I just faxed in my entry for the Brewers Mini Marathon on Sept. 22. "Mini Marathon" is a cute way of saying half-marathon, or 13.1 miles. Which, to date is, 2.8 miles longer than I've ever run in my life.
I wasn't sure if wanted to do this (and honestly, I'm still not sure), but since OnMilwaukee.com is a media sponsor, and well, this is my beloved Brewers, it felt like the perfect storm.
Even though I might wind up in last place, this race is very important to me.
You might recall that last summer I had a microdiscetomy, back surgery to repair a herniated disc at the L5-S1 region of my spine. At that point, I had been suffering though sciatica for nine months, and even though I muddled through the Rock N' Sole 10K, I was beginning to limp badly.
Problem is, the surgery didn't solve my problems. Actually, it fixed my disc, but my symptoms remained – although they moved south into my butt and hamstring. Many more MRIs, followed by physical therapy, massage and anti-inflammatory, trigger point injections didn't fix the pain. The only thing that's helped, amazingly, is running.
While no one knows what's wrong with me – the current guess is either Piriformis Syndrome or High Hamstring Tendonitis – the experts agree that if running helps, I should do it.
Still, the farthest I had ever run was 8.1 miles, and that was three summers ago. Since the surgery, I was afraid to push past three.
But, on April 14, I ran five miles. On May 19, I pushed it to nine. Then, last Friday, I mapped a route close to my house and ran 10.3 slow miles without walking. My knees, feet and calves stung, but oddly, my back and my butt did not. I decided to sign up.
I've never been a fast runner, but before the injury, I could do the Storm the Bastille around 31 minutes and Al's Run in under 55 minutes. I have no such illusions for September. What little speed I had is gone, and now I'm "running" 12 minute miles, if I'm lucky. In other words, it's unlikely I'll finish this half marathon in under 2:30. But even if I finish in last place, I vow to finish.
Unfortunately, I don't have the free time I need to execute a proper half-marathon training program, so my plan is to do at least one long run and one short run a week, and more where I can squeeze it in. I don't know how this will affect my butt pain, but I just know that right this second, I'm feeling better than I did a month ago. We'll see how it goes.
And, by the way, I have no aspirations to run any longer distances. If I survive this run, you won't see me blogging about gearing up for an actual marathon.
I'd say this is more than enough.
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