Well, 22 miles turned out to be 17. It was cold and rainy. I had eaten only a couple of real meals since Monday. My digestive tract was still wonky. But Christy — who is coming off a sprained ankle to run Boston — and I pounded out 17 miles. At about mile 14 I started getting a little woozy, so I decided to run home, which, of course, was still 3 miles away. And, of course, the whole way home I was thinking, “Maybe I could gut it out for another lap around the park.” Between those thoughts was the more rational side of me saying that I’d be lucky to make it to the end of the block and to not be stupid by trying to get all those miles just for the sake of getting the miles.
I try not to be stupid most of the time, so home I went. And once I was there, I felt much better.
So I’m back up and running (<– I did that on purpose) just like old times. Only I still feel slow. And with the race less than 3 weeks away, I’m starting to be nervous. Do I really know how to do this? Does my body even remember how to run fast? I’ve put in lots and lots of miles these past 3 months — but not as many fast ones as I’d like. Nearly every run has been an “easy” slog pushing the stroller. What’s going to happen when I take that away?
I guess we’ll have to wait until April 21st to find out.
(The photo is from the last run I did before I got sick. I took Manchild to school and ran home over the Manhattan Bridge. I love this city.)
We have watched “Frozen” a couple of times.
We have watched “The Incredibles” a couple of times.
Little Miss has made herself very comfortable around the refrigerator.
Squish has been very comfortable playing Zombie Tsunami on the iPad.
And I have gotten . . . not so comfortable lying on the couch and taking naps at 8:30 in the morning. (When I’m not hanging out in the bathroom, of course.)
It wouldn’t be peak marathon training if there weren’t some sort of physical distress to prevent me from getting those peak miles in. Which is fine, I suppose. I’ve been surprised (and pleased) at how well training has gone so far. And a few days of a stomach bug is better than a few weeks/months nursing an injury. But I was really hoping and looking forward to getting those 57 miles in this week — and breaking 200 for the month.
Here’s hoping I’m up for my last 20+ miler tomorrow morning.
What are you up to this weekend? Any big plans? Or little plans? Or plans to just kick it at home?
I’m in my 4th week of Boston Marathon training and I’ve hardly said a word about it. Huh. Let’s fix that, shall we?
As I near the end of the first quarter of training these are my thoughts:
I’m totally killing this . . . except when I’m not.
I should be happy just to get to the finish line . . . but I think I could totally PR!
My legs are so tired . . . which means they’re getting stronger, right?
And finally, I think this may just be my last marathon for a couple of years.
I am so grateful to be able to run Boston this year. I am so grateful that I have friends to train with. I am so glad I don’t have to wake up early in the morning to run – even if I do have to take my kids with me instead. Running is my play. It’s where I find the energy to do all those other things I find joy in. And I am so grateful that I get to do this.
But it’s hard to be doing this and thinking that I could be doing it better. I could be running faster if I didn’t have the stroller. I could be putting in more miles if I didn’t have to schedule nap time for Little Miss. I could ignore that niggle in my knee if I wasn’t worried that it could sideline me during my peak training weeks. And when I think about the miles I am missing because I can’t push the stroller through the snow, or the speed work that didn’t get done because my legs are too tired from riding the bike over the bridge, or the number of times I had to walk up the hill last week because my legs and lungs just couldn’t do it – I just have to remind myself that I’m doing the best I can.
My heart is in it. I’m trying. I’m working hard.
And three months from today, when I’m standing at the start line in Hopkinton, I’ll remember that. And then I’ll just do my best. It may be my last chance. At least for a little while.
Never have the hills that define my hometown felt so wonderful as they did on Saturday morning.
We flew into Utah late Friday night on a flight I will say was not the best one I’ve ever taken (two spills, two fingers squished in the tray/table door, two times rocking Little Miss to sleep, one discreet clothes change on a sleeping child, and three children who were sleeping by the time we got to the gate – but who’s counting?). That, along with the fact that it had been two weeks since my last run, had me itching to get some miles in. And with our half-marathon just a week away, I really needed to give my IT band a test.
