Tag Archives: Marathon Training

No Running Lately

If you follow me on Strava, then you’ve probably noticed I haven’t run since February 10th. Yes, that was over 5 weeks ago! The reason why is twofold: I hurt myself, but I also was kind of over running… so it’s a welcomed (albeit forced) break. What happened, you ask? Great question! I sure do wish I had a good answer, but as with most running related injuries, I don’t. Here’s some background, though.

I was running about 20 miles per week for the last few months; nothing wild and crazy by any means, but enough to keep me in relatively decent running shape. I wasn’t doing any workouts or anything longer than 10 miles (which I think I did maybe three times). I’ve been lifting heavy weights once a week and trying to get in another strength training session (usually in the form of Pilates) and a day of yoga, but that was really it. Again, nothing wild and crazy. So on February 10th I set out for 8 miles since I was planning to run the NYC half on March 18th and wanted to make sure I had done at least one 10 mile run before then. The run was normal – dare I even say I felt good. The weather was ideal, and I ran those 8 miles in just under an 8 minute average – not blazing fast, but on the quicker ‘back to my old self’ side of things. But during the run I noticed some pressure in my knee — it felt almost like it needed a pop (like there was air in it). I didn’t think anything of it, but towards the end it started to bother me a little more. I finished my run, went and got coffee, and took an epsom salt bath thinking it was just a weird little ache that would go away. Oh was I wrong! As the day progressed it got more and more painful to the point where I couldn’t even squat down or get up without medial and lower knee pain. This was not good.

I knew based on the pain I was having going up and down stairs that running for the next few days was out of the cards. Again, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal at first. But as the days progressed and the pain barely got better, I started to get worried. Did I tear something? Did I somehow break something in/around my knee? Doctor Google was, of course, not my friend. While I was frustrated, I also realized that I didn’t care that much. Sure, I wanted to run the NYC Half, but was I really that bummed about not having to force myself out of bed at 5am to run in the cold darkness? Not really. Maybe it’s because I’ve been injured more than I haven’t in the last 4 years, but I’m just so used to it now that it doesn’t wreck me like it used to. I’m also lucky that there are other fitness activities I can do when I’m hurt that I do enjoy. Thankfully spinning, yoga, and weight lifting (as long as I wasn’t squatting in those early days) was enough to give me my aerobic and anaerobic fix. Of course not running when you identify yourself as a runner stinks, but I’ve learned (pretty well I must say) to deal with it.

After about 4.5 weeks my knee pain was completely gone, but I was still too nervous to actually try a run. We’ve all been in those situations as injured runners where we think we’re okay to try a run again, we do it, and that run takes us back a few steps in our recovery process. Because there’s no hurry for me to ‘get back in it,’ I’m being overly cautious with my return. At this point I’m just over the 5 week mark since I hurt myself, and I’m thinking I will give myself at least another week before I try again. My PT who thinks it was a ligament strain said they usually take 4-6 weeks to heal… so why not just wait that long. I’ve also been dealing with some neuroma pain in my toe (thanks too tight rain boots!), so it’s not like I’ve been feeling monster anyway. I am signed up for the BAA 5k in April and I’d like to run that, even though I know it’s not going to be anywhere near the time I wanted… but oh well!

I had been thinking about trying to take a running break — a true running break when I don’t actually run at all for awhile — so this proved to be the forced opportunity to do so. I’m registered to run the NYC Marathon in November, and I really want to do it. I haven’t run a marathon since 2013 and haven’t made it through a training cycle uninjured since 2014. The only goals I have for the race are to actually get to the start line, and then once I do, get to the damn finish line (in one piece). I want to be able to start training without any lingering injuries or issues, and I know that taking a full break and starting back up slowly is my best chance to actually accomplish that. After I (hopefully) get through this round of marathon training, I’m going to take another hard look at my running and reevaluate if it’s something I really want to keep doing. Don’t get me wrong – I love running so much – but it’s just caused me more heartache and physical pain than I think it’s worth over the last 4 years. I mean, this isn’t my job and I want to be able to exercise and live without pain as I get older and beating myself up (for what?!) now isn’t worth it. That’s not to say I want to completely stop running, but I think I need to really consider not running any races over 13.1 miles for a long time (or ever). Lifting heavy, pouring sweat on a spin bike, and working my tiny muscles on the megaformer death machine till they shake give me a sense of accomplishment that while doesn’t rival running, is a close and maybe ‘good enough’ second place. And there’s always swimming.

