Less Racing, More Training

After the Boilermaker 15K, I didn’t have any upcoming races. Obviously I have the BAA Half Marathon on October 8. And I’m planning to run the inaugural Salem Road Race (a 10K). Last night I decided run a 5K along the Charles with a few DFMC teammates and next week there’s another small 5K around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, but otherwise no big races planned for a bit. So that means rest? Nope, it means training!

Last year, the first half of my 12-week half marathon training program went great, but then I had one bad run and a couple of insane weeks at work (I’m talking 80-hour weeks, with two 16-hour days) and then it got SO HOT and would not let up, and I didn’t train as well as I would have liked. I also had a pretty bad hamstring injury about 4 weeks before the race, and refused to acknowledge it until afterward. So I wasn’t at my best for the half (nor was I at my best for the marathon – thanks to my arch issues and bronchitis), but I really want to do better this year.

So I’m training.

After the Boilermaker 15K, I took a full week off. The following Sunday, I did 4 miles. I felt good on those 4 miles, but as this was my first official “long run” of training, I slowed it down to a 10:13/mile. I was supposed to run on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but not one of those runs happened. Instead, I played softball on Tuesday, fell asleep after work on Wednesday, and tried not to die from heat stroke on Thursday. It has been so dang hot here lately. On Friday, I finally broke down bought a window AC unit for the living room. I draped a plain white sheet in the doorway that separates the living room from the rest of the apartment, and even those 5,000 BTUs managed to get the living room thermometer down from 93 to 76.5 in a few hours. AMAZING.

20170722_093801Finally feeling cool and refreshed, I got up early on Saturday and logged 5 miles. Erroneously, it turns out. I was only supposed to do 4 – but I’ll take the 5. It was hot out, even at 8am. I ran down Heartbreak Hill, headed south to Newton Centre, then came back up Beacon Street to the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and then home again. It’s one of my favorite routes. Beacon Street is mostly uphill, but not nearly as uphill as Heartbreak. And it ends nice and flat around the reservoir. I was a tad slower (my brother cooked us burgers the night before and I had 2 beers – not quite the pasta & grilled chicken + maybe 1 beer I had planned). My pace was a 10:25. I took my first true ice bath of the season, complete with a 5lb bag of ice.

The next morning, I went to a free outdoor barre class – and the first barre class I’ve ever done. Barre normally takes place in a studio with use of a ballet “barre” but since this was at a park, we only had yoga mats and our body weight to work with. It was still incredibly intense. Nothing was hard per say, but my legs were quivering almost the entire class. Things were wobbling that I didn’t even know existed. I had originally planned to walk the 1.5 miles to Trader Joe’s afterward, but I opted to walk .75 miles back home to my car and drive instead.

When I woke up on Monday morning, my legs were screaming. But it wasn’t until a few hours later, after I’d been sitting for a while at work, and I got up to get more coffee that I realized just how sore I was. I was walking like I had crapped my pants. I was still walking like that on Tuesday! Yet somehow, I managed to get in a 3-mile run on Monday after work. I knew it would loosen me up, and clearly I learned that the muscles I used during barre are NOT the muscles I use while running, so I figured I couldn’t make it any worse.

20170724_174930
After my soggy Monday run.

Since the marathon, I’ve been telling myself I need to kick my tape habit. Ever since that bone popped out of place at Mile 5 of my 20-mile training run in March, I’ve been taping the arch of my right foot for every run. My PT told me I could eventually start weaning myself off, but my foot actually hurts pretty much all day, every day. I know, I know. This is not normal. After the half, I plan to take time off. Like, 6 months if that’s what it takes. I plan to go to PT and actually do the at-home portion and bike/swim/any other cardio besides running and oh also I don’t know, maybe lift some weights for once? But for now, I’m running through the pain. But I wanted to see if for a shorter run, I could go without the tape. So I ran without the tape.

Around 3/4 of a mile into my run, the pain was bad. By Mile 1 I was trying to decide between turning around and heading home, or trying to keep going. I could always walk home or call an Uber. Instead, I chose to keep going. I tried to find ways to favor my foot (I know, this is bad), but nothing helped so I just ran through the pain. It was bad. Like, 8 out of 10 bad. I tried to distract myself thinking about everything but the pain, and that seemed to work. I was now running down a huge hill, but knew I had a big uphill coming. By Mile 1.75, the pain was back down to a 3 or 4. It was manageable and I knew I would make all 3 miles.

I finished with a 9:42 average pace – a tad slower than my shorter runs have been, but still decent. These days, I’m happy with anything under 10:00.

On Wednesday, I was feeling good all day but my run did not go well. I taped myself to be safe, but had terrible tightness in the back of my ankles and low calves. It forced me to stop several times, and I eventually gave up after just over 2.5 miles. I knew I was racing the next day, so I wasn’t too hard on myself, but I think all this sitting at work when I am used to walking around a lot and having access to a standing desk is taking its toll on my body…

20170727_195613Last night’s 5K was uofficially my fastest ever. I ran with my DFMC teammate, Greg, who is much faster than me but I kept up with him the whole time (he slowed down, too). We ran side-by-side (or face-to-back) until the very last 0.3 or so, in which he was only about 10 feet in front of me. My watch said 28:30 but only counted it as 3 miles instead of 3.1, so I’ll be interested to see what my official time was. I felt surprisingly fine during and after – I was definitely pushing it but never felt like dying – except I did have that same tightness in my lower calves again. Time to do some stretching! Also, my right foot was completely numb for the final half-mile. Not sure what that was about, but all feeling returned as soon as I finished. The race ends with a BBQ and free Harpoon beer, so I enjoyed a few UFO Huckleberry beers and one Harpoon IPA before I called it a night around 9pm. These races are held the last Thursday of the month from May to September, and I’m hoping to make it to the next 2. It was fun!

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