Log: March 6-19 (weeks four and not so five)

First of all, this is a late post and that’s a bit lame. In retrospect, I probably was reluctant to post about my first “failed” week, since I’m so used to writing when things are going well. But they’re not going well right now- I’m injured (even if still a bit in denial about it) and have a hectic personal and family life at the moment, but I figured I should update all the same.

Secondly, thank you to everyone who gave me tips for my heel pain. I tried all of them (not quite at the same time, of course) and none were bad advice. Thank you!

The problem is, no amount of  magic is better than the magic of pure rest. After completing the first three runs of last week alright, I still felt the condition of my right foot deteriorating, and I decided to do what I probably should have done as soon as I noticed a bigger problem- take a break.

I finally pulled the brakes two Fridays ago, because I realized the pain in my foot may not even be PF, and I was feeling discomfort in other parts of my foot as though I’m compensating, which is a bad sign. I didn’t think quickly enough to get an appointment before an unscheduled trip home, but I booked an appointment with a foot doctor (who is a runner herself) for as soon as I’m back in Berlin (in about a week). I’m not running until my foot has been checked out. I figure that whatever I have needs some rest anyway, and if what I have is more serious, I can get a head-start on the healing time the doctor predicts for me.

In the meantime, I also took a good, long look at myself and decided I this forced break is probably what I needed, and I need to be easier on myself.

As most of us do, I find being easy on myself very difficult. I’m a Type A personality, and even when I’m doing well in school, work, running, and in my relationships (or so I’m told), I never believe that to be the case. I always think there’s something I need to do better… and there probably is! No one is perfect! But that perfectionism mentality is pretty perfect in making one think one can be perfect- and that’s the curse of it.

There are personal struggles all of us go through, whether they be body image, relationships, work environment- basically figuring out what we want for our future and how we want to get there. I’ve had my fair share of these struggles,  but while I’m still young, I’ve lived long enough to know there are no quick and easy solutions and that I need to figure out what goals I think are worth taking the long route for.

However, I still look for the easy way out though in my work and in my eating habits… and I developed a few unhealthy patterns because of the resulting mentality. These past weeks of unscheduled rest days were daily reminders that I can and should have enough respect and love for my body to go easy on it for as long as needed, and I shouldn’t worry about the miles not run and the calories not burned, and I definitely don’t need to worry about the time not run…because there’s always a way to use time well.

So, until I’m cleared to run again, I’m not going to drive myself crazy with marathon training. Maybe I won’t even run any marathons until the fall, or this year. If so, the only person who really cares is me, and if I say I’m okay with not running, I’m sure I’ll find ways to be happy without it.

Of course, that being said, I know being active is a part of my lifestyle, and I am happy when I’m doing something even if it’s not running. But it doesn’t have to be intense or at the level of marathon training. I tried that last summer after breaking my toe, and ended up injured again anyway.

So, for now, things like swimming, biking, and weight training to keep some fitness and get some energy out is all I need. In the meantime, I also need to straighten out a weird relationship with food and exercise I’ve developed since last year, so it’s probably good to start at square “A” in training and fueling.

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These runs include: 8 x 800s at 3:30 or less with 400m recoveries, I had a 3:25 average and felt strong and controlled throughout. The heel was complaining afterward, but not as much as after long-run Saturday; an easy 7 miler with a fast finish; a 3 mile tempo run at sub- 8 mpm; and what was supposed to be an easy 3 miler that became reduced to 1, in order to preserve myself for my schedule 13 miles at half marathon pace. That didn’t happen, so I ended up with a tad above 22 miles for week four. Week five started off with a two one-mile test runs… and then a few strides at the park that weren’t so great either.

In short, yep, marathon training weeks four and five aren’t ideal. But I’m pushing myself out of the denial and depression and into some more positive thinking, because that’s just how I roll.

Hope daylight savings didn’t kick you in the butt too much and that training is going well for all you April marathon folks!- Dorothea

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Is it a sign? It must be a sign. 