So yeah, this post isn’t really anything new. Surprise, Danielle hasn’t been running because she hurt herself but still wants to try and run a marathon. That can be my memoir title. But I think I’ve finally turned a corner when it comes to forcing myself to do things that maybe just don’t work for me anymore. Or to try some new approaches. I’m feeling good considering I haven’t run in 5 weeks and don’t have a plan for when I’ll return, which quite frankly, is a pleasant surprise to myself. That being said I am planning on running the Newport 10k in May, and have a giveaway coming up! So if you want to run the Newport 10k with me in Jersey City in May stay tuned for a giveaway post later this week!!

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Let’s Try This Again…

“Is this thing on?”

Well hello there! I know, I know, once again I popped in to say hello and tell my latest sob-story, and then I disappeared. I’ve gotten pretty good at it, haven’t I?! I know I’m well overdue for an update but I didn’t want to speak too soon, like last time. So let’s take a step back, shall we?

Last time I blogged was April. I’d run a pretty solid 5k while dealing with some weird non-specific quad discomfort, that after getting checked out resulted in an inconclusive assumption I had a femoral stress reaction. This latest injury put me at number three in the run/injure myself cycle since fall 2014. I’d gotten numb to the disappointment and frustration of a running injury, so I once again put away my running shoes and carried on as best I could. This time, however, was slightly different since it was a pretty clear-cut (and slightly serious) injury which required a more diligent and cautious rehab approach than my previous weird ankle and IT band issues. After the diagnosis I immediately got in touch with Finish Line Physical Therapy, and started seeing my PT, Caroline, about two weeks after the initial diagnosis.

Originally my doctor told me I could continue with any cross-training that didn’t include high impact to my legs (so no running, jumping, etc.), while holding off on running for a solid 3 weeks. It sounded a little short, but I figured it would be fine. When I went to physical therapy, though, Caroline wanted to take a more cautious approach… So I waited a full month before trying anything running related. While I wasn’t running, I kept going to Refine Method (and modifying any type of jumping with other, equally difficult exercises), took a few spin classes, and started taking hot yoga. My last run was on March 22nd, and my first short and slow run/walk outside was on April 23rd. After that initial run/walk outside in April, I switched over to the Alter-G for the next 5ish weeks (about 2x a week). [Side note: I am SO thankful Finish Line has an Alter-G! It was a mental game changer for me this injury go-around.] I continued with the run/walk approach, but rather than doing just two or three minutes at a time, the Alter-G allowed me to bump up the amount of time I was spending doing continuous running, sooner. This was all while going to PT once a week and getting some great soft tissue release on my quad and doing stability exercises for not only my legs, but also my glutes and core. By the time I hit the end of May, I was ready to tackle a continuous 15 minute run outdoors… two full months after I stopped running.

I thought the first run back was going to be terrible. Now don’t get me wrong, it was pretty uncomfortable and awkward, but I was running! And I didn’t have any pain during or after the run! There were — and still are — some aches here and there along my quad, but that’s just everything getting back in business and I’ve been reassured is totally normal. Since that first 17 minute run on May 30th, I’ve gotten up to a 16 mile week, including my longest run of 5 miles since March. I’m trying to keep a day in between each run as I ease back into things to give myself a little break, and I’m not running more than 4 times a week right now. There’s no point in pushing myself too soon, because I’ll wind up with another injury. I mean heck, with my history even if I don’t run much there’s still a chance I’ll get an injury. So slow and steady is the name of the game for me right now… which is fine because it is, of course, hot AF in the northeast. Yay for humidity!

