Well, I actually ran Feb. 24th and 25th and then 5 more days in a row, but you get the idea.
After the 10 mile time trial, I was tired, had moderate soreness, but was generally pleased with the condition I seem to be in. Furthermore, I had adjusted my plan to run on Sunday, which is usually a rest day. Then, Week Nine began and knowing I’d be taking 2-3 days off the following weekend, I decided to just keep it going through the week and run every day.
look Ma’, no gaps!
However, although the running progressed well, I was in not the best state by Wednesday.
First of all, Monday was a hard hill interval sandwiched by 2 three miles runs. While I only had 10 x 2 minute hills on the plan, I was keen on getting more miles in, to make up for the missing long run this weekend. Unlike last time, I also did the run outside. In fact, the chance to run outside in the sun despite sub-zero temps was one of the ways I could motivate myself to get out the door.
It turned out to be quite great, with just the right amount of tiredness without feeling dead afterwards. However, I was noticing the soreness in my butt a lot more, and it was starting to become more clear that it was coming from my lower back, so one can say I was pushing it from the niggle into the injury department. However, I had called and scheduled an appointment for Wednesday, so I know it couldn’t be too long before I’d have a clear diagnosis and plan for treatment.
Tuesday found me more sore than ever and not motivated at all to go further than 3 miles, so of course I did 6 ;-). I’d been foam rolling for 20+ minutes after each run since Saturday, and Tuesday was no exception, but it barely made me feel better.
Then came Wednesday and two shots and woah… immediate relief on the lower body. My doctor teased me about looking my symptoms up online and let me know that while I noticed the pain below my back, it originated in my back and radiated down. I’ve been diagnosed with a wonky back on the right side anyway, so it was actually no surprise. Plus, she reminded me to get back to doing the core/back work that I’ve been neglecting since marathon training started getting into the double-digits of hours spent, and to keep my back warm. That last bit was a lightbulb moment, since well duh, I’ve been tensing my back a lot lately because it’s been so freaking cold in Berlin and of course aggravated all the muscles there. Since the back takes a lot of the force of running, it makes sense that the double stress of cold and running would end up in pain after a while. I’m due to visit again in April, a 10 days before the marathon, so we’ll see if I get another “booster” shot then.
Still, while I felt immediate relief Wednesday morning, I had a full day at the Uni to get through after two back-to-back appointments (got to have my ears checked as well, yay me!) and was just tired when getting to the run. I didn’t feel like another cold run outside, so I loaded It onto my IPad, went to the gym, and let the natural adrenaline and the ability to take my earbuds out when the music got too scary regulate my normal “oh my ******* ***, what the ****. ******************” reaction. I’m a huuuuuge pansy when it comes to scary movies. But I’d heard so many good things about the new It and was a sucker for Stand By Me, so I’d looked forward to the movie and it helped me get through 6 miles. Plus, I realized that the way I felt afterwards (barely able to get through the subsequent stretching and foam-rolling routine) was precisely how I should be feeling in the middle of a week of marathon training. And wouldn’t you know, I was rewarded Thursday with an epic, nearly painless 10 miles. My back didn’t hurt, there was only a residual soreness in the butt and after three nights of near 8 hours of sleep and I was feeling good. So while I actually meant to only test the legs and get in the minimum of 30 minutes for my SquadRunning team, I took advantage of some relative flexibility in my morning and just kept going.
Of course, this meant Friday I ran super easy 40 minutes, but that was what the plan called for anyway. I was glad to have the chance to clear out some lactic acid from 6 days of straight running (usual for many, unknown for me since, um… Feb. 2016?) before my 9 hour travels to Den Haag in the Netherlands. I managed to be stupid about my running watch and log about 7 minutes of extra “treadmill time” because of the break I took to foam roll and stretch, which ruins my speed average in two of three of my running logs (sigh. So lame), but overall I’m just impressed at my own ability to get up at 3:45 to go for a run that I didn’t have to do for anyone but me. (And maybe the SquadRunner team ;-)) A secret to my “success” is that I can wake up at any time if I know that I have an hour before I actually have to leave the house. True, Friday I was already out 30 minutes later, but the point is, I have managed to do a lot of my training in the morning this training cycle because I can get myself up an hour before my run. A lot of my motivation is a chance to drink some coffee and listen to some music and figure out the plan for the day. And in more non-running-related news, it was interesting to see how many Berliners are up and commuting (even by bike in -14 degrees Celsius!!) before 5 AM in the morning. And once again I am grateful for my schedule and flexibility most days.
The rolling 7-day total was 52 miles, which is a peak week for me, and while I didn’t do any long runs, I had three 9+ mile runs. I’m sure that counts for something in my VO2 measurement or whatever.
Now after almost three days of traveling, good times, and more than 50,000 steps, I’m ready to get back to the training, which starts with 9 miles of intervals tomorrow and ends with a half-marathon practice race on Saturday. I’ll see how I’m feeling Sunday, if I’ll go for the 13km that SquadRunner is offering 130 mission points for (spoiler alert: if I do them, they’re going to be slow, easy km- and then I’m def. taking Monday off). We’ll see how it goes! At least it’s supposed to stay dry and be warmer this week.