Cherry Blossom Race Report
Many months ago, I signed up for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler believing I’d be healthy enough to race by April. Last year I worked at the Cherry Blossom expo for PowerBar and I loved the local enthusiasm for the race. It’s a rite of spring passage in DC. Unfortunately, due to my injury, I wasn’t able to run the 10 miler. I did do the 5k run walk though. Brett did the 10 miler and killed it…1:08:0x and 600th/17,000 runners (top 3.5%) And he’s just started training again. If I’m being precise, he’s been running for about 1 month after taking several months off.
My latest update about my hamstring/sciatic nerve isn’t very detailed. After the PRP lysate, things seemed slightly better, but I was still in quite a bit of pain. So I consulted my PT and physiatrist about our next steps. Dr. Victor told me he wanted me to get a MRN (Magnetic resonance neurography). MRN is the direct imaging of the nerves in the body. It is similar to an MRI, just specific for nerves. Due to the rarity of this imaging, I have to wait until I can be seen at Johns Hopkins. And there seems to be a waiting list. Meanwhile, my PT has started working on the piriformis and doing other manual therapy trying to see if they’ve missed something.
This injury seems to be the never ending injury. We think we figure something out, yet what we think it is, turns out to not be it. Mentally I’ve been breaking down. Those that have injuries know what it’s like to feel helpless or have no outlet for their stress. I’ve tried very hard to stay positive during this ordeal, but realistically, I can’t beat myself up for starting to feel negative after 1+ years of unknown injury. I have accepted that I’m human and it’s ok to feel helpless, scared and frustrated and not feel positive all the time. Positivity is key though, and I’m going to do something about my emotional energy. I’m going to try Raiki. Raiki is a Japanese form of energy healing where the practitioner lays their hands on you or above you and helps to move any stuck energy. I’ll let you guys know in a later post what that’s about and how it goes. I’m very excited and I do think there is a place for both eastern and western medicine in the world today.
While I wait to get the MRN, my PT decided it was time to push the leg a bit. So, he had me run .1 mile and then walk .1 of a mile on the treadmill for a total of 1 mile, or .5 of a mile of running. Running might be an overstatement as I believe I was going 11:30-12min miles. It was a jog for sure. I couldn’t believe that after all this time, I was actually moving faster than a walk…..It was liberating. So, 2 days after my PT visit was the Cherry Blossom. And he said I could walk 4 min, run 1 min. And I did!!!
Race day morning we were up at 4:30am to get breakfast (2.5 hours pre-race and it was a white bagel with honey and a banana-simple digestible carbs). It’s about an hour drive to DC at that time from Baltimore. We left at 5:30am so we could make sure to get a spot. Tidbit: parking in DC is free on Sunday’s, you just have to find a spot. We did thank goodness. I was a bit stressed about that. I’m going to leave my spot a secret, but I had scoped it out a few days before.
The weather was beautiful, in the 40’s and 50’s with sun. The cherry blossoms were a week or more late, but we found a few trees starting to bloom. My PT and our friend Stevie was running, but we didn’t see either. It was a perfect day to run among the monuments in the mall. Brett might have been going to fast to enjoy them, but I certainly had time to. The race had 17,000 runners in the 10miler, then a few thousand in the 5k. The 10 miler race is a wave start, and the lead runners take off at 7:30am, while the rest of the group is out by 8:15am. The 5k took off at 8:40am, so I actually got to see Brett finish. He started at 7:30am, so I literally saw him run by as I was walking to my starting line. He looked fast!
I placed myself in the back of the 5k knowing that I would walk the majority of it. I’m so competitive and used to being competitive, that I had to remind myself that pushing it would or could cause more injury. So, I held back. Normally I’m very talkative before a race, it calms me down. But it felt so strange to be waiting for a race to start, when I wouldn’t be racing it. I felt very inside myself. No Garmin, just a stopwatch to watch the minutes go by was what I used. I knew that I would have to start by jogging as I knew even though I wanted to go easy, crossing the starting line walking just wasn’t going to work. I then promptly slowed down, making sure that I wasn’t in anyone’s way.
Every morning Rogue and I walk 3 miles, so I knew how long it would take me, or how long it would feel. Normally I find someone and pick them off. This time, I focused on staying positive, telling myself that it was ok that I was walking, to look at everyone else around me walking and having a great time, and to enjoy the moment. And I did. When I got to run my 5th minute, it felt very freeing. And even though I wanted to keep going, I stopped after the minute. My hamstring ached every time I ran, but my typical glute pain wasn’t around. That felt awesome.
When I saw the finish line ahead, I knew I would run though it. I also knew my tendency would be to sprint. That was a definite no-no. So, I waved to Brett and Lorraine (my mother in law visiting from Oregon) and crossed the line somewhere in the 42min range. I could care less about my time, I was overjoyed that I was able to run 8 minutes or almost 1 mile! After grabbing a banana (not enough for anyone racing a race, but fine for me having mainly walked a 5k) we headed for home. Brett had been done for quite some time and was getting cold. Even with his space blanket.
Even though I can’t call this a real race or an actual race report, I can say that I ran 8min, which is a lot longer than I have run in quite some time. I’ve very positive that the Raiki will help get my mind back in the right direction, and that I’ll get the MRN to see if something is wrong with my nerves. I’m still scared that they can’t find the source of my pain, but I’m accepting the fact that I can’t control this, that everything happens for a reason, and I will again be back to a competitive arena soon.