Jan 25, 2015

I Finally Have Some Answers!

I finally have some answers as to what is causing the pain in my left knee. I am also relieved that I don't have what I would consider an "injury" that I brought on by running or doing something dumb. I am very grateful that nothing is torn and all ligaments and tendons appear to be intact. I have what is called a Baker's cyst behind my knee. This is basically what it is:


What is a Baker's cyst?

Baker's cyst is a pocket of fluid that forms a lump behind the knee. A Baker's cyst is caused when excess joint fluid is pushed into one of the small sacs of tissue behind the knee. When this sac fills with fluid and bulges out, it is called a cyst. The excess fluid is usually caused by conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis that irritate the knee. It may also be caused by an injury. Sometimes the pocket of fluid behind the knee can tear open and drain into the tissues of the lower leg. This can cause swelling and redness in that part of the leg. A Baker's cyst may go away on its own. If a cyst does not go away, or if it is causing a lot of pain, your doctor may drain the fluid with a needle. (source)

I have been in physical therapy for two months now and it seems to be helping. My doctor is hoping that the cyst will shrink on it's own or else he will have to drain it. I am trying to avoid that because I hate needles. I am thinking that I will have another MRI to confirm that the cyst is shrinking or if the pain goes away then I will know that it has and it will not be necessary.
I have been able to run while in physical therapy because I have not had pain while running. There are times that I still have the knee pain but it is always the day after. I also noticed that running hills also irritates my knee so I am trying to avoid hills as much as possible. I am going to continue to run but I have to take it easy for a while since anything over a 9:00 pace seems to trigger the pain the next day.

Running has been different lately. It hasn't been about pace at all but simply being grateful to run and accepting it for what it is. Having said that, I have decided that I am going to run the Surf City Half Marathon on Superbowl Sunday. I am thinking about completing the Beach Cities Challenge again because the medal is super nice.
I am not sure what to expect and I am going into this without a time goal. I know it will not be a PR but I will set a goal to finish the race. I know that I will get back to running the paces that I was before this knee problem so I have accepted that and I am looking forward to getting back into it when my time is right.

Who else is running Surf City next Sunday?

Half or Full Marathon?

Jan 11, 2015

1/10/15: Citrus Heritage Run Half Marathon

So I finished my first race of 2015 but the truth is that I almost didn't. I had all intentions of running this race but as race day approached I started feeling like I didn't have it in me to finish it. The longest distance I had ran in the last couple of months was 9.5 miles and those miles were at a really easy pace due to my knee issue. I do have some answers on that but I will talk about that in another post.

I woke up on race day and told my other half that I wasn't going. He said "Yes you are. Get ready. Just treat this as a training run and do what you can." I figured that he was right so I got dressed and out the door we went.

I ran this half last year and I really liked it. It is a local race, offers same day bib pick-up, long sleeved shirts, super nice medal, free parking, real bathrooms and a course is a little challenging. It is a small race but it is well organized and I think I only paid a $50 registration fee for signing up right after I ran it last year. The race director happens to run with my running club so I wanted to support her as well by signing up.

Bib pick-up started at 6:30 am so we arrived right at 6:30 am. I picked up my bib and my shirt and then went back and sat in my car since it was 46 degrees.  The parking is super close to the start so it was nice to actually be able to go back to the car and stay warm until it was time for the race to start.

The event offers a 5K and a half marathon. The half marathon started at 7:30 am and the 5K started at 8:30 am. I saw Megan when I arrived at the start and then I lost her. I started towards the back of the pack and once I started running I spotted Megan. She was running faster than I had planned on running so it took me a bit to finally catch up to her. The girl is getting faster and I can see that she is become a stronger runner! We stayed together for 12 miles of the race and talked the entire time. It was nice catching up with her and having some company. This girl is down to earth and is the real deal so I kind of like her.