So where does that leave me? What are my plans? Well, I went to PT this morning and was told that I’m progressing really well, and if I’m diligent and careful over the next few weeks, everything should be back to normal. Which means… I’m going to run the Chicago Marathon!! I deferred last year because of my weird ankle and foot issues, so I have an entry for this year that’s either use it or lose it. I made a tentative training plan and reviewed it with Caroline and she gave me the go-ahead. The race isn’t going to be fast or pretty (I’m topping out at an 18  mile long run with a max of 35 mpw), but I only have 13 weeks between now and race day and my number one priority is to get to the damn start line without an injury! If I can keep myself healthy (how many times have I said that here in the last two years? I’m a broken — almost literally — record…) and get over this injury cycle hump, I’ll feel a lot more confident to actually tackle racing a marathon. But right now I’m setting my sights on just getting to the start line in one piece. There are no goals for race day except to finish in one piece, so I’m hopeful I can at least accomplish that.

So here we go, again…

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Jinx!

I should’ve known posting an Instagram picture saying “I’m back!” and writing a post about how I was finally at a good place with running would come back to bite me. That’s just how my luck goes (and often why I try to keep quiet on things for fear of jinxing myself).

If you follow me on social media, then you already know that I’ve been out with a (likely) femoral shaft stress reaction for just under three weeks. It all started on March 10th. I ran 11 miles after work on the 9th and felt fine. Went for a run on the 10th and also felt fine during… but as soon as I stopped I felt a weird sensation on the side of my right thigh. I chalked it up to tightness, took Friday off, and ran 11 miles on Saturday without issue. I carried on the following week pretty normally with some unspecified discomfort in my leg; I was never really able to pinpoint it, and it didn’t hurt enough for me to alter my gait or have to stop. I felt discomfort up more towards my hip at the end of the week, so I foam rolled and massaged myself to the point that I was bruised. I ran a 5k that Saturday and was fine.  Again, there was something there, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

I went for a run on Sunday and it was pretty uncomfortable, but I wasn’t sure if that was because I raced the day before. So I took Monday off, and did a speed workout on Tuesday. It still felt off, so I immediately started to panic. I decided to stop running (this was March 22nd), Googled non-stop for two days, tried poking and prodding to find the source of the discomfort, but I came up empty handed. Panicked, I called my doctor at the Women’s Sports Medicine Office at the Hospital for Special Surgery, and got an appointment to see her the following Monday (3/28). I had x-rays and talked to her… and nothing showed up on the x-ray (no surprise), so she ordered an MRI. She said it was possible it was a stress fracture, but it could also just be a deep muscle strain. The pain wasn’t in my hip (so we ruled out femoral neck or labrum issues), which actually put me at a slight advantage. I had my MRI that Wednesday, and then went back to the doctor to review my results on Friday.

We looked at the MRI together, as I pretended to have any clue as to what I was seeing on the screen as she scrolled to zoom in and zoom out. I’ve been through the “OMG I HAVE A STRESS FRACTURE” panic so may times before, and each time the results have been in my favor. This time, though, I wasn’t so lucky (but wasn’t completely unlucky, either). She said there was a little something that didn’t look quite right, but it wasn’t a fracture line, either. Both the MRI technician and my doctor had the same diagnosis — it was likely a stress reaction and even if it wasn’t, it should be treated as such. Whomp, whomp.

While I was disappointed to hear the diagnosis, I was also relieved. It meant that the discomfort I was feeling had an actual cause. More importantly, it meant I could put a plan in place to heal and get myself back to running again. Since I caught it early, my doctor ordered no running or high impact activity for three weeks. After that, she said I could try a run, doing a run-walk method to see if I had any discomfort during or after. At the time of my diagnosis, I had already been off my feet for a week and a half… in fact, I hadn’t done any physical activity since March 22nd (and was starting to go crazy). I was so thankful to have the green-light for other activities mostly for my sanity, but also so I could attempt to maintain some of the fitness I had finally started to gain back after my last running hiatus. Since my diagnosis on April 1st, I’ve taken three spin classes, swam once, did hot yoga once, and returned to Refine Method over the weekend. I also did a few at-home workouts focusing on my core and glutes, which always need work. And as of today, I only have two more weeks of no running before I can give it a try… which really isn’t that bad!

