If the race photos from the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon are any indication, the race sucked for me. The photos are so awful and grimace-filled that the only one I can post without serious embarrassment is this posed one from the finish line.

This is a fake smile.

This is a fake smile.

The race was bad for me: my legs felt heavy from the start, and maintaining what should have been a comfortable half marathon pace (8:30 – 8:45) was burdensome and unreasonably difficult. Right before we hit Ocean Beach, I fell apart, suffering from the same knee pain that occurred during North Face and has reared its ugly head during my runs since the 50K. My pace slowed way down (to a 10:14 mile at mile 11), and I painfully shuffled through the out and back along the beach and to the finish line. I finished feeling defeated and in pain; my knee along the outside of my leg was killing me.

You can see where it gets ugly.

You can see where it gets ugly.

I visited an orthopedist yesterday and was relieved when she confirmed my suspicions: my hips are weak, resulting in a tight IT band. She pulled and twisted my legs and knees in multiple directions to rule out a torn meniscus, and I’m very thankful that nothing is seriously wrong. I had arthroscopic knee surgery in 2005 to fix a torn meniscus and have not suffered from knee pain since the procedure. My doctor said I could continue running but to stop if I start feeling pain, so I’ll be testing this out with a short run this weekend (if it’s not raining).

I know many runners suffer from weak hips and glutes, but I thought I could avoid the same fate through my weekly BodyPump, yoga classes, and strength training on my own. To combat this weakness, I’ll be incorporating hip-specific strengthening moves into my workouts at least a few times a week.

I did these exercises this morning and already feel a little sore:



I want to run Way Too Cool next month, so I’m hoping my IT band improves by March 7.