Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2 years later...

Two years ago (technically November 25, 2014, but it was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving), I partially tore my ACL playing soccer. I didn't get the official diagnosis until late January, but with my huge trip out west in June, I held off officially training for soccer until after I got back and targeted the fall season as my reintroduction to soccer. 8 focused weeks of rehab later, I was cleared to go back to playing full-contact soccer. Three days later, I was playing Sunday pick-up soccer and got a good hour or so in before I re-injured my knee. With just a week and a half before I headed to New Mexico for the Ragnar Trail Angel Fire (and then on to Oregon for the Hardesty Hardcore), I was back in the physical therapist's office Monday hoping for good news.

Needless to say, the therapists were surprised to see me when I hobbled back in. I spent three days in rehab that week and another the next week. Luckily the injury wasn't as bad as the first time and with the therapy, I was able to run both races. In the 15 months since I tried going to back to soccer, I definitely miss it. I'm still involved managing the Charlotte Women's Soccer League, but it's not the same as being out on the field.

I've had a few times when my knee has been sore after running, especially if the road is banked and the right side is higher for long periods of time, but for the most part, the only thing my injury has impacted is my ability to play soccer and my willingness to try things like trampoline dodgeball (where was this before I got injured?!).

I had been starting to do more running prior to my injury, but it has definitely impacted my training schedule. I used to play soccer 4-5 times a week, so I would never do any short "runs" during the week because I was always playing soccer and getting mileage and sprinting in that way. I still haven't adjusted to not having scheduled games during the week to keep me active, so one of the biggest changes as I start planning for my 2017 races is that I really need to focus on my runs during the week. Just running on the weekends isn't going to cut it next year.

Most of last year I did half marathons for fun and to explore new places, so I didn't really push myself hard during the races, but running three marathons this year (especially the last two) showed me that I  need to focus more on my actual training and not just signing up for the fun races! I already know that I've got an early-season marathon (Blue Ridge Marathon on April 22) that promises to be even harder than the Grandfather Mountain Marathon I did this year. I'd also like to break the 2 hour mark in the half marathon. I came close when I ran the Scream in 2014, finishing in 2:03 and this year I did the Charlotte half marathon in 2:08. The Charlotte race hurt, but I definitely think if I train for a 2 hour half, breaking that mark is certainly within my reach.

I'm not sure what all will be on tap for 2017, but I'm ready to start planning!

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