I think it was right around Mile 7 that Megan noticed that we were about .4 miles ahead of the mile markers. I thought someone had moved one of the mile markers but I found this out after the race. 
Last year I picked the race up at exactly 13.1 and the course was the same this year so the extra distance kind of messed up our time. I guess we did better than we thought we did :) Megan had already ran a few miles before the race to get her marathon training miles in so we were both decided to stay in comfortable mode. The course is challenging but I like that it offers all different types of terrain. We ran in the dirt, trail, sidewalks and streets so mixing things up was kind of nice.

The last 2 miles of the race are a straight stretch and I just wanted to be done. I ran the last mile or so of the race on my own to see what I had left in the tank. I counted about 8 runners directly ahead of me and I told myself to try and pass as many of them as I could. This kept me distracted and helped me get to the finish. It felt good to finish the race strong.

I finished in 2:07:18 but with the extra distance I think my overall pace was a little better than 9:43.

My Garmin shows the following so I am going with this :)

The spinning medal is so nice! I am so glad that I decided to run this race because I was able to run it with a friend and sometimes that is better than a PR! Thank you Megan for letting me tag along and putting things in perspective. I will definitely be back to run this race again next year.

Have you ran any races in 2015?

What is your favorite distance?

Jan 8, 2015

2014: Running and Monthly Highlights

The year started out great and then kind of went south in the end of the year. I did manage to run a total of nine races which included two marathons, four half marathons, one Relay, one 8K and one 5K.  I had an instant PR in the 8K distance because it was first time racing the distance!
My goal was to run 1400 miles and I missed it by a long shot with only 1187 miles. This knee pain really set me back in the end of this year and I knew that I could no longer focus on the miles. I had to shift my focus to getting myself back out there which meant not running and taking care of my knee. It sucked and it was hard but there is no other way to do it. I have learned that over the years and I have promised myself that I will not repeat mistakes of the past.

I also wanted to share some of the highlights of my year. Some were good and were not so good but they were still memorable parts of my year. I have so many things to be thankful for and life is what we make of it, right?

January started out great. I had a record mileage week to start off the year. I don't run a lot of miles so a 40 mile week is pretty decent for me.

February was the month and I had my big shoe dilemma. My beloved Mizuno Wave Inspire 9's were history and I could not find anything else like them again. It was very depressing. I still think about them.

In March I ran my fifth marathon. It was the toughest marathon that I have ran by far but I managed to run it in under 4 hours. I learned a lot about myself during this marathon.

April was the month that I was reunited with my Mizuno Wave Inspire 9's. I still have a pair of them and I have actually been wearing them lately. 

In May I celebrated Mother's Day with my family. I am blessed to be loved so much by my daughter and my son.  I still had my hair in this picture!

In June I paced my running buddy to a half marathon PR of 12 minutes. She wanted to run a sub-two half and she did it! It felt great to see her so excited about her accomplishment.

July was a record mileage for me. I took on the Big Foot Challenge and ran 150 miles in July.

August was the month that I joined a running club. I am so glad I finally joined after thinking about doing it for so long. 

September was the month that I volunteered at a race for the first time. It was such a great experience to be on the other side of things. 

In October I ran a marathon with my running buddy again and paced her to a marathon PR. This was the best feeling ever!

November was the month that I got incredibly brave and cut off all of my hair and donated it. I like it so much better and I don't regret it at all.

December was bittersweet. My Dad's PET scan showed that his cancer is improving but then I lost my Roxy girl to cancer in the same month.

What were the highlights of your year?

Jan 5, 2015

My Plans for 2015

I have been kind of holding off on making too many plans for 2015 because of my knee. I had an MRI on Sunday and I am hoping to get some answer soon. I am supposed to be running my first race of the year this Saturday but I am not quite sure if I am going to run it pending the results of the MRI.

I am not in any shape to race so if I am able to run it I will be taking it very easy. I don't like the idea but it is that or nothing at all. I would rather be running at my easy pace than not running at all. I don't have any pain while running which is why I have been given the okay to keep running. I have been keeping my runs in the single digits and the pain has been minimal the following day. My runs have been at my easy pace but I will take it over being completely sidelined which is kind of the worst feeling in the world at times.