I’m really thankful that I was smart and stopped running as soon as things really started to feel off. I’m thankful that I have a lot of other workout options easily available to me. And I’m thankful this was only a stress reaction and not a stress fracture. While it’s troublesome that I wound up with this injury — I had blood work done this past weekend to see if there’s anything I can do with my nutrition to help, since the femur is such a big and strong bone — it isn’t a nail in the coffin for me. I am confident I’ll be able to run my fall marathons.

Onward an upward!

 

Tell me…
Have you ever had a stress fracture? Reaction?

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So… Do You Still Run?

Alternate title for this post: do you still blog?

The answer to both of these questions – I suppose – is yes, but I took a little break! I realized that after signing up and starting to train for marathon three years in a row only to wind up injured and out a race fee, a break was necessary. I’ve spent A LOT of money on race entries for races I never got to do and copays for doctor and physical therapy appointments. Not to mention all that time training only to have it cut short. Aside from the time and money spent, I’ve also had plenty of time to wallow in self pity and feel sorry for myself. Questioning whether or not I was “cut out for running” has been the theme for the last few years. But now that it’s been a full year of yo-yo running with my longest no running streak since I started in 2009, I’m ready to refocus.

Part of my problem – self inflicted of course – has been my obsession with running a marathon. Not because I like running them – and I like training for them even less! – but because at some point along the way I decided THAT was what would make me a runner. Thinking about it now that I’ve gotten out of my own head, I realize how silly that is. I can be a badass runner no matter the distance I train and race! But because I had this idea in my head that I needed to run a good marathon, I set myself up for repeated failure. I’d start to train, get hurt and take time off, get back to running and try to make up for lost time, and start the cycle all over again. Each time, my body cried out and I ignored it. Until this time.

If you’ve been following along, you know the last marathon I truly trained for (and even that was half-assed!) was Chicago 2012. I had plans to run Richmond in 2013, but issues with my sinus tarsi in my right foot forced me to drop to the half. I was able to spring board off of that and have a killer spring and summer where I crushed my half marathon and 5k PRs, but just under a month before the 2014 Philadelphia marathon I developed a really stubborn case of ITBS… and running hasn’t really been the same since. I got back to double digit runs by late spring 2015, but managed to develop sinus tarsi pain in my left foot this time. Being as stubborn as my previous ITBS injury, I knew Chicago 2015 wasn’t going to happen for me. So if you’re counting, that’s three marathons in a row I’ve been forced to DNS. Thankfully Chicago allowed me to defer to 2016. So, fourth time’s the charm?

I went to Chicago for the marathon this past weekend even though I wasn’t running. It’s one of my favorite cities and I knew a lot of people racing; it was a perfect excuse for a long weekend away. I spent all day Sunday cheering and being inspired. But I really never had a “I wish I was running a marathon!” moment. Instead, I just wanted to be running. That realization was a big shift for me. Since my last injury I’ve been afraid to start again. Worried I’d just be counting down to my next injury. Convinced I’d never reach the lofty but attainable goals I had once set for myself. But I can’t just quit something I enjoy because it’s been a bit of a struggle, can I? That’s not who I am as an athlete — I know I have some raw ability, but I need to work for it. I know what needs to be done, and I need to just start doing it.

So back to the title of this post: do I still run? Well, I haven’t consistently in a year. But that changed on Monday, October 12th when I decided it was time to stop being afraid and to get back to doing something I love – running. But it also marked a change in my approach. I am a HUGE planner and love to throw races up on my calendar… which is great until you get injured. So that’s the first thing I’m doing differently. I’m not signing up for any races. The only thing on my calendar is the 2016 Disney 10k and half marathon in January. There’s nothing else on my calendar and I plan to keep it that way. If something presents itself in a month where I can sign up the day before or day-of, I’ll consider it, but I’m otherwise not committing to anything. And nothing longer than a 10k. I also plan to spend more time focusing on ‘the little things.’ I think I’ve improved on that front during each running cycle, but it obviously hasn’t been good enough. I need to make the extras a priority. I’m hopeful that this new laid back but focused approach will work for me, and I can get back to a place where my relationship with running is more “on” than “off.” And besides, I know I’m a great cowbeller, but it’d be nice to get the cheers for a change!