After nearly two months of attention heaped on my fourth toe, toe five decided it was its time in the purple limelight.


 If you’re tired of these feet close ups and poorly cut nails, then good; me too. I call that color “crimson curse.” On the plus side, isn’t toe four looking fine? 
Can you believe my luck?! That’s the damage a full-size iPad can do falling on its side on a toe. I just wish it wasn’t my toe that provided the evidence for posterity’s sake. I’m not even mad about the fact that running is put off for even longer… I’m just mad to be hobbling around again. I thought I’d done my share of hobbling this year! On the plus side, I don’t have to worry about this happening a week out from a marathon I’m no longer running. 

Maybe I should just wear boots everywhere.

Hope your Monday is MUCH better. 

Updates from runner me

I saw a doctor on Friday, and while I can’t run for the next two weeks at least, I can be reassured that I did not give myself a stress fracture. I gave myself a stress-reaction and I just have to take this as a lesson well-learned. After not running, one cannot suddenly jump from 7 to 15 to 30 miles a week. There needed to be something between that 15 and 30 mile week. Despite my muscles being fine, my bones needed to be readjusted.

So, I learned. I also learned that our bodies don’t heal the way we expect them to, and that our bodies bear the marks of what we do to them for months, years after we do it. For example, I got to see my healed toe, and I was surprised to see a clear line indicating where I’d broken it. It was a crazy break, jagged and everything. No wonder it hurt for so long. I thought when bone heals together, then there’s white in the x-ray again. Instead, the bone heals, but it takes a while for new part connecting the bone pieces together to appear as white.

In other news, I sold my Munich Marathon entry and resisted the urge to pick up a Berlin Marathon starting place, floating around on e-bay. There will be more marathons.

And I got to volunteer at the Berlin Marathon! Recap here.

Otherwise, not much new from runner me. I’ve been following a good regimen of weights every other day- and non-runner me actually likes it. Um, yeah. Been riding? Okay, I’m done now.

Happy running!

-Dorothea

More struggles, but also some silver linings

I realize that whining is not a great character trait, and that it’s also not much fun to read or respond to… since one ‘d be called insensitive for telling the whiner to shut-up and deal with it, and the obligatory “hang in there, keep the chin up” is annoying to write and doesn’t really mean much to the whiner, either.

So you don’t have to write those comments and I won’t whine. I just want to write another post about the harder parts of training to accompany all the posts where training is going well, because once marathon time comes around, I know this period will provide me with more mental strength than anything else.

This past week was another week of trying to keep the training up-diligently. Training for any race requires determination and diligence. The consistency, after all, is what makes us better- not the individual efforts. Still, there’s a difference training for the event with the sports one chooses above all others versus with the sports one does to replace that one sport.

I’ve chosen to use spinning and bicycling to replace running, since my bike and a spinner at the gym are the two most accessible tools for me at the moment. It helps that bike can get me all around the city and country side, and I can train with destinations to help the time on the seat go by faster. Still, it nags at the back of my mind that I’m not working on my endurance on my feet. A four and a half hour ride on the bike means I can carry myself pretty well on an iron horse, but I have no idea how my feet will hold up 20+ miles.

However, it helps that the hardest part of marathon training is getting the aerobic fitness up. Sprinters are able to transition to longer distances, as far as muscles go, in a few weeks. It’s the ability to get the air pumping long and fast enough that takes more time. So, I keep that in mind as well, and that gets me to push myself harder on the bike, even when I feel it’s pointless.

I’ll admit, I may be pushing myself too hard. I read recently that one shouldn’t try to get one’s heart rate into the max zone too long, too often. With several interval, hill sessions in a row, I noticed myself struggling on a fartlek ride on Thursday, and took it easier on Friday again. I’m tallying up 150+ miles for the week, which is fun for me to see. Unfortunately, the perfectionist in me won’t consider that a solid week of training, but changing my mentality is something I’m working on, even while writing this.

