating my training plan, schedule, and equipment by looking back at my running and equipment logs from the past several years. There were several things that immediately jumped out at me, and I have decided on at least three changes I plan to make for the remainder of 2013 once I am back from the injury:
- Run no more than 3 consecutive days without taking a full day of rest, and no more than 5 total days in a single week. Since mid-2011, my typical pattern has been to run 6 consecutive days each week, and only take Sunday as a rest day from running. While I wish that my body could handle 6 straight days, I’m thinking that adding one extra rest day per week would greatly reduce my risk of developing another stress fracture. I know that bones need time to recover from repeated impact, and I have not been putting enough emphasis on rest days in my schedule.
- Aim for no more than 1,500 to 1,750 total miles in 2013. Implementing item #1 above should automatically take care of my total yearly mileage, but I want to make sure and keep an eye on it anyway. Back when I was running an average of 4 marathons per year, without injury, my yearly mileage was in this range. It has only been since jumping up to 2000+ miles per year that the injury cycle has started. Maybe someday I can get back to 2000+ miles per year, but right now I need to be smarter about how much my body can handle.
- Utilize shoes with maximum cushioning for training runs of 10 miles or greater. My shoe of choice for almost any type of run has been the Saucony Kinvara. However, prior to 2012, I would almost always use the very cushy Nike Vomero for my Saturday long runs. I transitioned to using the less-cushioned Kinvara for all training runs in January 2012, and again 2012 was when the injury cycle got started. I don’t really want to go back to the Vomero, but am greatly intrigued by the new Adidas Energy Boost, which has an incredible amount of cushioning in a fairly light-weight shoe.
I’m sure there will be other changes to make, but I feel pretty good about this as a start. I just can’t wait to get back out there on the road and start working toward a great rest of 2013.
I got the work in, but oh how I hate aqua jogging! I started out with just over an hour on the elliptical before hitting the pool for just under an hour. So glad that my orthopedist is allowing me to do elliptical.
Also, thankfully today I only had to compete with water aerobics for about 10 minutes, which was nice. Those ladies absolutely own the pool.
Right now I’m enjoying an awesome ham & cheese omelet at Noshville Delicatessen, sitting at the counter next to country singer Vince Gill in his overalls. Typical day in Music City!
It’s only been one official day on the bench from running, but I can already tell that this time is going to be harder than my last stress fracture recovery. When the last one occurred I just chalked it up as a freak thing from pushing too hard in the final stages of my prep for the Milwaukee Marathon last year. Even though I was not able to run, I still had grand plans for 2013.
With this one, the circumstances are different, and my running future much more uncertain in my mind. I know that before I go back to setting goals and signing up for races, I’ve got to do some serious evaluation regarding my training. All of this has left me less than motivated to get out the door and cross train to maintain fitness.
However, my plan tomorrow is to do just that, and I’m thankful that this time around I’m not limited to things in the pool, but can incorporate elliptical, bike, and walking from the start. Also, even though this is disappointing, it is such a small thing in grand scheme of things. I’m so incredibly blessed, that I really have NOTHING to complain about.
I hope everyone that is still out there running will have a great weekend of training and racing. Keep “Beast Mode” going!