post

Boston Half Marathon and New York City Marathon

Boston BAA Half Marathon Arun Shanbhag

Boston Half Marathon 2010
time: 1:54:44
pace: 8:46/mile


This has been an emotional roller-coaster of Marathon training. After four years, I finally have a chance to run the New York City Marathon on Nov 7th. Started training in the spring. Despite some early foot issues, it was going pretty well. Then about 8 weeks ago, I started having severe knee pain. After an MRI, my Sports Medicine Specialist diagnosed a torn medial meniscus! “Your Marathon running days are over, Arun,” he proclaimed and strongly recommended I pull out of the NYC Marathon.

I was crushed. But NOT done!

Consulted with several other specialists and a few held out hope, “rest for a few weeks and see if it hurts.” Here’s what some NYC doctors recommended. Also started aggressive physical therapy. A cyst has formed associated with the torn meniscus, which was pressing on the pes anseris tendons on the inner side of the knee (sartorius, gracilis and semi tendinosus) causing tendonitis and pain.

The physical therapists understood my intense desire to run the NYC Marathon. They performed ultrasound and electrical stimulation on the tendons and the cyst; taught me various exercises to relieve imbalances and recommended I stop running for a few weeks.

Started “aqua running.” You use a floatation belt tethered to the wall in deep end of the pool and run in place without your feet touching the bottom. Extremely strenuous, utterly exhausting and supremely BORING! But with no impact, it helps healing.

After a week, knee swelling and pain had gone down and I jubilantly ran 2 miles! With therapy twice/week, I started doing long runs on weekends and regular pool running on weekdays. Took on 4, 9 and a 13 miler in quick succession. After every run, the knee would swell and I would ice it for hours! The therapist would curse and work on my knee.

So we went for the last 6 weeks, with the bare minimum you could get by with. This is how I came to lace up for this half marathon. I had NO goals, but only wanted to finish with my knees intact. I love this course and Fall is a great time to run in Boston.

Started pretty fast and at mile 5, I was running 8:30 pace. Was winded and realized I couldn’t sustain it through the hills in the second half. Pulled back slightly, but managed to keep the pace through the hills. Was hoping to pick-up the pace after mile 11, but then we enter Franklin Park zoo and are running on a narrow sandy trail, 2-3 abreast. No chance to speed here. A few more rolling hills and I enjoyed my run through the stadium to the finish. This is a challenging course, but it will be fun to train better and attack the hills. Want to PR here!

Yeah! The knee was swollen and the therapists just shook their heads. But the pain was much less and I knew I had one 20-mile run remaining. Did that this Saturday. It was very windy and in the 50’s, but otherwise a great day. I am surprised I ran as well as I did. After the run, I plonked in an ice bath for 30 minutes and my legs were frozen all evening. A sure way to kill the hurt.

Now, I’m on the taper and ready for NYC! Hope to do it!


Previous Marathons and Half-Marathons


Comments

  1. Arun,
    good luck for the NYC Marathon. I ran the Chicago Marathon this year (my first marathon) and all I can say is I am hooked. Hope to repeat next year with better time.

    • Thank you Asheeth – Marathoner!
      and congratulations on your finishing your first Marathon.

      Yes, it is addictive.
      Thank you and best wishes to you in your recovery.
      Arun

  2. It is truly difficult to stop a self-driven runner who can feel “it”! …thank you for sharing.

  3. Venkappayya R. Desai says:

    Dear Arun,

    Sorry I did not contact you for about 3 months.

    Hats off to your determination AND

    GOOD LUCK in your NY MARATHON AS WELL AS
    DEEPAVALI-2010 GREETINGS TO YOU, M & m

    from me, Savita and Nachiket!

    I’m sure Devi Shakti Ma -who exists in the form of energy in each one of us will give the necessary energy to you in this venture of supreme determination!

