Pike Lake Trail Run

So as you all know, two weekends ago I was in Wisconsin celebrating Maddie’s wedding. Maddie is a runner too, and while we were at the rehearsal, she officially roped me into doing a half marathon trail run with her on Saturday, July 13th! It’s part of the Dances with Dirt series and it will be in Devil’s Lake, WI. Maddie did the race last year and prepped me on how difficult it was, but they had a ton of fun, so I’m really excited about it! It will be my first half ever, and it since I’ve attempted to get to a half two other times before, I’m hoping that the third time’s a charm!

Since I’ve been training almost exclusively on road, I decided that my 8 mile long run should be on a trail to help get myself back into the swing of trail running. Dan and my brother, Eric, and I were in Wisconsin again this weekend for my cousin Nicole’s wedding, so before the weekend I asked them to join me on my Sunday long run. Eric and I decided we should go back to Pike Lake State Park where we used to train for Cross Country in high school since we hadn’t run there in a long time.

We had almost too much fun at Nicole and Marty’s wedding on Saturday! There were quite a few mustaches to choose from in the photo booth…

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Then on Sunday, my brother and I got up bright and early to eat a hearty breakfast with our grandma before our run. We got to the trails around 10am and started off fast! Those boys have way longer legs than I do! After spending so many weeks (…or, should I say, just short of 2 years) running on flat Illinois roads, those trails were a wake-up call! Holy cow…they kicked our butts. It was sunny and 90 degrees outside, so it was pretty uncomfortable in the unshaded areas. Dan and Eric stopped at around 4 miles and I continued on to finish my 8. I wound up going out too far and my mileage ended up at 8.56, but overall I felt pretty good considering the change of terrain! I definitely have some work to do before I get to the half marathon!

Back to 5

Today my schedule had my long run mileage decrease again, which was nice after increasing for a few weeks in a row AND after a long weekend at a Relay For Life event. Despite being tired from the weekend, I felt great! I ran in the evening, around 6pm, so it was still about 83 degrees outside. This run was my fastest average time for a long run so far. After working hard, it’s nice to see some improvement in my times and runs! I ran in the wildlife refuge again, of course, so I had some very peaceful scenery to keep me entertained. It’s amazing how 5 miles doesn’t seem that long anymore!

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Running in WI!

This weekend was full of wedding festivities! Maddie and Mike had a beautiful wedding on Saturday and I was so lucky to be a part of it!

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Since I was in Wisconsin celebrating the first of two weddings this month, I was excited to be able to run there too! I stayed at Dan’s parents’ house, and they live in a pretty rural area with HILLS! Something we definitely do not have a lot of in Illinois!

Regardless, it is a great place to run. 🙂

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I was excited to run 7 miles on Sunday because Dan ran them with me! It’s great to have a running buddy sometimes. Miles 1 and 7 were the hardest (mostly because those had the largest hills) but I felt great inbetween!

Now I’m back in Illinois getting ready for my second Relay For Life event this month. Busy busy busy!

“Just keep running!”

Great news!

Today I saw a doctor who specializes in sports medicine to talk to her about my issues with the inside of my left knee. I tried to think positively, but as I sat in the waiting room, I only could imagine her telling me that I had to stop running.

When I got into the examination room, I told the doctor about my plans to run the Chicago Marathon. I also told her how important it was to me and how I was raising money for a great cause. We talked about my training schedule and my plans for the next 4 months. After that she did all kinds of tests…which was difficult since my knee didn’t actually hurt while I was there since it really only bothers me after running for a while.

Apparently, that was the good news! Basically, the muscles on the outside of my leg are stronger than the muscles on the inside of my leg, which is pulling my patella to one side when I run. That’s where the pain comes in, obviously! Nothing is torn and while I was thinking the worst and diagnosing myself with WebMD (i.e. “I’m sure my meniscus is torn in half”) it really has to do with muscle imbalance. My doctor set me up to do some physical therepy to help me learn some exercises to strengthen my muscles and balance everything out. Why didn’t I go sooner!? Lessen learned!

At the end of the appointment, my doctor said, “well, just keep running!” Best words I could’ve heard! I am counting my blessings. Today is a short run (only 3 miles) and I am more excited than ever to lace up my shoes!

Uh oh…

So, as I’ve told you all before, I have had a few issues with the inside of my left knee that began in the winter earlier this year. Yesterday, I ran my 6 mile long run and although I made it through, my knee was bothering me enough to get a little bit nervous about it again. During my run, which I took very easy, I stopped probably 4 times to reallllllly stretch. It seemed like that helped a lot and each time I started to notice my knee, I would stop, take my time, and stretch it out.

Despite my slight issue, my run was beautiful.
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Needless to say, I decided it was time to call in the professionals. I made an appointment for Wednesday with a doctor who specializes in sports medicine. I am hoping for some promising news, so keep your fingers crossed for me!