So after I put Little Miss down for her morning nap, I snuck out the door while the boys played with my brother and dad. I told them I was only going a couple of miles. Maybe five, if all went well. And off I went.
Down one hill, down another, then up and up and up and up. I may have stopped once or twice to “enjoy the view” (and catch my breath), or maybe take a picture. I hit the two mile mark without even a twinge. The three mile mark and still no pain. By four miles, when I finally turned to go back down the mountain, I was still feeling great. And as I rounded the corner back to my parent’s house and hit the five mile mark I could only feel bit of tingling if I really focused on my IT band.
I’m still hesitant to say that I’m healed. But another painless 4.5-miler today with my sister makes me think that at least I’ll be starting Saturday’s half-marathon without a nagging injury.
Let’s hope I end it the same way.
I had hoped that by a month after Boston I’d be good as new. Well, I hoped that by a week after Boston I’d be good as new, but I realized that wasn’t going to happen by Mile 3 of 26.2. And then I hoped that if I just took it slow, rolled my IT band a lot, and only went a few miles at a time, I’d be fine. And then thought I was fine, so I’d speed things up, or wear high heels, or do some other silly thing and, whoops! re-injure my IT band. Again.
The good news is that it seems to be a 2 steps forward 1 step back kind of thing. Or maybe 1 1/2 steps forward, 1/2 step back? I’m not quite sure of the ratio. What I do know is that is that I’m able to run just a little farther before I start feeling my knee again, and it feels “normal” just a little more quickly each time.
After last Tuesdays’ 5-miler, I felt good enough to attempt a 7-miler on Saturday. Or maybe I was just so inspired by the half-marathon taking place on my running route that I couldn’t help myself? Anyway all went well . . . until the next day when I randomly had pain shooting up my leg. It was as bad as it ever was and I nearly swore off running at all for an entire week (!!!) . . . but then I took a nap, got a really great night’s sleep and felt next-to-new by Monday morning. (Seriously, at some point Little Miss woke up and cried and I didn’t hear a thing. Micah brought her into bed and I had no idea she was there until she started crawling on my head in the morning. It was fabulous.)
And once again, I am seriously tempted to declare myself cured since I’ve been pain free for over 24-hours. But I’m beginning to see the pattern here. And I think it’s time I really give my knee a rest. For more than a couple of days.
Thankfully that does not preclude me and Micah getting up at 6:00 to get our trash kicked by burpees and mountain climbers. The good news is that our iron strength workout is not as hard as it was the first time. I can almost do 3 sets of burpees before my jump looks more like a shrug – but that doesn’t mean that I like it. Still, it’s better than nothing. And I’m hopeful that it’ll keep me from entirely falling apart before our half-marathon in less than 3 weeks. Maybe it’ll even help that knee of mine heal for real.
I decided to wear the anti-mom outfit on Mother’s Day. You know, the kind with the super cute skirt that restricts my stride just enough to make it slightly annoying – but completely bearable because, well, it’s super cute. And the heels that I can walk well enough in, but only because I brought another pair to change into when my feet started hurting. And the blouse that makes me think for a minute or two before I can decide on the best way to nurse my baby while still wearing it. That kind of outfit.
I felt great in it. I really did. Even as I tottered down 2 flights of stairs with a baby on my hip to dispose of a dirty diaper, my thought was totally worth it. If I have to endure Mother’s Day, I might as well do it feeling like a woman and not a frumpy mess.
But I had second thoughts about it being worth it later in the day, long after the heels had been put away and the skirt discarded in favor of something more “family friendly,” when my IT band let me know it didn’t appreciate my wardrobe. This was especially discouraging because I’d been on a 4 mile (very very very very very rainy: see photo above) run earlier in the week in which I had hardly felt it at all. And after walking for miles on Saturday and test driving a couple of bikes with no pain, I had almost convinced myself that I was healed and good to resume normal training.