I’ve been buddy-taping toe, and it’s been easier to walk on. I can even walk on sand now, which was nearly impossible because of the pain a week ago, and short spurts, across the street when the light is about to turn red, cause no pain at all, which is a good sign. However, it’s only been three weeks and once the tape comes off, the toe is aching, so I’ll wait a bit longer. I’m in the tricky part of an injury where the pain is bearable and one wants to test one’s limits. I just don’t want to test and regress in the healing. I’m too close to the marathon for that.

One thing for sure, this too will pass, and I’ll be able to enjoy the thrill of running again, soon. I’ve taken off too much time (four weeks on Tuesday) to jump right back in, but I’ll balance running and cross training for a week or so before replacing bike/spinner workouts with the runs again. I hope to be able to taper according to plan. But this injury has also trained my patience muscle a bit more, so I’m willing to see what happens.

I recently switched gyms and started TRX training, which offers a new set of challenges, and I like to think I’m strengthening my body- making it stronger for the marathon than following my training plan would have done.

So, as one can see, I have enough to write about, even if I’m not currently running. I’m also doing what I can to keep the München Marathon a reality. No one can say I’ve given up, and I’ll just have to keep that in mind over these last days/maybe week(s) as the injury finishes healing.

I also have to stop being marathon training obsessed! But as anyone who trains knows, it’s pretty life consuming. Still, I’ve been having interesting times outside of that, so I will probably post something there again soon. I need all the distractions I can get!

Happy Sunday,

Dorothea

How to… aw, forget it.

I admit, when I started this post, I was struggling. Maybe it’s because keeping up a marathon-cross-training regimen is difficult, or maybe because it’s just impossible. How many marathoners PR after being injured? Are my goals unrealistic?

In another internet search (because google is my magic crystal ball), I found this article: “can’t run, can still train”. It made me feel a lot more positive. It also serves as a good slider for my recount of a workout I did today, to make up for the 8 x 800s I missed.

You can call me crazy, but I really love interval workouts. I love the anticipation as I head to the track, prepare my water bottle, and limber up. The warm-up laps and the dynamic stretches are like foreplay, and walking up to the starting line for the first interval always gets a spike of adrenaline going. Of course, the first interval is always easy, not quite max effort, but good time. Then, the challenge is to get through the recovery well enough to start the next one strong. I love to challenge myself to go faster each time, to see the miles add up without the same monotony of an easy or long run. I love the final interval where I know I don’t have any left, and I can give it everything I’ve got. Unfortunately, this is the third week I’ve missed my intervals.

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but here’s what: I wrote some job applications and went to the gym. There, I changed into my workout clothes, saw I didn’t have my headphone (damnit!) and got on the elliptical machine. I did 1,6 km (that’s a mile) at moderate to high intensity to warm-up, and then I went to the spinning room- thankfully empty.

No one had used this spinner since the last time I was there, so I didn’t even need to adjust it. I opened my clock app and opened the stop-watch, started it,  and spun easily for 90 sec.s. Then, I upped the intensity and went as fast as I could go… After about 1 minute, I upped the resistance, got out of the seat, and then also went as fast as I could go. I upped a little more and, got into sprint position and, you guessed it, went as fast as I could go. After 3.5 minutes of this fast stuff (and feeling my heart rate rise), I dropped the resistance and spun easily again. 90 seconds later, it was round two. I did this for 10 rounds and at the end of the tenth one, Skrillex “Bangarang” (seriously, that song makes me GO) came on my iPod that I was using as a mini stereo, so I did another 55 seconds to finish out the song.  I got of the spinner, stretched out a bit, and then went back to the elliptical for a 1,6 km cool-down. My heart rate maxed out at 167, so I think I worked decently hard enough while spinning. The elliptical doesn’t replace running at all- but nothing really does. Feeling self-pity, I hopped on the treadmill for a bit… I made it 300 meters before deciding: no, not ready.