So here’s to my comeback. One methodical step at a time.

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No More Marathons

Before I get into this post, I wanted to let you know my GoMacro Bar giveaway is closed. Go check it out and see if you’ve won! Anyway…

 

“I was hopeful I’d have a better update for you, but no such luck…” is how I started my latest e-mail to my awesome (and patient) coach, Jason of Strength Running. We’ve been working together since the fall of 2013 and he’s helped me put in the work to drop my half marathon time by nearly 10 minutes, my 5k by 3 minutes, and to just overall become a better and smarter runner. So I knew that he’d be just as disappointed to hear what I was about to tell him – I’m not going to be running a fall marathon… for the third fall season in a row.

I’m sure a lot of you saw me tweet last Friday that I was able to run 2 miles without any foot and ankle pain, which is true. However, a few hours after the run while sitting at my desk at work, I started to feel that all too familiar discomfort. It wasn’t terrible, but it definitely didn’t instill any confidence in me that I could run again the next day. With only thirteen weeks until the Chicago marathon start, I knew what I had to do. I had to pull the plug on marathon training.

If you’ve been following along, I had a killer spring and summer running season in 2014. I was pumped and ready to go for marathon training and it was well underway until ITBS came barging in at the end of September. By the middle of October I knew that my hopes for running (and crushing) the Philly marathon that November were gone. I spent the next two and a half months strengthening and going to PT and was ready to get back into it by late January. I started running again (albeit cautiously) and had a few decent workouts and longer runs. Then around the end of April/beginning of May I noticed a slight discomfort in my foot and ankle area after one of my longer runs. I didn’t think anything of it at first and was able to continue running without much issue. When it didn’t go away and started to get more noticeable, though, I realized it was time to take a little break; this was the end of May. It was at that point I realized I was dealing with the same issue I had in the summer of 2013, but I was hopeful I caught it early enough that I’d still have plenty of time to get back into marathon training. I did the take a week off, try to run, take another week off, try to run again cycle for a few weeks, and after running the Mini 10k and having my ankle swell afterwards, I went to the doctor. It’s not a stress fracture (which is great), but it’s not something I can run with, either. I can’t commit to training for a 26.2 race when I can’t get through a 2 mile run and not having pain during or after. Even if this completely clears up by next week (which I’m not holding my breath for), I don’t have a solid base to go into a rushed training cycle. With my track record, I’d wind up injuring something else either during training or on race day. It’s just not worth it.

So what does this mean? Well, it means I’ve wasted a whole lot of money [insert the flying money emoji here]! I’m obviously extremely disappointed and frustrated; this is now the the third season in a row that I’ve signed up for a marathon and will be unable to run it. And you know what they say about three strikes — you’re out. So I’ve committed to NOT signing up for any more marathons for quite some time. Once this current injury is gone, I’m planning to stick to the shorter stuff – I’m thinking 5k/10k revolution. Only after staying injury free for a while will I even entertain the idea of signing up for another marathon. At this point, my wallet and my sanity couldn’t handle it any other way.

That being said, I’m unsure if I’ll be in Chicago for the marathon or not. The hotel is already booked, I have a lot of friends running, and Chicago is one of my most favorite cities in the world. So I’m leaning towards using it as an excuse for a weekend trip and cheer session. Sure, it’ll be hard to be on the sidelines, but the deep dish pizza and beer will help make up for that.

In the meantime you can find me sweating it out at FlyWheel and Refine Method. Thank goodness for awesome cross training options.

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A Necessary (Running) Update

Remember when I said I was going to try and blog more frequently and consistently? Whoops. I had intentions of blogging but then this little thing called life got in the way, so blogging took a back seat (as usual). The good news is, though, I have a post scheduled for Friday with a giveaway!

