One Month Down

Well we have one full month behind us, just 11 more to “make it happen” Whatever that really means. I love goals and I suppose a goal can’t really be a goal without a deadline of sorts. I still struggle between that and simply “do better than yesterday” EVERYDAY.

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Training for my third marathon officially started in January, though I was building up to it in December, and really at this point in my running I’m always in training. I’ve been, or attempting to, follow heart rate training in November & December. It was a struggle, but I felt it was worth it. I was at least planning to do it for 3-4 months to give it a decent shot. I’m not caving on that, but I switched it up.

Initially, I was doing the less is more. Running SLOW. Like, actually walking huge chunks of my weekly mileage to keep my heart rate in the “easy effort” zone for the majority of my runs. This wasn’t really working for me. One major issue was TIME. I’d be doing a 45 minute run on the dreadmill and struggling to get 3.25 miles in, when I know that I could easily do 4, used to do 5 miles in that time frame. This was an issue because I do want to keep my mileage up. For starters I’m training for a marathon, so I need to be running and also I want to continue with going farther in my yearly goals.

Plan B. So it wasn’t working out for me to run/walk ALL the time and focus on the easy effort. Now, I am going with focusing on proper recovery time and not always pushing too hard, ie. maybe not “easy” effort, but mid-range effort. Instead of running 4-5 times a week, now I will run 3-4 times a week, with more time in between runs for recovery activities. My long runs are incorporating a run/walk program. This allows me to maintain a faster pace (and by faster I’m not really talking all that fast, 11ish) with a little break every so often to keep my heart rate in check. This allows me to spend a little less time on the feet and not feel completely wasted after my long runs. I mean, I have to actually stay awake through my afternoon Netflix binge.

The first two weeks of January were basic. I went out with a training partner for 10 that first weekend, it was brutally cold. Our route landed us back at the cars after just 15K (9.3) she was done, but instead of saying, well 9.3 is close enough, I turned out and wrapped up that last .7 and was super proud of myself for that. My second long run was the Rock ‘n Roll half in Arizona.

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Had I not been in Arizona I’m not quite sure how I would have knocked out a 13 mile training run, as an ice storm basically shut down the St. Louis. While the storm ended up not be as bad as predicted, my group still decided to cancel our hotels for the second half of the trip just in case we got stuck at home. Luckily we got outta dodge at the right time and to slightly warmer weather, at least no ice!

I plan to write about traveling for races later on, but I will say the fly in – run – leave is not an ideal plan if you are looking for a good performance. Particularly if you are like me, and motion sickness is a common occurrence.  Not that I got really sick on the plane, but just enough to not feel great plus all the stress the day before about whether we should cancel or not.

The race was great, I was pretty bummed to not be in good shape because I think I could have had a really great race, perfect weather, great, mostly flat course. I did slightly better than expected, so overall it’s a win. [I thought I’d pace around 11:30 per mile, and I ended up averaging right at 11 and didn’t walk at all]

After the race I ended up walking 8 miles around Phoenix, in a crazy quest for cupcakes. The first 3-4 miles weren’t so bad, but by the last half, I was HURTING. My IT band was screaming, my feet where throbbing. And we were driving out the next morning for 2.5 days of hiking in Sedona. Oh boy!

In the three short days we hiked 20 long miles. The hikes weren’t all that bad. Devil’s Bridge was a little tricky on the way down. Hangover Trail got a little dicey and Cathedral Rock luckily had a few surrounding trails that weren’t so, well impossible. The glutes screamed, the quads burned, but I think overall the throbbing feet were the biggest problem. Though everything seemed to ease away from one day to the next….good so I thought.

I got home late Wednesday and went for my first run Thursday mid-morning. A rather slow 5 mile on a flat paved trail. It was to be expected that it was a struggle. I was REALLY worried about the weekend’s plan for a 14 miler. This was it. This was the LEGIT start of marathon training – the first run over 13.1 miles. The BEYOND.

The 14 miler wasn’t ALL that pretty. I decided on a run/walk plan, set my Garmin accordingly and followed it. The first 11 miles were pretty good. I didn’t start to fade until around 7-9, but those last 3 were really rough. More mentally tough over anything exactly physical, but it still hurt. Overall, after that 14 miler I felt that I could make this marathon thing actually happen.

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That feeling last about 10 days. I can’t say when the pain actually started because I know it hasn’t been just in the last 10 days and it probably stemmed from all the time on my feet on vacation. Without seeking medical advice at this time, I am certain that I have bursitis in my heel.

In the morning I nearly face plant with my first steps to the ground. My ankle is so tight, pain in my heel. But after a few steps it eases up and is okay. Not good, but okay. Same while running. It hurts the first half mile or so, but then isn’t a big issue. But it’s still an issue.

My run this past weekend was a cut-back week, which was a planned 10, but ended up being 11. I ran trails. Half was single track, soft slightly sticky muddy trails and half was a gravel. All flat. It was a good choice as my foot issue seemed just fine. Marathon possible.

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I know that I have to focus on my overall well-being and long-term affects from not addressing this injury. Achilles issues are no joke. I most likely should completely stop running until the pain is gone, particularly because the pain is there just sitting/doing nothing. However, I am pretty stubborn and I am going to give this marathon a little more time to possible still take place.

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Write up Plan C.

  • Recovery. Foam roll. Yoga. Stretch.
  • Strength training and cycling
  • Stay hydrated
  • Healthy eating
  • Run smarter – less often and shorter weekday runs.
  • Run/walk long runs

Really this plan isn’t that much different from prior plans. Reducing the running and adding more strength and cross training are the biggest changes. Also the other items that I tend to overlook – recovery/foam rolling/healthy eating are basically mandatory if I want any chance at making this marathon goal happen THIS April.

This weekend calls for a 15 miler, so we’ll see how that goes, going to try to make this work, but also try to remind myself it’s better to hold off on this goal than to risk major injury.

Note: I do not recommend self-diagnosing, self-treating or running through injury. This is a “do as I say, not as a do” kind of thing. Just whatever you do, don’t give up with any kind of set-back. Refocus and go after your goals!

 

 

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