So, I don’t have my aqua belt on me, I don’t have an ellipti-go, and I sure as hell don’t have an alter-g treadmill. I couldn’t even afford the cheapest treadmill on the market. The one thing I do have, though, is a gym I can go to and they have elliptical machines and spinners. I can use both of these to try and get my game on. Next time, I’m bringing my heart rate monitor, so that I can make sure my HR goes above 160 for 67% of the workout.

The remaining challenge left to conquer is that cross-training usually has to be done for more time than the running would have been. Considering that marathon training is already an incredibly time-intensive activity, trying to replicate the training with cross-training activities is almost impossible. For example, Tuesday was long run day- 20 miles. My plan called for accomplishing that in 3 hours. If I follow the advice of 1.5 times the running time, I would have had to workout for 4.5 hours. Um… that’s not really an option- but maybe, if I’m not running-ready in time for my next 20 miler in two weeks, maybe I can make it an option. That’s dedication for you, I guess.

I could have titled this post “how to get through marathon training without running.” However, since I’m still trying to figure that out myself, I’ll just leave it at: I’m trying.

 

 

Marathon training…without running

It’s me… I’ve been wondering if after all these months you’d like to read what I’ve been up to. I should be doing a life-update-post, but this one will be shorter.

So, I did two months of marathon training since my jubilant announcement about getting into it back in June. I had a lot of really great workouts, intervals always being more fun than the tempos, but the long runs were slowly building from 10 to 12 to 14 to 15 to 13 to 16… and my last long run was a 15.4 that was supposed to be 17.

Why shorter, you (may not actually) ask? Well, I’ve been taking detailed notes about my running to be able to log everything online again once I got online again (um, I had nothing better than an old eating journal)… and below you see how I was slowly having issues with my feet. It started with a small ache post run that went away over the course of the day, and then became a clearly identifiable point of pain, becoming more and more acute of a pain after each run. Usually, the day off between runs resolved everything.

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Unfortunately, during a particularly determined long run, for which I’d set up a circle route and had an aid station and everything, I was in pain for the last five miles of the run and knew I would have been crazy stupid to finish the run. I was out of time anyway, but I like to think I was being smart. The point is, I knew on August 2nd, I needed to take a break, and I actually didn’t mind too terribly much- just enough to question my decision every four hours – to wait until the following Monday (Aug. 8th) to run again. I had started my training plan on a Wednesday and therefore had time for the plan to catch up anyway, so that my long runs would be on Saturdays again (I had made them Tuesdays to accommodate family vacation plans). Unfortunately, before the week was up, I managed to do even more damage. While my right foot was feeling better by the day, my left foot had an altercation with the leg of a particularly sturdy couch and…

YEEAH. That was a day after. Immediately after the match (that I obviously won), the fourth toe was having a party about 2 cm away from third toe. Clearly, I could not run on that. In fact, I had trouble walking and still do.

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1.17 weeks later

Thus, while I guess I should be grateful that I had a better reason to stop running than a possible-stress-fracture-not-even-diagnosed, I also wish I hadn’t done this ante-up. It’s been harder to cross-train with this kind of injury, and I’m gritting my way through swims and cycles and hoping I’m not putting too much pressure on the toe and allowing it to heal.

Good news is, my right foot will be healed, without a doubt, by the time I can run again. Bad news is, I’m stuck taking off two weeks and counting from running…in the middle of marathon training and with more pain that the possible stress-fracture proved to be.

What’s a girl with a funny injury limp to do? Ask the internet, of course.

  1. Five Alternative Workouts 
  2. “You Can Race Well Off Cross-Training”
  3. Nine week plan for pool-running

I found a few useful sites giving me workouts and fellow sob-stories of training without running. Most plans promise those who follow them that he/she will be able to retain fitness. Ideally, though, I’m still building my fitness to prep for a sub 3:30 marathon (still my goal, until proven otherwise). I’m modifying the workouts I find based on former experiences on being coached in swimming and from going to spinning classes, so as long as I’m raising my heart rate five times a week, I feel like I may make it through this/these next week(s) and get back out in running shoes by the start of Sept.(?) to resume training.

