Heart on my Sleeve
It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote an entry here, partly because I really didn’t want to post something that came across as negative as I’ve been feeling. I really have hit a bumpy section in the road (pardon the pun)! It has taken me by surprise to be honest because I am utterly in love with running, training and I think I am pretty positive and ‘happy go lucky’ but this last couple of weeks has really tested me. We had a week of snow, which meant that juggling the children being home from school, and running (in icy/ snowy conditions), would have been a nightmare, so perhaps it was a blessing in disguise that I was taking some time off that week because the ball of my foot was giving me issues. SO you could say that my forced short break from running was well timed. For those of you that haven’t been following my story so far, this was not a running injury but a sore foot as a consequence of badly planned footwear on a family walk at Christmas time but continued running on it had made it worse. Anyway, the week it snowed I took a week off (aside from the tester 2 miles on the treadmill that I couldn’t resist midweek – just to check out how it was feeling) and I went back to running distance the following Sunday with 20 miles logged on the treadmill in the gym. Not only my longest run on the treadmill, but also my longest run ever! It definitely made me feel like I was back on track and thankfully – no foot pain! Woo hoo! I really felt on top of the world.
Despite it being a really busy time with the running group I’m involved in, (which has been really exciting) and also with my own training, I have tried to spend some time reading about running, injuries, and the best way to maintain aerobic fitness whilst staying off my feet. So I’ve been trying to toy with my running plan and fit in more cross training and yoga as well as the strength training that I am a big fan of and have been pretty regular with for a while now. There is no doubt, even with my relatively flexible schedule, it is a juggling act fitting it all in! However, I have discovered water running, and given it a try. Here’s some recent information I found so if you are interested in the benefits of water running or harboring an injury and not sure what to try, this might be worth a read: -
I gave it a go and it was tricky in a 4(ish) foot deep pool to get the form correct without impacting my foot on the bottom of the pool. I think it would be better for me to do it in a much deeper pool and I will probably give it another go sometime at another local pool. It has to be said though, water running does not give me that runner’s high and clearly, it isn’t ever going to as it is just not quite the same as running with the added resistance of the water and consciousness of form required to gain the most out of the workout rather than being able to just lose myself in my own thoughts, the scenery I’m passing or just enjoying the conversation I’m having when running in company. BUT, in my opinion, it is definitely worth doing if you have no other option or you NEED to rehabilitate.
My wonderful MRTT running friends have been looking out for me and have been giving me books to read and offering me advice, telling me I’ll be okay and also encouraging me to have the confidence to change my plan (something I was reluctant to do at this stage of the game to be honest just because I’ve come so far, but their support and reading several different plans has made me realise that what is right for one runner, certainly isn’t for the next and so with so many out there, jiggling around with mine isn’t the end of the world. I’ve currently got Train Like a Mother, Run Less, Run Faster and The Big Marathon and Half Marathon Guide on the go and all have offered interesting and comforting information so if you are not sure that what you are doing is right, it is worth consulting the running Gods that have been there, done that and ‘earned’ the t-shirt, several times over. All this might seem a bit of an overreaction for just a sore foot but I am very aware that something quite small can very quickly turn into something quite big, and consequently, with overtraining can turn into a marathon preventing injury.
SO where was I? 20 miles done with 7 weeks to go and I felt I was back on track, no pain and all seemed good. Decided to trade my easy 4 mile run on Monday for Yoga and 4 miles on the cross trainer instead and plan to maintain that until d-day so that I essentially have two easy/ rest days instead of only one as my original plan allowed me. Yoga on Monday felt great and I actually felt so well stretched afterwards that I am sure my run was better the following day. I also did better with some of the balancing poses than I did in my first class (need to get photographic evidence sometime)!
I ran 7.5M on Tuesday with MRTT mamas and it was COLD – in fact I felt my nose tingling for most of the day! I wore 2 pairs of #C-WX compression tights, vest top, long sleeves base layer, half zip and a hooded brooks jacket as well and I was NOT hot, or even over-warm at ANY point!
Wednesday was a 2 hr delay for the children and so running that morning was out - again. Thursday I decided to do Bodypump (Love, love, love it and really recommend it for runners). I definitely feel strong when I am consistent about fitting it in each week and I do notice the difference if I miss it for a week or two. Anyway, after Bodypump on Thursday, I jumped on the treadmill to do intervals afterwards and truly – it was an EPIC fail! In fact, I thought I was going to cry! I just didn’t have anything left in me – I couldn’t even do a mile without stopping a couple of times. I really did feel a pathetic. It is the first time it has happened that I set out to run and just couldn’t. So I logged a nice round mile (you runners KNOW you would do the same) and gave it away for the day hopping off and heading home. Have you ever felt like that?
