I will start with a little history of why this possible injury is sadly exciting. About two years ago I decided to start running to get in shape that was not round. I started off running all the time and quickly re aggravated a past knee injury. After a month off, I started wearing knee sleeves on both knees. I also realized that I could not run more than two days in a row before my knees were so painful I could not walk.
Finally about six months ago I accidentally left my knee sleeves at home and ran a 5 mile run. I had no problems that day or the next. Even though I still wear the sleeves I know I do not need them but they make me feel comfortable. I ran many times without them with no problems since the initial oversight.
This weekend I ran three days in a row. My knees are fine but my hamstring did not make it. Day 1 was a slow flat 6 mile run on concrete. I slowed my pace to 11 minute miles since I was going to do a race the next day. The race is where the problems started. It was a 10K trail race on trails I am very familiar running. The first three miles were at a good trail pace of about 10:45 minute miles. Then it hit me, a huge cramp in my hamstring. I massaged it and continued. Twenty minutes later same hamstring cramped again. I stopped stretched and continued. I felt fine after the race but my pace went up 4 minutes per mile the last 3.4 miles.
My hamstring was sore the rest of the day but I thought nothing of it. The next morning was a very slow 3.5 mile trail run with the local running club. I had no problems during the run but the rest of the day I had problems every time I bent my leg. I am also sore today and it is painful to stretch.
The good news is that I can finally run three days in a row. I can also up my mileage to prepare for the half marathon in April. It will be my first. The bad news my hammy is possibly strained.
I decided to step up my mileage by doing a 5 miler. I found a very cool challenge put on by the Waco Striders Running Club called the Huaco Cuatro. The first of this four leg challenge was at Cameron Park in Waco, TX. I did not look at a course map nor did I see the terrain of the course. I have driven through Waco many many times and the entire city looked flat. I will get to that surprise in a bit. I got up early to make the hour and a half drive to the race. The weather for the race was great. It was a bit humid but not bad for spring time in Texas. I did not have a problem finding the park but I could not find the start. I was doing race day packet pick up so I was planning on getting there forty five minutes early so I have time to get my bib and get ready to run. I was at the park but I could not find where I was suppose to go. I was asking people where this part of the park was and they did not know. While I was driving around lost for thirty minutes, I realized this park is very hilly. I could tell that the hills were steep but it was hard to tell how steep the hills were from driving. I was really about to give up until I took one more drive up a long hill and just kept going like I was leaving the park. All of a sudden another parking lot was on the horizon and that was where I needed to be. I got there after packet pick was over but they let me get it anyway. The race started five minutes late and I was ready two minutes late. The group of runners were friendly and so were the race presenters. I liked the atmosphere of the race and I am glad I found the start. I was still a little nervous about the distance. I have never done a run this long. I did not even do training runs this long at this time. The race did not go well for me. The run was actually 5.7 miles of the toughest hills I have ever run. The distance combined with the crazy steep and long hills were leg killing. I have never experienced hills like these. The race director must like putting runners through pain. If the hills were not enough the last mile was mostly straight up another agonizing hill to the finish. I was just happy to survive. I was also questioning doing the next three races. The post race refreshments consist of the normal bananas and water which are a must for me plus some awesome breakfast burritos. This still has been the toughest race of the year for me. I have done longer races but nothing like these hills.
I have run much more since this torture race and recently did a 7.5 training run in the same time I finished this race.
After a sanity check, I prepared for my third race in three weeks with a trip to the Houston area again.