Monday, December 1, 2014

Berbee Derby 10K Race Report 2014

My race report skills are a little rusty these days, but I figure a PR earns me the right to write one. 

If you haven't tuned out my complaining for the past few years, you know that I haven't been running how I've wanted to run since spring of 2012.  Torn labrum, hip impingement, misdiagnoses, endless PT, MRIs, blah, blah, blah.  I'm now 9 months post-op from getting cut open, having cameras inserted into my hip joint, and extra bone on my femur and hip socket shaved down, plus stitching up my labrum.  Insert something cheesy about a long journey here. 

Right now I'm basically a running n00b.  I haven't run any good mileage in the past two years.  I've had numerous stretches of months off at a time, including 5 months off this spring/summer to heal from surgery.  I'm averaging 11mpw this year and probably averaged close to that last year too.  So how does one PR with no base and no training?  I haven't actually tried in a road race since 2010.  At the time I was trying to break 60 minutes in the 10K and failed by about 37 seconds.  After that I started running ultras and didn't look back.  I don't like running short races.  I much prefer the hurt of mile 40 opposed to mile 4.

But I can't run ultras right now, so I registered for this 10K on Thanksgiving morning mostly because it's walkable from my parent's house and I wanted to eat a lot of pie later in the day.  I was not overly enthused about racing it and contemplated just jogging it up until that morning in which I realized that I didn't know how to race a 10K and asked some fellow running folk what it was supposed to feel like.  I was at the race with a non-running friend who was also doing the 10K ("OMG I can't believe I have to run 6 miles!  What do you mean you need warm up?  So you're going to run extra before the race?!")  I probably ran an easy mile or so as a warm up.  It was colder than I would have liked at 16 degrees.  And windy. 

I had duct tape covering all parts of my Garmin except for the mileage.  My plan was to run the race by feel and get out of the I'm-So-Slow mindset.  When we started running, I wasn't quite sure what pace to run at, so I ran at a pace that felt tempo-ish.  I figured that my pace was probably a little slow for 10K effort, but I could always pick it up later.  So I cruised at comfortably hard for a few miles.  We eventually got dumped onto a bike path, which was icy.  The city isn't allowed to use salt on it for some reason and everyone but me seemed to slow down.  Maybe it's because I'm not a treadmill runner or because I'm used to running over worse things than ice, but I got annoyed by the slowness and passed a lot of people once we hit the bike path.

During this time I heard the girl directly behind me go down.  It was a good fall and she screamed upon impact.  It took every ounce of my brain strength to convince myself not to stop.  I always stop for anyone that falls.  I've wasted an hour in a trail marathon helping a girl who had an asthma attack before.  It doesn't sit well with me not to help someone and even now I still feel badly, but I kept running.  I adapted the cold, black heart of a road runner and kept going.  I hope she's okay.  Med flight did wind up airlifting someone out from the race, so if it was her, Karma is really going to mess with me later. 

I hit mile 4 and thought of a friend saying that you should feel like you can't finish at mile 4.  I didn't feel like death.  I felt pretty tired, but not like I wanted to die.  Crap, I am so not doing this right.  But you know what sucks about being a slow person racing?  Everyone around me is talking like they're out for coffee.  I hate them all.  I can't even muster the energy to thank the volunteers.  So I'm trying, at least.  At mile 5, I see a decent hill in the distance and audibly swear.  We've been rolling for a while now, but nothing too extreme.  Yes, yes, I am tired now and ready for this to be over.  I like to be zen when I am running.  I am very, very far from zen. 

I tuck my head down and try to keep my pace up the hill.  I am racing now and it hurts.  The last mile sucks.  I am playing mind games with myself and thinking about the music on my iPod, which is the only indicator of time I have.  There was no clock at the 5K split and some idiot put duct tape over my Garmin.  My playlist is an hour and 3 minutes long and I fully intend not to the listen to the last song.  Only my second to last song starts playing.  "Oh crap, I must be going slower than I thought."  I thought sub-60 was in the bag and now I'm worried about it.  But no, I was just confused and I'm only on my third to last song as I click over to my second to last song as I cross over to mile 6. 