Anyway, the title of this blog is called ‘a necessary update’ because last time we chatted, I mentioned some foot and ankle pain I was dealing with. I assumed it was my peroneal tendon and thought I’d be back in action sooner rather than later. Well, after running the Mini 10k with some friends on June 13th, I realized things weren’t so simple. I quickly made an appointment at the Women’s Sport Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery and spent the next two weeks panicking.

After my initial visit, my doctor wasn’t sure if I had a stress fracture or not, so she sent me for an MRI the following week with a follow-up scheduled for two days before my birthday – talk about a make or break diagnosis! When I went to the doctor initially I was sure I didn’t have a stress fracture, but after seeing her uncertainty I was then convinced I did. I wallowed in self pity, didn’t go to any Refine Method classes for fear of making it worse, and tried to figure out what the heck I was going to do with two fall marathons on my calendar (neither of which have deferral options).

My follow-up appointment was on Friday 6/26 and I’d like to think it was a combination of the gay fairies and birthday juju that gave me the answer I needed – no stress fracture!! Instead, my sinus tarsi is overworked and angry about it. So while I won’t be sidelined like I would have been with a stress fracture, I do need to take things easy. I’m started back up with Refine Method last week (thank goodness) and did a 15 minute run on Monday morning. Thankfully I’ve been able to do Flywheel without issue, so three to four classes a week has been my savior. I know that I have to continue to do more cross training than running for the interim and thankfully I got a lot of fitness gift cards for my birthday.

So what does this mean for my fall marathon plans? At this point, I’m not sure. As of this past weekend, the Chicago Marathon is 14 weeks away. So in theory, I still have some wiggle room and the ability to train for it. Sure, it may not wind up being the goal race I had envisioned back when I signed up, but that’s okay. Chicago is an amazing city and I loved every step of that race in 2012, so I have every intention of being there in October. The jury is still out on NYC Marathon, but we’ll see how the next few weeks go. Oh, and I’m running a beer mile on July 18th in Brooklyn… LOLZ for days on that one.

To sum it all up, I’m in a slightly better spot than I was two weeks ago, but I’m not out of the woods yet. So I’m going to keep my fingers and toes crossed and keep up with cross training. I’ve had a lot of moments where I want to completely throw in the towel, admit defeat, and break up with running. But I know there’s more to this relationship, even if it’s slightly abusive at times ;).

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Back to Running… Finally!

It’s been a long time coming, but I feel like I am finally able to confidently say I’m back to running consistently. For those of you that haven’t been following along, I developed IT Band Syndrome at the end of October while training for the Philadelphia Marathon and had to DNS. I then spent the next few weeks desperately trying to rest and strengthen on my own to no avail.

Eventually I went to Physical Therapy (which I continued to go to weekly for nearly two months) and that along with a combination of strength and cardio from Refine Method, cardio from FlyWheel, strength and centering from yoga, and additional PT exercises I finally started to run again at the end of December, albeit sporadically. By the time mid-January rolled around I had “graduated” from PT, partially because I had improved and was able to run 3 miles without pain, and partially because my insurance would no longer cover my visits (even though they barely did to begin with) because sports injuries weren’t included and being able to run over a mile isn’t considered an issue by insurance (which is fine for the average person… not so much for someone that identifies as a runner).

Graduation from PT gift!

Graduation from PT gift!

I started back with a base-building plan with the understanding that if anything felt ‘off’ or it just didn’t seem like a smart idea to run on a particular day or to cut a run short, I would. I made a conscious effort not to put any future races on my calendar for a fear of having to pull out of them and I plugged along, logging anywhere from 15 to 22 miles each week in the last month or so. And to say it’s been trying on my motivation to start running consistently at the end of January/beginning of February in the tri-state area would be an understatement. There have been plenty of days I haven’t wanted to leave my apartment, let alone run along the Hudson. Yet I’ve managed to get myself out the door more days than not, giving myself some leeway when needed, but always remembering in the back of my head that my goals aren’t just going to come to me.

I don't like you, winter.

I don’t like you, winter… even if you are pretty sometimes.

