The time has come! This Friday, we depart in our van with four other people and begin our RAGNAR adventure. We’ve spent the last four or five months training (with a half marathon squeezed in there, too) and at last, we are heading to Boston.
Am I nervous? Absolutely. In fact, I am incredibly nervous. I’ve never really run at night before and my second run is likely to start around 11 pm EST. The good news is I’ve run in the dark plenty of times–as a die-hard morning person, those 5 a.m. marathon training runs were some of my favorites–but my body happily starts shutting down around 9 p.m. Instead, I’ve got to convince my body to run five miles after running eight miles a mere 12-ish hours before that. I guess it does take a bit of crazy to want to compete in this sport.
The bigger worry on my mind is my left hip. I went all-out at our half-marathon back in April and I fear that I elevated a dull, nagging injury into a serious, prolonged injury. I took a solid two weeks off from running after that race, which is not normal for me, but it still didn’t fix the sharp pain in my hip joint. My nights and most morning are filled with yoga and deep stretches, but even so, the pain has persisted these past four weeks.
The only good news is that I went to see a physical therapist for a quick evaluation two weeks back, and it sounds like I have severe inflammation. That’s good news, honestly! It means nothing is torn or strained so I can keep using my leg even though it hurts. In other words, no diagnosis to stop running altogether. I was told that it can’t get any worse than it is, so even though I’ll be brutally sore during RAGNAR I won’t permanently damage myself. Reassuring, right?
I’m also pretty sure I’ve narrowed down the exact source of my pain. I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint it without the help of my almost-daily yoga sessions; I’m really glad I’ve found the time for yoga on my own as a result of this fiasco. For curious minds, I think my hip adductors are too weak and pulling my gluteus medius out of whack; my hip joint is strained to one side instead of centered in my socket.) Now that I have some ideas for how to treat and minimize the pain I’m having, I feel like I’m on the right, but slow, track to recovery. I’ll be implementing these stretches and poses as often as possible during RAGNAR, but it may be hard to manage in a van with five other people.
Running with an injury is something I’ve only dealt with once before: when I had IT band issues in my left knee (same leg, for you savvy readers). It was around six years ago when I was also heavily training for marathons and races back-to-back. It’s disheartening to think that I’m not cut out for real endurance training, at least not with my current training and recovery regimens. Granted, I know I should take more time to roll out, stretch, and decompress after every run, but it’s hard to convince myself of that in the moment. It’s much easier to tell myself that I need to hustle off to work or finishing packing my lunch. I’ll figure it out someday, and hopefully not before it’s too late.
Aside from those few lingering worries, I am super excited to participate in RAGNAR. Never has an event pushed me so far outside my comfort zones. I love my consistent sleep schedule, running in the morning instead of at night, and taking hot showers after a run. None of these luxuries are offered up in the bustle of RAGNAR. Fingers crossed for a shower after my second run, but we probably won’t roll into the hotel until 3 a.m. or so. I’m sure that showering will be the very last thing on my mind.
After RAGNAR, Sam and I are going to chill in Provincetown with our team members for a night and then spend three and a half days in Boston. The last time I was in Boston, I think I was two or three years old. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this city, and I can’t wait to explore it for a few days.
It’s always so peculiar traveling to other metropolitan cities now that I live in Chicago. Before, when I’d travel from my northern Michigan hometown, everywhere felt so big and busy and exciting. Now, when I visit new places from my home in the third largest city in the USA, I think about how adorable, friendly, and quaint these places are. I felt this both in Milwaukee and Ann Arbor recently, and I’m curious to see how my mind responds to Boston.
If you want to follow along on our adventure, I hope to post on Instagram and I’ll definitely be snapchatting (user: mstych) the whole crazy adventure. I’m runner #7 and Sam is runner #8. I hope to string my snaps together into some short videos when I return, too, so keep your eyes open for that! In the meantime, please keep your fingers crossed for us to have a safe, fun, and downright badass RAGNAR!