I was wrong. I’m not exactly back to square one, but . . . sigh . . . I’m still injured. I’m swearing off heels for a while. And buddying up with my waterbottle/roller. And getting up with Micah to get our trash kicked by jump squats and burpees. And still running when my mental health depends on it. Like it did this morning.
I’ve got 4 weeks until that half-marathon. The only goal right now is to be pain-free at the start line.
My water bottle has been a little bit of a lifesaver this week. Not for it’s helpfulness in keeping me hydrated, of course, but for it’s cylindrical shape and it’s hardness. Stainless steal is the way to go, I believe, when the foam roller just isn’t cutting it any more. Who needs a rolling pin when they have a Klean Kanteen?
So, no, my IT band has not entirely healed. But it feels pretty good most of the time. I took most of the week off, once again, but went out for a 5-miler on Friday just because my brother was in town and could watch the kids while I went out in the middle of the day. I had to take advantage of the free babysitting somehow. And then on Saturday I went out again. Actually, we went out. The whole fam. It was our inaugural family run of the season and while it was a little slow than usual while we figured out how Manchild was going to handle riding along on his bike, we did it and that’s what matters.
We celebrated our accomplishment by playing Ultimate with some friends in the park. I have very little experience with team sports, and I’m never very comfortable out on the field. It always takes me a while to 1. work up the courage to get out there and 2. realize that nobody cares how often I drop passes as long as I’m making an effort. And once I do that, I generally have a good time. By the time we had to quit, I was feeling pretty good about life. I’m not quite ready to say it was anything like intervals or speedwork of any kind, but it was fun and it was different – a needed break from thinking about pace and mileage.
This week, I haven’t been worried about running much in general. I’ve been having fun, enjoying the weather, and letting someone else set the pace for a while.
“There’s nothing worse than a weak-butted runner.”
Nothing. A weak-butted runner is the worst. Or so I’m told by the man who hosts the workout video Micah and I dragged ourselves out of bed for at 6:00am on a Monday morning to participate in. And after 20 or so minutes of jumpsquats, plyometric lunges, rotating planks, and push-ups I thought, “No. He’s wrong. There are worse things than a weak-butted runner. Like trying not to be a weak-butted runner.”
Still, we persevered through pain and the humiliation of not being able to do even one proper sit-up or burpee and were rewarded for our efforts by not being able to move without pain all day today.
And actually, the worst part is that I’m kind of excited to stop being sore . . . so that we can do it again.
Because remember how Micah has been nursing injuries for nearly 2 years? And how we’re running a half-marathon in just over a month? Well, we’re hoping that adding a little strength-training to the mix will help him to even his body out so he can run without getting hurt. I’m hoping for the same thing. I feel pretty blessed/lucky to have only had a little bit of IT band syndrome going on, but if I can do something to help me to not have IT band syndrome going on, then I think I want to do it.
If it gives me a strong butt on top of that, I am all in.
I’m hoping to resume a more normal running schedule in the next week or two, but this past week I’ve still been trying to “rest” and let my IT band heal so that I can bend my knee without pain. But resting is not something that comes easily when I have a lot of walking to do to get Squish to and from school, or to play with friends, or to go anywhere and do anything. Resting is also not something that comes easily when my friend who is training for the Brooklyn Half invites me to come along with her on a run. I rationalized that it would be slow (she just finished up cancer treatments and is blowing my mind with her determination to run at all, let alone a half marathon) and that it wouldn’t be too far . . . but 7 miles later I realized that I’d miscalculated. (I also rationalized going for a “run” with Manchild, but seeing as how he’s still working up the stamina to make it around the block without walking, I think I’m okay there.)
Still, my knee continues to feel better. I haven’t felt it at all today, but I’m not sure if that is because it is healing or because the soreness of the rest of my body detracts from the pain in my knee.