Friday came and went and I did some core work but left running to the weekend as Friday is my usual rest day anyway. Saturday I ran 7 miles, again in the great company of my Moms RUN this town group again. I wasn’t running particularly fast for me – again L all these breaks aren’t doing ANYTHING for my speed, but I was just thankful to be out there and not sat feeling frustrated at home! The temperatures were pretty good too but although most of the trail was clear, there were vast swathes of bumpy icy patches. My foot was feeling great, no pain the ball of my foot at all and it was just such a relief, the rest was obviously what I needed – I HAD done the right thing by easing off BUT as I came down a hill (not unusual I run up and down this particular one regularly), something twinged in my right ankle. I panicked immediately. I did slip ever so slightly on the bumpy icy patches I mentioned but because I didn’t actually fall I didn’t think too much of it. Unfortunately I felt it for the rest of the run. I have never had any issues running with my right ankle but I did have full bone graft surgery in this ankle when I was 14 so potentially, it is a weak point; so once again, I was thinking I am going to have to play it safe again. Ugh!!!! I truly can’t believe it!! How utterly frustrating! I iced and elevated it for the rest of the day but woke on Sunday and was aware it was sore as soon as I got up so Sunday’s run, which was meant to be 12/13 miles did not happen at all.
There is no doubt; this last couple of weeks has been a real roller coaster both physically and emotionally. I think my focus for the Marathon is heading for change. I did have a time goal, perhaps wrongly, what can I say, I am human and ambitious! I’ve read so many times that as a first time marathoner, you should just concentrate on finishing and remaining injury free and now I am beginning to see why. Training, particularly through the winter, is hard! Not JUST because it’s FREAKING cold outside, although that IS part of it of course, but also because the cold causes lots of other issues; it is hard on your muscles, running on ice and snow is tricky and obviously there is the choice of risking injury and running outside when it is icy and/ or snowy or doing long runs (like my recent 20 miler) on a treadmill – hard because it’s B.O.R.I.N.G! It can also be pretty tough to fit all this around an ever changing family schedule because of travelling husbands and plentiful school closures!
So its Tuesday again and I am trying to stay positive and active and find thing to keep my cardio going so that I can play it safe and rest my ankle. So this week so far, no running & lots of gym workouts. Here’s what I’ve been up to:
Swimming - 66 lengths freestyle followed by 1 hr/ 6miles on the X trainer.
Felt great after my swim – its been MANY years since I’ve been able to do as many lengths of just pure freestyle without having to regularly interchange with less exhausting breast stroke. That’s all down to the fitness I’ve gained from running so I was really pleased with what I achieved and enjoyed a relax in the hot tub afterwards. Bliss. :-)
1 hr spin class followed by
This is me - looking a bit knackered after spin - before Bodypump....
I keep reminding myself of this but truthfully, getting serious, for me, is the easy part! I think if you don't take marathon training seriously - well, just not sensible in my opinion so if you are winging it, good luck with that!
Staying positive is usually easy too because that runners high is so addictive but it has been a bit more tricky over the last couple of weeks when I feel like I'm on edge waiting to get back to where I want to be - I keep remind myself though... one step at a time, patience, I will get there. I WILL!
What I can fit in tomorrow will depend on whether the kiddoes are at school (again), since I hear chatter of freezing rain and possible delayed openings – Joy! I’d like to head out for a short slow run to see how my ankle holds up but failing that, Thursday. Watch this space! I’m excited to get out there again. Fingers crossed!
Less than 6 weeks to go and with what feels like a GIANT break in my plan… I can’t help wondering, will I be ready?! I really REALLY hope so – I think my poor hubby feels like he’s dealing with a hormonal obsessive teenager with all these ups and downs!
Has anyone else had a similar setback before a marathon? If so, how did you deal with it?
Does not being able to run (for whatever reason), make you want to climb the walls with frustration or can you find other things to keep you mind otherwise occupied?
I feel like the weeks are disappearing before my eyes and I REALLY want to be at my best (of course, who wouldn’t)… roll on this weekend and pray my ankle doesn’t get any worse - I miss my runners high!