For those concerned, the answer is “yes”; I’ll get a clearance diagnosis from a doctor before I resume running. There’s not point in starting to run again and end up out of action for the marathon Oct. 9. I got lucky that this injury happened with enough running training in my legs and early enough still to be able to cross train, return to running training, and be okay-ish prepared. If this sequence of injuries had happened this or next  week, I’d be in a little more trouble.

To keep myself moderately involved in the sport, and not want to shoot lasers with my eyes at every runner I see these days (I know, I know, it’s not their fault), I’ve signed up for a local running volunteer group and am going to volunteer at a few upcoming races…maybe even the Berlin Marathon!

Now that I’m back, I’ll be posting updates again (may or may not continue analog logging)- hope you continue to check in!

post script: I listened to the radio while writing this post, and in the past hour heard for the third time that Usain Bolt proved himself the fastest man in the world…again. Geez. I get it. He’s a fast guy! But only over 100 meters :p

;)

Update on Feb 15-April 2nd: That time I tried a streak and failed

Hello readers!

It’s been a long time… and while I thought it was necessary to take this break from blogging, it didn’t actually make me more productive and interesting in “real life.” Frankly, I can’t think of a single moment where I did something where I said “wow, this would be cool to blog about.”Maybe that just goes to show that our lives are worth living whether we blog about them or not- or something. Still, I did find it a relief for the first few weeks after the marathon to not be accountable for blogging about my running life. Now though, I miss it again (and the interaction with you!) and feel it is time to return.

What do I have to report? Besides a few notes about my stupidity, not much.

 

run update feb through april

The marathon, as we saw, was a good one/run. I’m still tickled pink by the great improvement on my previous PR and being able to see what level I’m at. I know I want to be faster, eventually, but for now I haven’t felt the urge to better that run. I don’t feel like I have to prove something or avenge a bad run. It was an awesome race.

I still had the post-race blues though, through which I got with some heart-to-hearts with my family, an Epsom salt bath, foam rolling, and some new things to read. Then, once the post-race soreness was gone, I decided to go for a few easy runs. Those felt good, and for some reason, I thought I was ready to attempt a new run streak. My previous one in fall of 2014 (which left me with plantar fasciitis) was 61 (or 62, can’t remember, though I could probably look it up, but that seems like more effort than typing these few words) days. I felt that the last months of the semester before going abroad for vacation and more school was a good time to try it again. It started off well, and I felt good. A lot of doubles (two-a-days), and I was feeling motivated about strapping my shoes on and just lurching out the door. I ran watchless and musicless for four weeks, and it all felt so natural and free.

Then, I got over confident about my abilities, forgot to think about long-term fatigue and lack of rest days, and went out for back-to-back mid-distance runs, or went too hard two days in a row.

My mind was telling me that I couldn’t hold it up the way that I was going, that I should take a rest day and prevent an overuse injury, but my heart was saying “I’m strong, just as strong as many of those out there who do extreme ultra running (think Appalachian Trail runs). If they can do that, why can’t I handle running every day 1-10 miles?”

It came to the point that I was listening more to my ambition about the number on my “streak” log than the pain on the outside of my knee or heels of my feet. My runs got slower and slower, and I woke up with pain every morning that I manically tried to roll out with the foam roller and ease out with stretches 30-40 minutes a day. But what finally made me realize I was being stupid is when the runs stopped being enjoyable. I was running to keep the streak alive, not myself. That was foolish and so one Thursday, I just ignored my inner-voice telling me to go out, and the streak was broken.

Since then, I’ve eased off running for a bit again. I took a longer break than I did post-marathon and am slowly making it back into the 25+ mpweek range. My runs have felt better again, and I’m enjoying it again. I do run occasionally with my watch to see where my fitness is at, but I’m not afraid to run without it if I know the route I’m taking.

I have decided that I maybe didn’t take enough time off after the marathon, feeling pressured by some of my awesome running friends who run within 24 hours of their marathons. I thought taking three days off was already being a wimp, when really, I could easily have taken a week off, at least.