And we’re down to the last week of training. This time next week I’ll be posting a recap of the race, going over things that went well and things that maybe did not go so well. I hope there are fewer of the latter than the former.
I didn’t run a lot last week. The first two days I took off to let my knee heel. By Wednesday it was feeling well enough that I took it for a 5 mile test run. I felt my knee, but it wasn’t painful. I went out the next day for a shorter run: 3 easy miles followed by 1/2 mile of “strides” – sprinting for about 20 seconds, then recovering briefly, again and again. That also felt good, so I squeezed in my last “long” run on Saturday. It was a 10-miler, but barely into my 3rd mile I had the crazy idea that I wanted to go fast, just for a little bit. I ran the rest of the mile nearly as fast as I could. Right after I finished that mile and slowed to “normal” pace, I thought that might have been a bad idea. But I finished the run feeling stronger and more confident and decided it wasn’t a bad idea at all.
I’m continuing to take it easy this week and to pay special attention to anything that doesn’t feel quite right: is there anywhere on my feet where my shoes might rub? I make a note so I can be sure to tape that area before the race. How do my clothes feel? Are my legs feeling tired? I’m taking it all into account with the hope that even if I can’t prevent every niggle, at least I know what I’m getting into.
It’s also time to think about carb loading – ideally I should be eating mainly carbs Friday-Sunday to fill my muscles with fuel so I don’t hit the wall. Carb-loading seemed to work pretty well for me last race, and I hope to do an even better job of it this time around. But we won’t know how successful I am until Monday afternoon.
My goals this week, instead of mileage or speed, are to sleep enough, eat well, and stay off my feet as much as possible. Wish me luck!
Ah. Last week before the taper. I knew it had to be a good one. The trick was my knee, which, as you may recall, has been a little stiff. I think it’s my IT band, and I think this happens every time I train for a big race. I’m not super worried about it, but it does mean that I need to be extra careful with my miles. So careful is what I tried to be, with varying degrees of success.
I must have slept well or something on Sunday night because I felt great on my Monday 6-miler. Not so much Tuesday. In fact, I cut the run short at 3 miles because my knee was giving me grief. Not worth the risk! I told myself. It’s better to be able to run the race at all than to train my legs off . . . and then not have any legs to run on. I felt smart about that, and I told myself I was being smart by skipping my Wednesday speed workout, too. I probably was, but then I felt bad about being smart so I went out on Thursday and accidentally got into a race that ended up turning my easy run into a nice tempo run. This girl and I were going at a decent clip, she was a step or two ahead of me. When we got to the top of the hill she maybe sort of let me pass . . . ? but I had to go home, so I went a different way and I’ll never know who would have won. Darnit! The nice thing is that my knee felt fine. The other nice thing is that I got in a good speed workout in which boosts my confidence going into the race.
Finally, my long Saturday run. I wanted to get at least 20 miles in and I wanted itnot to kill me. I wanted good vibes going into the race. And I’m pretty sure I nailed it. I ran 21.25, and upped the pace for the last few miles just to prove to myself that I could turn up the heat at the end. I don’t know if I will actually be able to do such a thing on race day, but maybe it’s an option. Besides Saturday being a beautiful non-snowy day, I think I benefited from actually fueling myself during my run. I downed 3 GUs (one at mile 6.5, another at mile 13, the last at mile 18) and sipped water the whole time. Smart move, Lizzie. Turns out, it’s a lot easier to run if your tank isn’t empty.
So the run went well. But my knee did not love it. It was very stiff and painful the rest of the day. I could hardly bend it on Sunday (not so good when navigating staircase after staircase . . .). I seriously thought that my next run might be when I toe the line in Boston, and even then it would only be with some pain killer in my back pocket. But just before I went to bed on Sunday, my knee made a miraculous leap in its range of motion. And then it made another one yesterday. So I’m hopeful I’ll get at least a few miles in before race day, but I’m mostly just grateful to have gotten that last long run in. I needed it.