I've always been a planner. I love to make lists and set goals. I've even made it my career as a meeting planner. However, things don't always go as planned...
If you’ve been following me, you know I’ve been working hard this summer and fall, training for the Tucson Marathon, my 11th full marathon. There have been many long runs in the Arizona summer heat, but after several months, I felt like I was on track, and ready. I had gone as far as a 19 miler and felt good.
And then, as I was running my final leg in a Ragnar Trail race a few weeks ago (recap here), I took a fall where I sprained my ankle (then had to walk 4 miles on it to the finish line). The fall was just 4 weeks before my marathon.
When it first happened, I knew I would have to take it easy for awhile, but assumed that as long as I started back slowly, I could still run my marathon. I’m a positive person. I took an entire week off. I gave up my Runstreak – I made it 164 days in a row!!! Taking a week off was a big deal for me, but I knew it would be for the greater good of my recovery.
After a week, I started back super slow. I ran just .5 mile on my first time out, and it didn’t hurt! So the next day I went 1 mile. My ankle was still a little swollen and sore. I skipped my scheduled last 20 miler for the marathon. I waited 2 days and went for 1.5 miles. Then 2 more days and 2 miles. Slowly inching up. I was scheduled to run a 10k race at the end of that week.
All of a sudden my foot started showing more bruising and feeling stiffer. So I gave in and made an appointment with a physical therapist. During the time of feeling worse, I started to resign myself to the idea of not running the full. I dropped down from the 10k to the 5k of the race, thinking if I tried to run 10k I would end up walking part of it and it might not be a great idea. I’m so glad I did. The ankle felt good and I ended up with a surprise age group win without pushing myself too hard (it was an admittedly small field for the 5k so it’s not like I did anything super awesome)
Today was my 1st appointment with the PT. He wants to work on stretching my calf and ankle to increase my range of motion. He says that I have a very stiff joint. We did some deep tissue massage which felt good and hurt like crazy all at the same time. I did not specifically ask him if he thought that I could/should run a marathon in 10 days. However, once I told him that I could drop down to the half, he jotted some notes and seemed to make that our short term goal.
As of today, I’m feeling like I will need to drop down to the half marathon, but will make a final call closer in. I’m disappointed, but I guess in the grand scheme of things, I should just be grateful that I can run at all. There will be another full marathon somewhere in my future.
Thank you to everyone who has sent all their well-wishes with my injury and recovery. Somehow I managed to go 17 years as a distance runner without serious injury. It’s my time. This too shall pass.
When you think of people who do Ragnar races, do you think of people who are new to the sport? Um, probably not. You probably think of diehard crazy runners that do this stuff in their sleep. Well as a NON trail runner, I signed up for a Ragnar Trail race and I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking!
I’ve only run a few trail races in my running career this far, and the number of times I trained on a trail I can count on one hand. Yet here I was, all signed up to run 3 loops totaling 15.6 miles of rugged terrain, during the daytime and overnight.
I became obsessed with all things Ragnar after my experience running Ragnar del Sol last February. That’s one of the road races where you ride around in a van with your team. The trail series has you camping in one spot with your team and running a variety of color coded loops of varying difficulty.
I once again signed up to run with strangers (I knew one girl) and mentally prepared myself for the adventure. Actually, I was so busy over the summer training for a full marathon next month that I pushed to the side any worry about doing this race. My one goal: not to get hurt.
I am in complete awe of trail runners. They are so light on their feet and fly down these rocky technical sections with ease; whereas I slow down like an old granny and shuffle really slowly so I don’t fall. They aren’t intimidated by any type of terrain, and seem to thrive on inclines, declines and miniscule singletrack trail. I want to be one of those people, they make it look so easy.
So there I was at Ragnar. My team was part of a group of 3 teams that all knew each other. We all had a large campsite and had good camaraderie. I really enjoyed the setting of the village of tents and how everyone was so excited to be there
The village itself was pretty cool. It was like a little city popped up overnight. Every team had its own theme and fun name. There was a gift shop, mess hall, bonfires with smores and hot chocolate; they even showed a movie at night. But the one constant was the running. At any given moment, you had one runner from your team out on the course doing one of the 3 loops. It was kind of exciting when you’d head out on one of these loops, the course was so doggone pretty.
My first loop was yellow, rated "hard" and 4.8 miles I honestly did not know what to expect, I hadn’t read up much on the course itself. It was hard. There was a staggered start, our team started fairly early since we were slow. My leg was at 10:30 in the morning. Within 5 minutes I was starting this climb that was way tougher than I expected. It just kept going. Then there would be a big drop. I’m like “where is the runnable section going to be?” After about at mile or so it finally leveled off enough that I could run and not have to do my safety shuffle. Lots of up and down. Tougher than I expected. Was super happy to finish that 4.8 section in under an hour.