This week (if all goes according to plan) I’ll hit my highest mileage week since October 14-19 and will finally be ready to tackle a double digit long run next weekend! I’m also running a 5k race next weekend, but don’t have any actual plans to race. It’s the first race in my quest for the NYRR 9+1 so I can run the New York City Marathon next fall and I’m excited to pin on a bib for the first time since September. In addition to having my eye on a few NYRR races for spring and early summer, I’ll be running the Broad Street Run in Philly again this May with some of my good friends from college. So as long as I can keep myself healthy, I have high hopes of doing some great base building so I can finally tackle the marathon I’m capable of this fall!

Tell me…
Are you training through this cold & snowy winter?
What are your spring racing plans? 

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Marathon Pause

When I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon, still high off of my spring half marathon PR, I was ready to crush training and run the race I know I’m capable of running. I had plenty of time to train, a great coach, and enough dances with the 26.2 distance to know what was required of me. My schedule was going to be a little hectic with wedding festivities almost every weekend in September and October, but I figured if that was the only hiccup I would be able to manage. A wrench was thrown in when I wound up moving – which was both exciting because I’d finally be in a location I wanted, but stressful because moving is stressful! – but I still had every intention of racing the Philly Marathon. Well, sometimes life gives you lemons and lemonade all at once.

Training was getting done, but I wasn’t running the way I wanted to. I had to skip a few long runs/cut them short due to being just straight up tired, and others were a mental battle to not only get out the door, but to actually finish the prescribed distance (though oddly enough one of my best runs was an 18 miler during a downpour). With all the weddings, moving, working, and trying to train, I think my strength work suffered. So I wasn’t shocked when I noticed the all too familiar twinge outside of my knee after a quick but easy 4 miler at the beginning of October. I took a few days off with some extra strength work and foam rolling and everything seemed to be okay – I ran 17 miles last weekend, and had an awesome fartlek workout last Tuesday. But then this past Friday during my long run (which was moved due to a bachelorette party this past weekend), the little twinge outside the knee I had felt two weeks prior slowly but surely developed into a sharp pain. Dreaded ITBS had reared its ugly head on my left side (I had an issue with it this past January on my right side). I made it to 10 miles, stopped, and spent the next mile doing a little run/walk combination in hopes it would somehow just go away. It didn’t, so after a few expletives left my mouth, I had to walk two miles home.

It was during that two mile walk home that I knew I needed to let go of my hopes to run the Philly Marathon. The thought had crept into my mind when the pain first appeared, but I was hopeful I could still salvage things. But this was the nail in the proverbial marathon training coffin. There hadn’t been enough mileage put into the bank earlier, and the last thing I wanted to do was run yet another marathon that my goal was to just finish. The next time I train for and run a marathon, I want it to be the race I know I’m capable of running. I e-mailed Jason and let him know what was going on and he confirmed what I was thinking: I will not be running the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23rd. Or the half. There isn’t any running on my schedule for the next week, but starting tomorrow I’m getting back into strength work… and then I’m going to take it from there. I joked that maybe I should swear off marathons and Jason said I can’t just yet. So when am I going to attempt my next marathon? Who knows. Maybe this spring. Or maybe not until next Fall. But I know that I can’t let my dream of a successful marathon go just yet – I have visions of myself crossing the finish line with that goal time flashing on the clock and I get butterflies thinking about it. So it’ll happen… one day.

Of course I’m bummed, but I know that in the grand scheme of things it isn’t that big of a deal. I’d much rather deal with the pain now, rather than during the race! So, onward and upward!

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Omron Electrotherapy Review & Giveaway!

*UPDATE*: The giveaway winner has been chosen! And thanks to random.org, it was commenter #6 – Hollie!
[Hollie, I will e-mail you to get your info!]

Disclaimer: The Omron Elctrotherapy unit was provided at no cost to me. All views and opinions are my own.

It’s no secret that marathon training hurts. Usually it’s that “good kind of hurt” where you wake up in the morning, take those first few steps, and immediately remember the long run or hard workout from the day before. I always joke about it, but sometimes I really do feel like an old lady first thing in the morning! Of course this isn’t the case every day, but as runs get longer and workouts get harder, there’s no denying the residual soreness. I foam roll, ice, and spend plenty of time with my legs up the wall, but sometimes you just need a little something extra. So when I was given the opportunity to try an Omron Electrotherapy Unit, I couldn’t say no. Especially when they offered to provide my readers one as well!