The last .2 miles of the 10K course merges with the 5K, which started approximately 20 minutes after the 10K.  There are signs that direct the 5K runners to the right and 10K runners to the left, but no one follows that and it's a clusterf--k as usual.  I'm sprinting now, my big ski gloves off and wadded up in my right hand.  I am passing moms, children, walkers, the elderly, the overweight.  I can't breathe and it's apparent to others as I sprint by them wheezing and heaving.  I am the only person racing in this freaking clusterf--k.  OUT OF MY DAMN WAY.  I finally see the clock and it reads 59:xx.  What??  CRAP.  Am I really only just going to squeak in under an hour?  Oh wait, minus 3 minutes, minus 3 minutes, minus 3 minutes.  We had started in waves and my wave left at exactly 9:03 when the clock started at 9am. 

Official time of 56:47.  A PR by 4 minutes.  (Yet it still seems so slow.)  I do think I have a faster 10K in me even with this non-existent training.  It was too cold, too hilly, too icy.  I don't know, maybe I'll try another one before 4 years passes again.

As usual, the only thing I am good at is pacing:

Mile 1:  9:11
Mile 2:  9:09
Mile 3:  9:09
Mile 4:  9:01
Mile 5:  9:12
Mile 6:   9:05
Last .2 at 7:11 pace

I am still not yet at 100% after surgery, but I am happy to report that I didn't think about my hip at all during the race.  It was a little cranky afterward, but worlds better than it has been in the past.  I'm still amazed by being mostly pain free.  My runs may be shorter than I'm used to, but it's still an awesome feeling.


Rippin508 Rippin508 said...

Hey Mandy,

I have enjoyed reading your blog from surgery to post-op. It sounds like you are recovering pretty well. As my surgeon has told me many times, there will be good days and bad days.

A little background and the reason why I am commenting/contacting you. Torn hip labral with FAI cam type about a year ago playing in a men's basketball league. Had surgery last Oct. 27th. 5 weeks post op now.

Not sure if you are up to it, but I have a few questions about your post op recovery if you don't mind answering or providing your insight.

How conservative was your surgeon with recovery? What was the reasoning for going to PT and what was the protocol? How bad was the damage to your hip? Did your surgeon ever suggest that your running career was over? I don't remember, did you ever participate in pool exercises?

I have many more questions. I digress.

Sorry if I am bothering you with this, but I know no one who has ever had this type of surgery.

Thanks again,
Joe from MA

Mandy said...

Hi Joe,

I hope the blog has been helpful - I found it was so nice to read about other's experiences and what to expect during recovery while I was going through it myself.

My surgeon was pretty hands off after the surgery itself was done. I did most of my post-op work with my PT. We did a lot of strengthening of my glutes and range of motion exercises. I was in PT for probably 7-8 months and it was very helpful. I didn't do anything in the pool, but if you have access to that, I think that's a great resource and would be very beneficial!

I was lucky that I didn't have any arthritis in my hip, so my surgeon was very optimistic that I would make a full recovery. He's had other patients go on to complete Ironmans and run marathons, so that was comforting to me. I had a tear from about 12:00-2:00 on my labrum and CAM/pincer impingement. He shaved down both my femur and hip socket.

Hope that helps and you're healing well!

Rippin508 Rippin508 said...

Hey Mandy,

Thanks for getting back to me.

Sounds like your surgeon is a little less conservative than mine. I am now 5 weeks post op. I have another week to go on crutches then I get to move to the stationary bike and pool. No pivoting for 4 months and no running for 6 months. He is not a big fan of any PT protocol for this type of surgery. Luckily I have a buddy of mine who runs his own PT place, so I can get some help and advice.

I went for a follow up appointment last Monday and he is not very optimistic about me returning to running on a regular basis if ever. Not really what I wanted to hear, but the amount of damage and the extensive work done to repair the hip is the reason why. Luckily cycling is still something I can continue to do. Contact sports are out so my basketball and soccer careers are over. I can still shoot around with friends though.

Like you I had the femur and hip socket shaved down. I also have bone anchors in my hip to attach what labrum I had left. Both my hips show possible signs of arthritis, but my surgeon thinks I have awhile before I would need to worry about it. He has been more concerned about my other hip in making sure the same thing doesn't happen.

This blog has been great. Thanks again for sharing your story.

E said...

Excellent!! Your race report skills came right back to you nicely. :P

Karlie Barness said...