Then it was the longest wait EVER until my next loop. Like I said, our team was slow. One of our runners hurt her hamstring so she took even longer. As a result, my second loop came at around 9pm or so. It got really warm in the daytime (mid 80’s with direct sun) but by 5pm when the sun was setting, it dropped down to 55. It was pitch dark when I ran the nighttime leg. There was a thick blanket of stars which I could barely take my eyes off of. Thank the lord my night leg was the green one (rated EASY) and it was pretty FLAT. I could run the whole thing - 4.1 miles. It was chilly but pretty. My phone was pretty much out of juice and my garmin wasn’t cooperating so I just had to let go of worrying about how much farther I had to go.
Came back and tried to sleep, that didn’t work very well. It was so cold and still noisy with runners coming in and out. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and sat with some of the other teammates in our area. The only good thing about us running so far behind was that my final leg which was originally scheduled for around 3am was now taking place at 830, in broad daylight, hooray! It was great to see the sunrise on the mountain.
I headed out for my final loop with WAY too many layers on from nighttime. Honest to God, I had 2 pairs of pants on, a long sleeved shirt and 2 jackets, plus gloves. Within 5 minutes I was regretting not taking more off before I left. The route started out the same as my overnight loop, and then took a detour heading up the side of a mountain. I started walking intermittently, it was just too steep to run. This was rockier than the other loops. It was also the longest, 6.6 miles. This trail was singletrack for the first half of the race. It was hard when people wanted to pass you.
So there I was, breaking into a light jog down a slightly rocky section, thinking to myself how lucky I was that I hadn’t gotten hurt out on the course at all. And that’s when it happened. All of a sudden I was on the ground, the wind knocked out of me. I was facing the other way on the trail, and felt a little dizzy and disoriented all of a sudden. My right ankle was jacked and so was my left knee. I was only 2.5 miles into my 6.6 mile run. I made myself get up and I felt pretty awful. I left out a big groan (no one was around) and told myself I’m going to have to walk the remaining 4 miles to the finish, like it or not. I felt like I was going at a snails pace, hobbling along. I’d have to shuffle to the side to let the occasional runner pass. The last few miles were pretty flat and scenic. I was actually kind of pissed that I didn’t get to enjoy running on that trail. Instead, I did the walk of shame. I took me nearly 2 hours to go that 6.6 miles, I could have ran a half marathon in that same amount of time. At least I was able to finish!
I made it back to camp, got some breakfast and headed to the medical tent. They gave me ice for my sprained ankle and cleaned up my knee gash. The rest of the morning was spent elevating my leg and celebrating with my team while we waited for our final runner. Beer and shots were flowing! Then it was time to bring in our runner and cross the finish line as a team. i even earned a special double medal for doing both AZ Ragnars! So, while you may not see me at any more trail races any time soon, I enjoyed the experience as a whole, it has a cool vibe. I’m still on the DL from my fall, but I hope to be back at it very soon!
"Disclaimer: I received a Transition Towel from OrangeMud to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
I couldn’t believe my luck when I found out I was going to get to test out the OrangeMud Transition Towel. It was literally the one thing I knew that I was going to ask my husband to get me for Christmas. I drive to my long runs on the weekends and my car seats, especially in the dead of summer get soaked really fast. And, on those exceptionally sweaty (think 95 degree) mornings in the Arizona summer, I need to get those drippy shorts off immediately and don’t want to sit in that wetness for the drive home.
Transition Towel is the perfect solution for both of these problems. I can discreetly, even in a parking lot, change out of wet shorts, by wrapping the towel around me. The towel has a special notching where someone of any size can secure it around their chest or waist and change clothes without it slipping
But wait, there’s more! The towel has a zipper that allows it to form into a “hood” to slip over the back of your drivers seat and stay put. The towel is long enough and wide enough to cover the entire seat, even in my suv.
In the meantime I have found many other uses for my beloved towel. I used it as my pillow, changing towel and comfy blanket at the Ragnar Trail race, and even my dog likes to snuggle with it.
OrangeMud and BibRave are giving you 15% off all gear with code “BIBRAVE”! I’m pretty sure I need to pick up a hydration pack while I’m at it. Or maybe that’s my Christmas gift?!!
"Disclaimer: I received a pair of 2XU MCS Run compression tights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
When I found out I was getting the chance to try compression tights, I was very excited. I have only recently jumped on the compression bandwagon, but I am hooked.I tried them on and they were snug, but not overly tight.
The key to what makes them so special is the MCS technology - Muscle Containment Stamping. It's a unique "fabric stamping" that actually grips your leg muscles and tendons where you need it in both the front and the rear for added compression and to increase performance.
I took them to Chicago and wore them after I ran the Fox Valley Half Marathon. I was jumping on a plane a few hours after the race (never a great idea!) but they felt fantastic for both post-race compression and flying for a few hours!
I have only used compression for recovery, not for actively running or racing. I went out for a spin with fellow BibRave Pro @runblogaz and although it was a little warm to be running in them (it was late September in Arizona), and found them to be were definitely comfortable for running.
I’m in the final stages of marathon training so the mileage is really getting up there. I wore them again post-16 mile run and they helped me recover. They’ve been through the wash a few times, and held up great. The only test left to do is to wear them racing this winter, and see if they truly can help me increase speed. I highly recommend these tights for recovery and looking like a rockstar!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!