Omron Electrotherapy Unit

The idea behind the electrotherapy unit is that it can provide nerve stimulation through electrical pulses, aka TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation). Depending on the problem area and the level of discomfort you’re experiencing, you can customize each session to fit your needs. The machine itself is small and very easy to use; it’s just like a remote control! And since it comes with two pads that can be placed almost anywhere, the uses are endless. Sore back? No problem. Cranky calf? Give it a zap!

I won’t pretend I wasn’t skeptical at first. I mean, could this little machine really make my muscles feel better? Well my quads were conveniently very sore a week ago, so I put it to the test. It was kind of fun to sit there and watch my my muscles involuntarily twitch (which is why I took a video of it, obviously). With each contraction and release I could feel my muscles relaxing. Now don’t get me wrong, it didn’t make my legs feel brand-new, but it definitely helped speed up the recovery process. I definitely think it’s a nice addition to any runner’s arsenal of recovery tools… or anyone who has lots of aches and pains!

Lucky for you guys, I have one to give away to a reader! All you have to do is leave a comment below and let me know your favorite recovery tool. You have until Wednesday (10/8/14) at 9pm EST to enter!

 

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Marathon Training: Fun Times Ahead!

Today marks the official start of my marathon training! In just 16.5 weeks I’ll be toeing the line at the Philadelphia Marathon and I can’t wait. I thought I’d do something different this training cycle and do weekly recaps to highlight how things are going. In the past I’ve been a little more hush-hush about my training, only posting it on DailyMile and a few Tweets here and there. I always assumed no one was really that interested in my training, but I always enjoy reading other people’s weekly recaps. So considering the work I know I’m going to be putting in, I thought it would be fun to share the journey with you!

Whenever someone talks about a big race, the next logical thing to think about are goals. So you’re probably wondering, what are my goals, exactly? Well, I’m not entirely sure… yet. Based on my half marathon PR from this past April, McMillan and similar race calculators suggest I can run a sub-3:30. Which, if we’re being completely honest, is terrifying. If you’re a regular reader, you know that my current marathon PR is much slower than that. I’m talking nearly an hour slower. While it’s true that PR was done on little training and is nearly two years old, it’s still scary to think I’m capable of running an hour faster. I mean, an HOUR? At a pace that not too long ago was a struggle during a half marathon? Yikes.

Regardless of what the online calculators say, I know I’m capable of a big PR, I’m just not sure how big. After my last marathon, my goal was to get in under 4 hours. Realistically, that’s still my number one goal. Without having any official marathon training and longer workouts under my belt yet, it’s difficult for me to say what my time goal(s) are beyond that. I have a great base, but I know that 20 mile long runs are a different beast from the 16 mile long run workouts I was doing for my half marathon this past spring. Would I like to BQ? Sure! But considering my initial goal was to just get under 4-hours, I’m not nearly as consumed with it as most people are… which I actually think is a good thing.

Since I’m yet to have a successful marathon training cycle, I’m actually looking forward to this one. We’ll see if I feel that way when I’m doing 18 mile workouts, ha! I know that right now I’m the strongest I’ve ever been as a runner and am confident that strength is only going to grow. Coincidence that my coach’s website is called Strength Running? I suppose not! Despite feeling strong, I know I have a ways to go. This training cycle is going to include a lot more strength work – core, hips, glutes, and making sure my always problematic feet and shins stay happy. I know it’s going to be time consuming, tiring, and I’m probably going to spend a lot of time being sore. Jason said he has some “fun” in store for me, but uses the term loosely… we’ll see how fun I think it is in a month! My ultimate goal is to follow my training plan 100%. This has always been my downfall when training, especially for a marathon. This past winter and spring was the first time – I think since I trained for my first half marathon –  I didn’t take any shortcuts or make a ton of modifications to my plan… which obviously paid off. Either way, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for an intense training cycle that will hopefully yield some big rewards!

Tell me…
Are you currently training for a marathon? Which one?

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