Hi Mandy and Joe, I've been following you blog over the last weeks. I am an ultra runner who had groin pain nearly a year (but kept running because, well, we get used to the 'new normal'). Fast forward: I had an MRI that showed a labral tear. Went in for surgery this past Monday. The surgeon thought it was to be a repair for a tear between 9'clock and 10 o'clock. Ends up, he had to do a debridement between nearly 12 o'clock and 8 o'clock. I had no FAI, no arthritric tendencies, just that debridement. I'm curious to know anything you two might know about debridement repercussions from 12 - 8 o'clock. While the surgeon feels I can return to running in the future, I guess I worry. Joe, what pool exercises did you do? Mandy, I will continue reading your come-back to running. I guess I'm just feeling super defeated and looking to connect with others who have been down this path. I apologize if the note is ambiguous or bothersome. Take care, Karlie

Mindi said...


I am so glad you are improving! am in Madison too and was just diagnosed with a torn labrum. I need surgery and am very concerned about the whole thing as I've read it is a relatively new procedure and extremely important to get the right doctor. I am a marathon runner and have also had 2 years of misdiagnoses, PT, chiro, blah, blah, blah. I'd be incredibly appreciative if you could let me know how you are doing and who your doctor is. Thanks! Mindi

Mandy said...

Hi Mindy,

I had my surgery with Dr. Keene at UW Hospital, but he unfortunately just retired earlier this year. I'm not sure who has replaced him. If your insurance covers it, it might be worth it to drive either to Milwaukee or Chicago for your surgery. I know that trusting someone without years of experience would make me nervous. I am coming up on two years post-op now and am doing fairly well. I am 100% fine in normal, every day type activities. I can bike as much as I want with no issues. (My boyfriend and I rode around the state over the summer - 500 miles in 8 days.) Running is okay, depending on the day. I don't think I'll ever run ultras again, but I have managed to do some runs in the 14-15 mile range. My hip does start to get achy with too much mileage, but not nearly as bad as it used to be. My PT after surgery was Jenny Kempf at the sports med clinic on Science Drive - I would definitely recommend her if you live near the West side.

Joshua Lipinski said...

Mandy - did your hip ever feel really achy or was it the muscles around it? I've delayed hip surgery a few times now because one doc says it's muscular, so I went in and had PNT (percutaneous needle tenotomy) to rip up scar tissue in my groin. But this always comes back to intense tendinitis in my adductor (inner thigh) and a feeling of instability in the leg, so my outer hip and even my butt (piriformis) all get strained. My gut says the hip is the root cause of the instability..but I dont have any sharp pains in the hip. I've gotten 6 opinions. All but one say it's FAI/labral tear. And by the way - how's your summer?! Been racing?

Joshua Lipinski said...

Mandy - did your hip ever feel really achy or was it the muscles around it? I've delayed hip surgery a few times now because one doc says it's muscular, so I went in and had PNT (percutaneous needle tenotomy) to rip up scar tissue in my groin. But this always comes back to intense tendinitis in my adductor (inner thigh) and a feeling of instability in the leg, so my outer hip and even my butt (piriformis) all get strained. My gut says the hip is the root cause of the instability..but I dont have any sharp pains in the hip. I've gotten 6 opinions. All but one say it's FAI/labral tear. And by the way - how's your summer?! Been racing?

Mandy said...

Hi Joshua! I'm really sorry to hear that you're having so much trouble.

Everyone's case is a little different, but my main pain was deep in the front of my groin. It was rarely stabbing pain, mostly just a consistent ache. I did have some pain on the outside of my hip and my butt too. (C-shaped pain that is often associated with labral tears.) Like you, I also had that feeling of instability in my leg.

I'm not much of a racer, so I haven't done much racing since this post. I'm doing really well though. I have about 750 running miles in for the year so far and my hip has been holding up well! I'm glad I had the surgery done.

Joshua Lipinski said...

750mi in 6mths... = about 30mpw. That's pretty solid. Can you go out running consecutive days or do you have to spread them out? Glad you've had a good's just so hit or miss and the only people I'm interested in hearing from are runners. Putting impact on that hip is the true test. Thank you for your insight.

Mandy said...

I have very, very slowly worked my way up to running 5 days a week. Tues-Wed-Th-Sat-Su. I typically run 5-8 miles on weekdays and 8-13 miles on weekend days. My biggest week post-surgery has been around 42 miles. I put in 150 miles in May and will hit slightly more than that this month in June. I have yet to run more than 14 miles at a time because my hip tends to get a little achy in the late miles of a longer run. Is it exactly what I want? No. But it's certainly better than before. I know others have gone on to run marathons after surgery, but I'm not sure if I'll get to that point. That said, it's not a total impossibility. I just don't know yet. I am completely pain free in my daily activities, so I really don't feel like I can complain too much about the outcome. Good luck with your decision!