Sunday, September 26, 2010

Touch & Go

Although I was able to run more this week than I have in a month, I still can feel a little tweak between my glute and hamstring. With two weeks to go I am certain that I'll be on the starting line - but it's more than a small mystery what will happen after the gun sounds.

I probably made a mistake by running a 17 miles with Kevin Shirk - the best runner in Winchester. He dropped me about 12 miles into the run - after 14 I jogged it in. Not exactly a confidence builder.

I have to rely on the fact that the miles I put in this summer and the training I've been doing the last few years will be there when I need it - say, around the 20 mile mark. The mystery of the marathon is part of the allure - I'll have a little more than I bargained for on 10/10/10.

Last Week
Monday: 45 minutes bike
Tuesday: 6.5 miles
Wednesday: 13 miles
Thursday: 7 miles
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: 6.5 miles
Sunday: 17 miles
Total: 54 miles

This week
Monday: 7 miles
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday morning: 4 miles
Wednesday evening: 12 miles 2X2mi Tempo 2 min rest
Thursday: 10.5 miles
Friday: 6.5 miles
Saturday: 14 miles 2X(3mi easy 3 mi tempo)
Sunday: 8 miles
Total: 66 miles

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thank you Andrew Dunlop, Stewart Adams, John Nicholson, Jeff Wilson, & Colin Burrows

These men created one of the great wonder drugs of the 20th century - Ibuprofen. I'm not a pill popper - but as I tested out my glute and hamstring on a run last Friday I thought I'd try taking ibuprofen afterwards. I woke up the next morning actually feeling better (why didn't I do this 2 weeks ago!). I ran again on Saturday even further - while taking ibuprofen three times during the day. I felt good enough Saturday evening to decide I should try to run my planned half-marathon on Sunday. I had run a total of 45 miles over the last 18 days - hardly anything - but I felt that my elliptical and stationary bike workouts had maintained most of my fitness.

On Sunday morning I still felt a little tight - but the sharp pain in my right glute had dulled. I figure that the inflammation must have been pushing up against a nerve. In both the massages I had since the problem first started they said that my left hamstring/glute was actually tighter than my right - most likely this means that the inflammation was entirely the problem - there wasn't any real muscle damage as I had feared.

As I was warming up, feeling the excitement of such a large race, there was a little part of me that thought - "hey, let's just see what happens out there - maybe you could still break 70 minutes!" I quickly nipped that in the bud. Today was about finding out what 2:30 marathon pace (~5:40 per mile) felt like for 13.1 miles. As the race started I stayed relaxed - I really had no idea what I was running pace wise - but I knew that I needed for it to feel pretty easy. The first mile was 5:36 - not bad. For the next several miles I yo-yoed between high 5:40's and high 5:30's. I'm not sure if this was due to my lack of running recently - or if the markers were off a bit.

I felt pretty comfortable up until around 10 miles - after that point I was able to keep the pace fine - but it was more of an effort than I should have been feeling if I were running a full marathon. I ended up finishing in 1:14:36 - probably just about what I would want to go through the half-way point at Chicago.

The plan for this week will be to get my legs back under me without doing anything too crazy. I'm planning on running 63 miles this week which is more than I've run in the last three weeks combined - but it's half of what I ran five weeks ago (how quickly things can change) - so it should be fine. I'm going to keep up the ibuprofen regimen for a few more days - although this morning I don't seem to have any problems with my right glute/hamstring. I'm pretty sore otherwise - but that should be expected since I haven't had anything close to the effort I ran yesterday in quite awhile.

Last Week
Monday - Wednesday All bike and elliptical (45 minutes - 1 hour 20 minutes)
Thursday: 3 miles mixed in with elliptical
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: 7 miles
Sunday: 17 miles - Philadelphia Rock & Roll half-marathon 1:14:36
Total: 31 miles

This Week
Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: 6.5 miles
Wednesday: 10.5 miles
Thursday: 7 miles
Friday: 6.5 miles
Saturday: 18 miles 2X(5 miles easy 3 miles tempo)
Sunday: 10.5 miles
Total: 63 miles

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Battered but not beaten

My right glute/hamstring continues to be an issue. I can't seem to run more than 30 minutes without significant soreness/tightness the next day. So - I'm going to focus on the elliptical and stationary bike for the next 4-5 days + yoga + deep tissue massage + epson salt soak. I have done this before - which gives me some confidence. Fifteen minutes after taking the photo above of Positano, Italy - I lost control of my rented scooter and banged up my knee in 2002. It was a month before I was going to run the Frankfurt marathon. I couldn't do really any running for that month - but I was on the bike almost everyday. I wasn't even sure that I'd make it 26.2 miles the day of the marathon - but after starting conservatively I started feeling stronger and stronger as each mile went by. The result was a 2:36 - my PR at the time which I didn't beat until Boston in 2009
Even though I was younger - my volume has been higher this summer than it was in 2002 and I feel like I'm a better marathon runner now. Marathons are strange beasts - even though I'd rather not be injured right now - the rest might even do me some good. Regardless I need to just do the best with the cards I've been dealt and show up on 10/10/10 ready to go.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The lost week

This is not the post I wanted to write five weeks out from Chicago. The glute/hamstring issue I mentioned last week got worse. On Monday I ran for a couple of blocks before deciding that it wasn't going to happen. Tuesday I made it five minutes. Wednesday I ran 10 miles - 7 of them completely agonizing. Thursday I finally got a massage and decided that I needed to take it easy for a few more days. Saturday I made it 20 minutes on a stationary bike before the glute started to tighten up. Yesterday I felt better and ran 4 miles. Today I woke up early to do Yoga - which I think helped a little and ran 10 miles without much pain.

I modified my mileage downward this week - but if it actually goes as planned I'll be more than a little surprised. The 10 miler was decent today - but I still have some tightness. Right now I'm going through the awful calculations of figuring out how much fitness I would lose by not running vs. the chances that it will go away while I'm running. For now I'm going with the strategy of running and stretching/yoga. But that could change.

I knew that my training plan for Chicago was risky given that I've never run this many miles before. But I figure that's the only way to improve, so I'm not sorry that my volume was so high. Now I just have to play it day-by-day and figure out what plan gives me the best chance of being on that line on 10/10/10 in the best shape possible. I'm going to put off posting my plan for this week until I get a good feel for whether I'm going to get out of this hole. Wish me luck.