Finally decided that a year was too long to have a nagging pain in my hamstring every time I go for a run longer than 4 miles. So I went to the Running Institute on 1/10 and got it assessed. Dr. Natarajan prescribed me some PT, so I started with Molly at Novacare the following week. I didn't get instant relief nor did I expect it, but over the past 6 weeks I've been noticing an increase in range of motion with various movements, the pain seems to come on later during the run, I've been running faster generally, and can address the pain a little better when it starts with better stretching, etc. As of this moment, I realize I have a long ways to go before I would consider this thing resolved, I’m feeling somewhere between 25% and 35% better; to be honest, I’ll take any improvement at this point. So, I’ll remain patient and hope that by the end of the calendar year things *might* be really looking up. At least in regards to this stubborn hammie. Grrr.
After the F^3 Lake Half, I had no more races scheduled before Boston. But a few things had been eating away at me: 1.) I had not run a 10K in several years. The last time I ran one, I was a completely different runner. My 10K PR was something like 8 years old because I just stopped running them finally. 2.) A good friend and fellow Tweep/Dailymiler, Erin, mentioned that one was coming up and taking place at Soldier Field. Hell that’s my backyard! After that it was a done deal so I paid the 55 bucks (boy prices have gone up since my last 10K!), and got stoked. So it was the Chi-Town Big Game 10K/5K, and a perfect way to ease into Superbowl Sunday.
I won’t go into too much detail, it was several weeks ago already and it's sort of hard to come up with much to say about a race that seems “so short,” after being focused on marathons for a while now. I will say that it was very well run for an inaugural race of its size; I knew the course like the back of my hand; and they had the most awesome pre-/post-race staging area of any race I've done that comfortably held everyone warmly inside at the United Club at Soldier Field. Race organizers even let us stay in there up to the final minutes before the race, to keep warm. On that day there was snow on the ground, and there was snow in your face. Aside from that it wasn't too bad. Part of the path was well covered by snow and really slowed me down because of the resistance in some places and fear of slipping at other points. Anyway, I was shooting for a time around 40 minutes. (Anything I ran would essentially be a PR.) Despite the snow, I ran a 40:34, got 6th overall, and 1st in my age group. For my 10K return, it was pretty sweet. Got to meet Erin in person, plus her friends. Erin got 2nd in her age group. Pretty cool start to the day! I don’t think the hammie bugged me on this race either. Perhaps I should stick to shorter races…?
So the end of February is nigh. All I can say is hell yes! Winter running was going well up until January. I guess I got fooled. December was easy rolling with relatively mild temps, and tricked me into thinking we’d have a mild winter much like last year. But the cold roared in and has held a fairly firm grip for much of the calendar year, except for a couple days of 60’s or higher. (I relish those, they’re great days to get outside, but make the next day of 20’s that much harder to endure.) The Fleet Feet Boston Bound runs in Barrington have been quite chilly or very snowy so far. Today’s 20-miler wasn't as snowy as our first run there, or as cold as our previous run. But ya just kinda get tired of the cold after a while. Anyway, yep, hoping for continued improvement on the hammie; I have no more races planned (again) until Boston. And I’m finally ready for some warmer spring weather. Not too warm. Just warm enough. 30's and 40's will do for now. 50's would be okay too. Or 60's…