    Nachiket is getting used to his life in Tang Hall, MIT. Since he doesn’t remember you because mostly u were in chicago that during our clemson days, he is somewhat reluctant to contact you. So pl. excuse me for requesting you to contact him [nachi1989@gmail.com; 617-225-1174(H); 617-256-5825(Cell)]

    • Desai – No problem; and thank you for your best wishes ~ I absolutely need it.
      I am leaving for NYC Marathon in a few hours and will contact Nachiket when I get back next week, ok?

      Best Wishes for Diwali for you all.
      Arun (M and Meera)

  4. Arun! I just read your post. I did not realize you had been battling an injury the past six weeks. It sounds like you managed to treat it and will be able to make it through NYC. I hope so! I certainly understand all of the training that goes into it and all of the hopes and goals that become attached to it. I will send you good vibes from the start village and be cheering you on while I run it too! It’s the best day of the year in New York. I’m sure that amount of good will from the city will help carry you through. Get rest and good luck!! #INGNYCM or bust! 🙂 Lauren

    • Thank you Lauren for your kindness.

      Yes! I am thrilled to be just a part of this fabulous event. The meniscus tear was a bummer, and I agonized/cried over it for several weeks. But heh! the doctors did their best, and now its up to me to do what I can – RUN!

      I may not PR, but am sure that spirit of the crowds will carry me through … and YOU!

      BTW, I enjoy reading your posts on the different aspects of the NYC Marathon. And Good luck to you for your FIRST ~ its going to be special!

      Maybe I’ll run into you on the course, or at the Expo!
      Best Best
      Arun

  5. pratibha Bhagwat says:

    Congratulations on your 1/2 marathon. Looking forward to hear about NYC marathon soon. You shoild run Orange County marathon in May. Very beautiful route.

    • Thank you Pratibha for you wishes and also the recommendation for the Orange County Marathon.

      After NYC, I need to take a few months rest to let the knee injury heal and then slowly restart in the spring with a half marathon. Prolly wait till next fall for a full marathon. lets see how things go. ~ and besides, M&m will be here 🙂

      I have never run anything on the west coast, so am always looking for something.

      Thank you
      Arun

  6. Congratulations Arun! You are always such an inspiration to me. Good luck on your NYC marathon too. I know you will do well.

  7. Truly Inspiring! All the best for the NYC marathon, enjoy your run. And wishes for a speedy recovery from your injuries.

  8. It is not always an easy journey back from injury. It takes a lot sometimes to keep going as you have. Best wishes for the NYC Marathon.

    • Many thanks John for your encouragement. Absolutely true. Those first two miles after the injury were soooo thrilling, I had tears.
      I guess that is what life is all about; not the falling down, but the getting back up!
      Thank you.
      Arun

  9. Venky Krishnamoorthy says:

    Very inspirational. Good luck and be safe!

  10. Hi Arun,

    Congrats on running the BHM. I had a torn meniscus on my right feet due to leg twist during beach volleyball, and it used to get stuck between the bone joint space and keep my knee locked into an awkward position whenever I jumped from a height or landed on the foot with an impact. Everytime this happenend, I used to run to my Doc, and he used to twist myleg it in a way that he got my leg straight and I went about my day. I was told by him that surgery could solve it. i.e If the torn meniscus was removed then I can get back to active sports again.
    It has been 12 years since the simple orthroscopy for the removal of the torn meniscus. I have been able to pursue all sports as if nothing happened.
    Your case may be different, as I did not have any pain when the torn meniscus was not stuck. However, I am just stating this so that there may be an option to live without the pain and enjoy the sports you love without the ‘ache’.

    Take care!

    • Thank you Shesh for your kind words of encouragement.
      My doctor did recommend surgery, but that would mean’t I have to take 6-8 weeks off and would certainly have missed the NYC Marathon.
      So we decided to wait till after the marathon and re-assess the need for arthroscopic surgery. Good to hear that you are having great results with it.

      Thank you! yes, to run without pain! haaaaaiiiiii!

      Best Wishes
      Arun

  11. Congratulations Arun ! Applaud your determination – very inspiring story.

    • Thank you girl;
      I truly love running and this was a crushing injury – thus could not even get myself to talk about it much. Now that I feel I am on my feet and running again, feels so much liberated.
      Thank you.
      Arun

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