Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Might as well...

"Girl, Interrupted" is the title of my running blog that I maintain via www.halhigdon.com (plug for the V-Boards there).  However, most of my family and friends do not access the V-Boards, and thus I thought I'd make a hybrid blog which could be followed by one and all (or, as is more likely the case, hardly anyone!).  This will be a hybrid blog of sorts--training and life.  I think you'll find that training is a large part of my life.  I'm 28 years old and I have two children.  Amelia is 8 and a half and Rowan is 5 months.  I am a nurse--an RN with a Master's Degree (Clinical Nurse Specialist).  I'm finishing my PhD in nursing science and am scheduled to defend my dissertation in October of this year.  I teach part-time at the IU School of Nursing in Bloomington.  I love, love, LOVE teaching nursing students as well as conducting behavioral research.

This initial post will be mainly running-related, in order for those who don't know me well to get their bearings.  The title of this blog needs a bit of explanation.  While it refers to one of my favorite movies, it also refers to my sordid past with running.  I began running about 2.5 years ago.  I've always kept fit, but until I began getting chronic back injuries doing aerobics, I never ran.  Well, that's not totally true--I sprinted my junior year in high school.  Never put much effort into it.  I had gone to the cross country meeting that same year interested in joining the team, but was told by the coach that I was a sprinter and should run track, not cross.  So, I listened to her.  Big. Mistake.  For both of us.  Anyway--much later in my life I did a lot of aerobics.  My back didn't like that, though.  I was getting really frustrated being injured from the aerobics, so I decided to try something new.  Why not run?  Everyone else in my family does.  My dad has become somewhat of a local running legend (not for extreme speed--sorry dad--but because he's been actively racing in and around southern Indiana for many, many years), my brother Wes, and my brother Michael used to.  I joined a gym in Bedford.  They had a treadmill.  I started running 10 minutes at a time.  I remembered that I used to hear my dad talk about running an 8 minute pace on his easy days.  I vowed never to go more slowly than that.  I figured out what mph correlated to that, and set the treadmill to it.  7.5 mph for 10 minutes--nearly killed me the first few times.  I added time each week, until, only four weeks after I had begun the treadmill adventure, I was logging 50 miles a week on the thing.  50 quickly turned to 60...then to 70+ with speedwork.  I got fast.  My first ever 5K, after only having been running 5 weeks, was a 20:23.  Two months later I PR'd at the Persimmon Festival 5K with a 19:06.  And I won.  I won a few other 5Ks shortly after, but that's when the injuries hit.  Ruptured plantar fascia was the first big one.  Achilles tendonitis. I missed the Tecumseh Marathon in December of 2008 (would have been my first) due to these.  But what got me was bilateral exertional compartment syndrome.  Google it.  I developed this while training for the Indy Mini in late 2008.  The only fix is surgery--which I had in March of 2009.  Double fasciotomies to my lower extremities.  My pressures on the right were off the charts in terms of severity.

The fasciotomies worked.  Two months after surgery, I raced a grueling trail half marathon and, though it was slow for me, I won overall.  I was so excited to race again.  I set out to train for my first marathon, the 2009 Chicago marathon, four months after surgery.  I vowed to take a more moderate approach.  And I did, at first.  On my way to Chicago, I ran a 1:34:02 half in August quite comfortably as a pace run for Chicago (I was training at a 3:10 pace but planned to run 3:20).  Three weeks later, I suffered an overuse injury--a groin injury.  Long story short--it was a big one.  4 months of zero running before it was finally healed.  I did a lot of elliptical and a lot of spinning, but I didn't run Chicago.  I attended the race and watched my husband run an impressive 2:57.  But I had missed another marathon.  I was devastated--I had put my heart and soul into training and I was exceptionally fit.  I was in about 3:05-3:08 shape.  All down the drain.

After that injury, my husband (whom I will tell you about at some point, in case you don't know him) and I decided it was time for me to take time off from racing and to build what I certainly lacked--a base.  We were also planning, at some point in the near future, to have a baby.  This would be a good time, given that I wouldn't be doing any high-intensity training.  I ran through about 7 months of my pregnancy.  Completed a 10K (my first!), two half marathons, including the Indy Mini, and a trail relay.  In about my sixth month, I began having compartment syndrome symptoms in my right calf while running.  My right leg would cramp and go numb.  In the end, it ended up being completely pregnancy-related, but boy it scared me at the time.  After I stopped running while pregnant, I maintained fitness via about 12 hours of elliptical/spinning per week.  The day I delivered my son, Rowan, my resting heart rate was 39.  Lowest ever.

I resumed running about a month after his birth.  I'm training for the Eugene marathon in Eugene, Oregon on May 1.  Training is extremely conservative.  Relatively low mileage and absolutely no speed.  I'm injury free, but have some kind of internal condition that is causing some (often severe) abdominal pain while running.  It's gotten worse lately, and I'm getting it checked out.  It's extraordinarily frustrating...and I'll leave it at that.

Right now I'm running about 50 miles a week.  Most of it on the county roads of Lawrence County, which are a challenge.  But I'm learning to love them.  I ran 12 on them today.  I have a double run on Thursday (totaling 11 miles), 10 on Saturday, and a long of 17 on Sunday.  Most of my runs are alone, as Tim and I can't always run together.  We have a jogging stroller but it's far too cold right now to take the baby out. This Sunday I'm running with my friend Emily, and hoping that my other friend Kathy will join us.  My legendary dad might show up too.

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