I have also decided that I don’t work well without a plan. The streak was fun because I didn’t have to think about whether or not I would run. I just ran what I felt like and pulled off some pretty great mileage because of it. But going from marathon week to 12 to 35 to 47 miles was stupid, for me. Also, I like planning out my hard and easy efforts during the week, and allowing myself the time to rest so that my hard efforts can be kick-ass. With my streak and without a plan, I was too easily drawn into the myth that I could handle two hard efforts in a row, take day easy, and then do it again. There’s a reason most running plans cycle easy, hard, and long runs, and I should have tried my streak with that in mind, or not at all.

So, lesson well learned. If I ever do attempt a streak again, I will do it with a plan in mind of following what has become my natural push and rest cycle. The light-tempo, interval or tempo, easy, rest or easy, easy, long run, rest cycle of runs works for me, so I should just stick to it.

Because of how the last two weeks went, I decided not to sign-up for the 10K that was supposed to happen today in my area, but I did do a pretty sweet 10-mile run at 7:35 overall pace yesterday, which felt darn good. I know I could have gone faster, so I’m motivated to keep working on my running in a smart way to be prepared for some summer races.

I like having my running, because sometimes it’s the only thing I feel like I’m marginally good at, and it helps distract me from failures I experience in academia or life. I turn 25 on Tuesday (quarter-life crises, I hear, are a thing). I’m figuring out what I’m going to do next year, how I’ll finance it and support myself, and whether I can rise up to the expectations I have for myself, and it’s good to have running to get my mind and body in the space to think these things through and remain positive. A running life really is a good life, so I’m glad I stopped the streak when I did to avoid a long-term injury (even if plantar fasciitis symptoms can be pesky).

Hope things are good on your end! I’ve been following blogs as well as I can this semester, so I know there are a few awesome races coming up that I can’t wait to read about!

You know you haven’t run in a while when…

You know you haven’t run in a while when…

  • you suddenly have so much time
  • you feel satisfied with eating less or you continue to eat like you do while you ran, and you start gaining weight
  • your GPS watch is completely out of battery
  • your laundry basket is really empty
  • you forget to take a shower, or you take a shower, but don’t feel compelled to wash your hair
  • your running shoes are not always underfoot, or on your feet
  • you run errands dressed like a civilian
  • you look up rates for the nearest pool, or nearest gym
  • you calculate how much time to can take off without interrupting your next scheduled race
  • you no longer feel the urge to nap on the afternoon after a long run
  • your neighbors check in on you because they’ve become used to seeing you run past their windows
  • your family is surprised to find you actually in bed when they come in your room in the morning
  • friends remember to include you in their plans for Friday night, since they finally realized that you haven’t been waking up early on Saturday
  • you discover you actually have hobbies outside of running
  • your room/house is cleaner than it’s been in ages
  • you suddenly have so much time!

and so you can’t wait to get back to it.

 

A Different Kind of Patience

This is a fairly self-therapy post in which I do some whining. Sorry in advance!

Many runners use words with “P” as part of their personal mantras: practice!, persevere, persist, patience, “it’s okay to perspire,” “keep the pace…” “move through the pain.” A lot of time, we think of patience in running as having the strength to wait for the right moment to sprint, or taking the “ability to hold out” meaning of patience as it’s definition. However, many runners who have been injured know  that patience is not so much what we have during the run, but what we need during recovery to stop ourselves from running too soon.
“But I just ran a PR, I can do fast, why do I have to wait?”

Clearly, there’s knowing one should be patient, and being able to practice it. I think I was too impatient following my half-marathon mid-December, getting back to walking a lot within a day, and running by the fourth day after the race. I should have waited, and my feet told me so after my almost 6-miler just five days after my race. I had done some damage, made it worse by running again so soon, and now I’m afraid to start again for fear of having given myself an injury.