As far as races, I have a few that I deferred last year for one reason or another so I am going to take care of those races this year. Here are the races that I have lined up so far:

April 10-11, 2015 So Cal Ragnar Relay

May 24, 2015: Mountains 2 Beach Marathon

June 6, 2015: Fontana Days Run

September 13, 2015: Ventura Half Marathon

I am also considering Phoenix in the end of February and Canyon City in November but I am holding off until I have the knee problem under control. I really dislike the feeling of registering for races and then having to sit them out. The pressure to run them anyway is just crazy!

I am also holding off on setting any big goals for 2015 but as soon as I have some answers I will sort it all out and see what I am physically capable of this year. I have to be patient and I am doing my best to get through this. I hope to get some good news this week so that I can set some goals and finalize my plans for 2015!

Do you have any big plans for 2015?

Jan 3, 2015

December: The Ups and Downs

December had it's ups and downs but I have to say that most of it was positive. Sometimes I tend to judge my life basEd on how running treating me because it is such a big part of my life and something I love to do. I have so many things to be thankful for and I want to share some of those things instead of focusing on the knee pain that I have been dealing with since late October.

I did not run a lot of miles in December but I am just thankful to be running again. I haven't talked much about this knee problem because I still don't know what the heck the problem is. I can say that it is getting better and I can run without much pain afterward. It used to be much worse so it is getting better. I am not 100% pain-free but I feel like I am 75% there. Progress is all that I can ask for right now. I have been taking it easy on my runs and not focusing on pace. I just have to put that aside for now and focus on getting my knee back to 100%.

Mileage for December was low since I have been keeping my runs in the single digits. That is just how is it is right now. I am looking forward to getting back on track and running with my running club again because I miss them. 

Christmas Eve was really sad because Roxy took a turn for the worse and we ended up at the emergency with her. Unfortunately we had to put her down because she stopped eating and was wasn't even able to keep water in her tummy. She became really weak and there was nothing more that we could do for her. It was tough putting her down at 11:41 pm Christmas Eve since we were then sitting in a room holding her and saying goodbye at the stroke of midnight when Christmas began. We miss her a lot but find comfort knowing that we did all we could do for her and she had a great life with us. 

There were also a lot of positive things that happened this month. My sister arrived on Christmas Day from South Carolina to visit for the holidays and we had a great time. I only see her once a year since her husband is in the Navy and they don't get to travel often. The timing was good because we were distracted and didn't think about Roxy 100% of the time. My three year old nephew is so cute and just makes us laugh non-stop. I especially love how he tells on himself when he does something wrong. 

I hosted my annual Christmas party with my family and we all had a lot of fun visiting and catching up. I am especially thankful that my dad is still here with us and is doing better than we could have ever hoped for. He recently had a PET scan and his cancer is stable. It has not improved but has not spread or gotten any worse. His blood work also shows improvement since his cancer number has gone from a 79 down to a 4! He is not cancer-free but we are very grateful for this Christmas gift that we have been given.

I also thankful that my grandma was able to spend Christmas with us. She will be 88 years old this year and is pretty healthy. The holidays are especially hard for her because she misses my grandpa even more during these times.

We stayed at home to ring in the New Year. I think I fell asleep on the couch with all of my dogs and my son and my niece woke me up right before midnight so I could celebrate with them. This is probably the only photo you will ever see of me in my glasses because I look pretty horrible in them. I am thinking of having Lasik eye surgery this year but I am super nervous about it!

I am excited about 2015 and all that it has in store for me! I am still working on my goals and race calendar for 2015. I am trying not to get too hard ahead of myself until I get this knee problem under control. I don't want to sign up for a bunch of races and not be able to run them. 

How was your Christmas and New Year celebration?

Have you set new goals and signed up for some races?