Friday, August 19, 2011

The dreaded IT Band injury!

I'm back!!  Did you miss me?  (P.S. the correct answer is "yes!"). 

Ok, now that we have that straightened out, I have lots to talk about.  But I may split it up into two shorter posts.

First:  The Chicago Rock N' Roll Half Marathon, August 14, 2011

I was pretty excited to do this half marathon last weekend.  This half was the first I had done back in 2006 (when it was called the Chicago Distance Classic).  My time back then was 2:55:55.  I was thrilled to break the 3:00 mark for my first half marathon!

I have done this same run every year except for 2007 (because I hurt my knee that year).  So I have a special place in my heart for this one.  It's a hard half to do because it's in August and the last two years have been brutally hot!   I also run this half for the charity group UPS for DownS.  Click here if you would like to donate.  I have been running for them for about 4 years now.

Anyway, this half is super early in the morning.  The run starts at 6:30 a.m. and it's in the city.  This means I have to get up at 4:30 a.m.

This year, I had a wedding to go to the night before.  It was my co-worker's wedding.  My goal was to limit myself to 2 (count them...2!!!) drinks and leave my 10:00 p.m.   That didn't quite happen.  I had 2 glasses of champagne before sitting down, 2 vodka and juice drinks (1 before and 1 after dinner), 2 glasses of red wine during dinner and later a martini.  Whoops!!  And we didn't even get done eating dinner until 9:55!  How was I supposed to leave at 10:00!  So I set another limit to leave by 11:00.  I finally dragged myself out of there at midnight!!  Whoops (again!).  I just had such a good time that I didn't want to leave.

I got home at 1:00 a.m. and went to bed at 1:30 a.m. and subsequently got up for the half at 4:30 a.m. to leave the house by 5:00 a.m.!  Wow!  That's right.  For those mathematically challenged, that's 3 hours of sleep!

But I got down to the half.  The weather was perfect!  It's was cooler and less humid than normal.  We took a group photo and off I went.

My charity group. I am second row, second from right.
 The weather was overcast and looked like it might rain.  And it did but it only sprinkled a little so it wasn't too bad for for the run.

The problem?  Around mile 7, I noticed my IT band (it run from your hip down your leg) was starting to give me a little pain.  I tried to stretch it out and then kept running.  By mile 8, it started to really hurt!  A million things went through my head: 

Oh no, not an injury! 
Keep running! 
I'm training for a marathon, I can't get hurt!
Just make it to the next water break and then stop and walk or stretch it out again.
I don't think I can finish this half!
I have 5 miles left!
Should I walk the last 5 miles?
I want to beat my previous best time!

I ran to the next water break after mile 9 and the pain was pretty bad at that point.  I knew I didn't want to injure myself bad because of the marathon training, but I didn't want to give up on my favorite half marathon!

I took a lot of time between mile 9 and 10 and tried to stretch.  It didn't seem to help.  And when I got to mile 10 and looked at the clock, I lost 1.5 minutes on my pace that mile!  I was so upset and disappointed.  There was NO WAY I was going to be my old best time for half marathons!

I suffered through the remainder of the run.  I think I ran the rest of the time.  I had set a goal in the beginning to stop at every other water station to hydrate (since I drank the night before).  And I kept that goal up. 

With the last two miles, I looked at the clock and it appeared that if I kept about a 10 minute mile pace the last two miles, I probably could beat my time.  I wasn't sure on the time because my garmin wasn't working properly at all!  But 10 minute mile pace with a pain in my leg seemed brutal!

At the finish stretch, I looked at the time and halled ass!!  (Sorry for the language, but it's true!).  I sprinted as hard as I could trying to make every second count!

And guess what?.....I finished and I got a new PR!!  My old best time was 2:14:11 and my time for this half was 2:13:31! 

My feelings were two fold:  First, I was thrilled that I got a PR with the injury that I had!  BUT...I was disappointed because I think about the 1.5 minutes I "wasted" on that mile between 9-10 and the fact that if I weren't injured, I may have come in under 2:10!

But I tried not to be too upset and give myself some joy over the new PR! 

Here are a few pictures of my friend and her son Josh with me after the run (I look horrible and it was raining).  They were the reason I started running for this charity group.

Later that evening, I had to go on my work trip (more on this trip in the next post).  Monday, my IT band was still hurting pretty bad.  It hurt when I walked and when I went up stairs. 

Because I'm part of a running group through CARA (Chicago Area Running Association), we get free injury advice from a group called Nova Care.  I called their injury hotline number and told the lady my issues.  I told her my foam roller was at home and I'm on a business trip.  I asked if there were any stretches I could do to help with this injury.  I also asked her if it would be ok to run on the treadmill at the hotel to continue training for the marathon.  I didn't want to further injury myself.

She gave me some stretches and emailed me some information.  She said with the stretches and strength stuff, I should be able to run.

I did continue my runs this week.  I was supposed to do 4 miles, 8 miles, 4 miles.  I did that all except I cut the 8 miles to 6 miles.  I cut it, not because of the injury but mostly because I hate running on the treadmill and it was pure torture!!  Haha!

This weekend is 16 miles.  This is the most I have ever run and I'm a little nervous.  I can't run with my training group so Mike, my personal trainer, said he would run with me.  But I stalked looked at Mike's facebook and it appears that he hurt his back so I'm not sure if he will be able to run.  If he doesn't, I almost don't know how I will make it through 16 miles!  I will keep you posted on that run!

Have any of the runners in the group here ever had an injury?  Did you keep training or did it sideline you?


  1. Amanda, Amanda, Amanda....Did you not learn from my training? :-) You trying to follow my plan? heehee
    Remember I injured my IT Band during Marathon training...during a half marathon and also getting a PR.

    First, congrats on the PR...Awesome
    Second, great job being able to rock out the runs.
    Third, take care of the leg. Foam roller...Stretch....Ice

    Don't put added stress on the run this weekend. What happens, happens. If Mike can't make it, you will still rock it out.
    The things that you can't control will take care of itself.

  2. YES! I suffer from ITBS the absolute best thing I can recommend is ART (active release technique) its been a life saver. I tried all the at home stuff and was still in pain. Google ART and you can find a doctor in your area that does it.

    Congrats on the PR

  3. I've had to the dreaded ITBS stuff and have relied on foam roller, stretches and the last one I had to go to the DR and got a wonderful thing call a Flector Patch It seriously was WONDERFUL. My pain went away overnight with it.

    Congrats on the PR! I did see few UPS for DownS at the half on Sunday. Great cause!

  4. Thank you everyone for the suggestions!!

    lol Dave!

  5. Great job on your PR even with your injury - woot! I have no suggesions for you sadly, the longest I run is 5k! :D