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Making Decisions

14 Apr

When training for a marathon (or half) you come across a lot of decisions you have to make. Sometimes there’s the small decisions like “What should I eat for dinner the night before a long training run?” or “Which flavor energy gel should I buy?” Then there’s the bigger decisions … the ones that can make or break your race day run.

Currently I’m dealing with the latter.

After last week’s failed 20-mile run, I knew I might be in trouble. Usually when my IT band starts hurting towards the end of a long run, I’m okay after some ice and a few hours. But this was “I just ran a marathon” pain, yet I had only run 12 miles. It hurt to walk on the beach the next day. It hurt to roll and stretch my right leg. It just hurt.

Tuesday morning I woke up for a 4-mile run in the morning. The first thing I did was stretch and immediately knew I wasn’t ready. I texted my group and went back to bed.

Wednesday night I went to yoga for a Hatha class. It felt like my instructor knew what I needed, and every muscle in my legs and hips were stretched. I felt amazing!

Thursday I woke up for a morning run and again stretched. I thought I was ready, and met my group for a 5-mile run. Three miles in, I felt that old familiar twinge and as we were nearing our ending point (a conveniently chosen Starbucks), I started to feel sharp pain. If you’re wondering why I didn’t walk it in as soon as I felt any pain, it’s because I was on a schedule. Not only did I have to go into work early that day, but I also had to pick up bagels for a friend’s birthday. If I walked it in, I would be late.

As that run was ending, I knew a second attempt at running 20 miles wasn’t going to happen today. I made the hard decision of skipping this morning’s training run.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the advice “It’s better to run undertrained and injury-free on race day than trained and injured,” and how many more times I’ve actually told fellow runners that.   Oh, how that’s easier said than done.

Not unfamiliar to IT band issues (I’ve blogged about my pains here and here and here and here and here), I know two things:

  1. The irritation might not go away before my marathon. It’s only three weeks away.
  2. But if I’m diligent with my icing, Advil-taking, stretching, rolling and strength training, I may delay the IT band irritation and limit how many miles I run in pain.

So I’ve made two decisions:

  1. No running for one week. That means I didn’t run this morning, and Tuesday and Thursday are out as well. I will do yoga, stretch, roll and strength train in it’s place.  On Saturday I may join my group for a short run.
  2. I am still running the Flying Pig Marathon!

Mind over matter. Who cares if I can’t run today? Who cares that my longest run this training season was just over 18 miles and it will have been over a month before race day?

I can let myself (easily) go down a road of self doubt or I can focus on the positive. I choose the latter. Before my right IT band acted up I had two great runs!

And I hope it makes all the difference on race day. Weeeeeeeeeeee!

Have you gone into a race undertrained and healthy and/or trained and injured? Tell me about your experience in the comments.

I could stand to be reassured that I’m not alone. 😉

Testing… 1, 2, 3, 4

23 Oct

Thug style

Yesterday morning I strapped on my ankle wrap (suggested by my doc and also a fellow runner), my kicks and hit the road for a quickie 2-mile test run. Aside from seeing if there was any pain or discomfort, I was looking to see if my injury was causing any change in my gait. The good news: I didn’t feel any pain during the run and my gait felt normal. The bad news: the lack of pain might have had something to do with my foot going numb approximately one mile in. I don’t think I loosened my left shoe enough to account for the brace so my circulation was cut off.

So this morning I strapped on my ankle brace, my kicks (looser on the left shoe this time) and hit the road for a quickie 4-mile test run.  The good news: I didn’t feel any pain during the run and my gait felt normal. The bad news: while exploring a new park near my house I ended up running through what seemed to be a never-ending swarm of gnats.

For what seemed to be forever (but was probably only 3 minutes), I had to run with my head down, my mouth closed and waving my arms around like a mad woman. If you’re wondering why I didn’t just turn around, the answer is simple. I thought to myself “surely this disgusting swarm of gnats is almost over” and by the time I realized this was not fact, it was too late. Retracing my steps or continuing forward was equal distance and there was no way around this swarm. Needless to say, I will not be returning to that park any time soon.

So after my two short test runs, I’ve decided to rejoin the ladies for our morning runs this week. After all, I am a marathon runner. I must run.

I must run. I am a marathon runner.

22 Oct

In a couple hours I am setting off for a short two miler to test how my tendonitis is doing. If all feels well, I’ll go on another short run with my group tomorrow morning.

On a related note, my boyfriend’s sister shared this YouTube video with me and it gave me a good laugh. Runners are so weird. 😉


Oh, and I am finally registered for the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon. This just got real real up in here.

And the Verdict is In..

18 Oct

The good foot doc confirmed that I have tendonitis!

Okay, I’m not excited about the having tendonitis part, but I am super happy it’s not worse. I’m to keep up my R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and up my dosage of anti-flammatories. Once my foot starts feeling better, I can ease myself back into running. I just have to remember not to dive back in, or I might find myself sidelined again.

(Happy dance)

Tendonitis Stinks

15 Oct

Just last month, I got to run 16 miles in New York City with a new friend. Sixteen miles in Central Park, and not a boring mile! It was absolutely amazing, and entertaining and everything I hoped it would be. The subway ride back to my hotel, however, was not quite as enjoyable for my poor legs. Nor was the full day of walking that I ended up doing.

My Route for the 16-miler in NY

And just three weekends ago I ran the Miracle Miles 15k here in Orlando. It was a hot morning and a quick reminder of how harsh Florida running can be in comparison to the cool New York running I had been doing for the past two weeks. I was dehydrated and ran a bit sluggish, but my legs felt fine.

My legs holding up just fine during the 15k

Then two weekends ago I ran/walked 15 miles of Sue’s Candy-Ass 50k Birthday Run. It was a birthday celebration, so of course, there were cupcakes. And red cups. I can neither confirm nor deny what was in those cups, but I’m certain we made Sue proud. It was around mile 11 that I started to feel the pain in my foot.

Me and My Group Leader Emily at Sue's Candy-Ass 50k Birthday Run

The day after the 50k I woke up with a pain in my left foot, just in front of the ankle and towards the top of my foot. After some good ol’ internet research, I self-diagnosed myself with a tibialis anterior tendonitis and have been on running hiatus ever since. And after two weeks of resting, icing and stretching I’m not seeing any improvement.

Right now would probably be a good time to point out that self diagnosis should be frowned upon. I agree. I frown at my own actions often. On Monday I’m calling a foot doctor that my friend recommended and I will have the good doctor confirm (or dispute) my diagnosis and beg them to help me get running again.

When was your training brought to a sudden halt by an injury? How long before you were back on the road? It’s only been two weeks for me, and I’m beyond restless.