So it’s been almost 2 months and in that time, I think I’ve successfully determined the cause and treated the bulk of what’s been plaguing my hip since January (knock on wood!). After Boston, a friend suggested I schedule an appointment with Marty Mattox at Ultrahealth (http://www.ultrahealth.org/index.php). Within 5 minutes of our first meeting, she’d told me that my right SI joint (in my hip) was an inch lower than my left. I got on the treadmill and she noticed that my right leg was crossing over my left on my stride. She thought it was likely an issue with my right glute not firing, which was causing my hip to drop and put stress on my IT band which manifested in pain in my upper/inner thigh/hip. So we had some work ahead of us. She started me on a regime of glute strengthening exercises. The nice thing was that the hip seemed to have stabilized and wasn’t getting any worse with training, so I didn’t really have to back off too much on the hard days but I made sure to make the easy days very easy and take time off when needed. Koop and I worked out a plan to get me in the best shape we could for Dipsea and I started running workouts about 10 days after Boston, with just about 7 weeks until Dipsea.
While the workouts themselves usually went pretty well, I still felt compromised from the hip issue. There wasn’t a lot of pain during the workouts but the day after was usually quite uncomfortable and I was just really fed up with running in pain/discomfort. I ran the workouts hard and same some decent results, but I never really felt like I was truly up to speed at any point. That being said, I was still optimistic that Dipsea day would be good, as my leg steadily improved with the glute strengthening exercises and frequent appointments with Marty.
During the build to Dipsea, I ran Bay to Breakers with the West Valley centipede. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t think I ever want to run this race untethered. Too much fun. Plus, when I started dragging ass up the Hayes Street Hill (likely due to the workout I’d run the day before), I was very thankful for the cords and the towing that my teammates did. I contemplated dropping off in the park, but managed to stick with it and thankfully the helmet hid my pain face for the most part. Our team ran a great time, finishing a fairly close 2nd to the winning ‘pede. Strava data: https://www.strava.com/activities/577019570/overview
A couple weeks after B2B found me at Marin 10k. I had no Vo2 max workouts under my belt, so I expected it to hurt and hurt it did. I went out comfortably hard and held pace pretty well, but I never felt like I had that top end speed/gear that you really need to run a fast 10k (or 5k). I was pleased with the effort and knew that it would benefit me for Dipsea, but I was slightly concerned with the lack of speed in my legs. Granted, the race fell at the end of a particularly strenuous week, with 4 workouts in 7 days, but I still felt off. The hip held up pretty well, which was reassuring, though. Strava data here: https://www.strava.com/activities/593135822/overview
13 days after Marin 10k was the 106th Dipsea. I went into the race feeling pretty good and thought I had a good shot at running the fastest time, though it would be difficult with Rickey, Galen, and Gus all running pretty well in the weeks leading into the race. At least we all run for the Pelican Inn Track Club. Gus and I started our final year in the scratch group (hallelujah for a 1-minute handicap next year!) and were near the front of the group as we hit the stairs. We regrouped on the 3rd flight and I trailed Gus up to Windy Gap (8:10 to the 1 mile rock) and down through Muir Woods (15:00). He remained 20-30 meters in front of me for basically the whole climb up to Cardiac, during which I realized that my legs had absolutely no pop in them. I hit halfway rock in 9:20 (24:20 total) and knew I was in for a tough 2nd half of the climb and race. I managed to keep Gus within view and even closed a bit on him as we crested Cardiac (2nd half climb: 9:25 for 18:45 total climb – the slowest since I started keeping track in 2010). I think I saw Seb, Emily, Brett and Erika on the final push to Cardiac but couldn’t even bring myself to smile (but thanks for cheering!). Kim and Toph and a few others who are fairly hazy were at the top of the climb and it was great to hear some familiar voices. As we topped out and started the descent to the beach, I knew I was going to be unable to stay with Gus. He pulled away from me as we headed down towards the Swoop and I never saw him again, only hearing his trademark bike horn fading further and further into the distance.
I made my way around several people on the way down through Steep Ravine and knew it was a really tough day when I had trouble pulling away from a couple of masters guys on Panoramic. I came through the stile and saw no one on the road ahead of me until I made the 2nd to last left turn and saw Hans Schmid. I put my head down and went for it, nipping him right before the line to finish 13th in 50:52 (slowest time since 2009 and slowest Cardiac to beach time since I started keeping track). Strava data here: https://www.strava.com/activities/607318595/overview
The Dipsea truly is the only race where you can outkick a septuagenarian (or a 9yo kid) and not feel too bad about it. Don’t feel too bad for Hans, though, he’s won this race before and became the oldest person to win a black shirt J I hope to be running half as well as he is when I reach his age.
The Pelicans had 5 of the top 10 runners and the 5 fastest times on the day (and 11 out of 35 black shirts!). Together, Matias, Rickey, Galen, Gus, and Alan were our top 5 and brought home the team trophy. Here’s hoping I can break back into the team scoring next year 😛 All in all, it was a great day and despite my sub-par race, I walked away with a smile on my face and am already looking forward to next year.
Next up is a road mile on July 30 in San Rafael (https://raceroster.com/events/2016/9033/san-rafael-sunset-1-mile-and-criterium) and then probably the Headlands 50k in August. I’m hoping to get some good training in for Headlands, but honestly, the motivation is lacking a bit right now. Thankfully, I had almost no pain in my hip during the Dipsea and didn’t have any on my run last night, so I think once my brain realizes that running doesn’t hurt anymore, that may turn around. If not, it may just become a fun long run in preparation for cross country and a TBD goal race in the fall.