Clearly, I should go to the doctor to get the foot that’s causing me trouble diagnosed. I am just worried that I already know that the doctor will tell me to stop running, and I’m afraid it’s for a period longer than I’m willing to stop. Instead, I’m considering that I have the worst (stress fracture), and taking the necessary steps from there. [disclaimer: in all likelihood, what I have is “just” a reaction and compounded soreness. If I were in serious pain, I would go see a doctor]

Rest: obviously, I need to take a break from running, or spending a lot of time on my feet. Not running is easier controlled than walking, since I need to be able to get places. I haven’t run for two weeks now, and I figure if I take one more week off, I should be able to gingerly move back into it. It’s been three weeks since a hard run, or daily running, but I know I should probably stick to my plan of three weeks completely off. That’s where having patience comes in. I need to remember that even if the foot feels fine walking, or a few minutes into the run, I don’t want to know what happens when it starts hurting again, or how long I have to wait to start again… so I wait.

Waiting: I am using the time I would usually run to take care of my feet. I used a callous remover and got my heels back down to their normal texture and size. I soak my feet in warm water and rub them in with creme. I try to ice them. I have been taping my arches when I walk for longer periods of time. I try to keep my feet walking normally, and ignore the pain that makes it tempting to do a weird foot twist. I roll my feet over a ridged roller and a small, hard ball. For the rest of my legs and body, I still foam roll, try to do calisthenics, and get a lot of biking in. It’s weird going from 50 miles a week of running to 0, but I can use the extra time right now anyway to work for school.

what about playing soccer?: Am I stupid? Admittedly, yes, a little. I am thinking about it. Should I though? Probably not. I’m going to wait at least as long as I will wait before I start running again.

Wish me luck! Realistically, I know I can take off three more weeks and still have moderate preparation for the marathon at the end of April. If I want that even to be an option, I need to be patient now. That’s my mantra.

A Rough Recovery

You know the advice to keep walking after finishing a race? Try to stay on your feet for at least 20 minutes? Well, it’s good advice.

Unfortunately, after my half-marathon two weekends ago, I failed to take it and got comfortable on a curb with a plate of food within ten minutes of my run. I hadn’t even finished my first bottle of water yet.

Sitting felt good. Getting up, not so good.

My thighs were incredibly sore and anything more than a shuffle hurt. Well, I also wasn’t able to complete a cool down run, and settled for a slow, painful walk to the car. This is a far stretch from my last half marathon where I lost my car key in the walk from my car to the starting line and used the moment I crossed the finish line onward to find security personnel along the race and ask if they had found my key. A quick run from one person to the next meant I had a good cool-down (and got my key in the process). Should have lost my key again, I guess.  The rest of the day after this race I moved very little, happy to be sitting down. I haven’t done an intense long race in a while, so I don’t know if I felt that way after my marathons, but I certainly never felt that way after a half before.

Monday wasn’t much better and it not only hurt going down steps, it hurt going up and horizontal as well. I was in very bad shape. It was my own fault though, and while I didn’t do much immediate post race recovery, I put more effort into the recovery for the rest of the week. I gave myself daily massages, took Epsom salt baths, got enough sleep, ate a lot of foods with important vitamins and minerals, stretched and did yoga, basically, everything one is supposed to do. By Thursday I was feeling much better, but after a short 2 mile run, quite sore again. It was mostly my thighs that were complaining, but the blister on my foot was still making trouble. Friday morning I went out for another run that felt much better (seems like the run the day before cleared out some of the pain), but I started feeling a slight pain in the top, right side of my right foot, and my paranoid self (as well as the knowledge that four days of rest after my effort had not been enough) made me fear the worst: stress fracture.

It’s not just paranoia. I am a likely candidate. I have been increasing my mileage and running on a foot plagued by plantar fasciitis since July. I lost about seven pounds since my arrival in Hamburg, as well as my regular period. While losing my weight was not intentional, I also wasn’t vigilant about making sure I had enough to eat for the amount of running I was doing. I also chalked up the amenorrhea (absence of menstrual cycle) to hormonal shifts based on the stress of being in a foreign country and having some homesickness and culture shock. It wasn’t until I got home, right before my race where I realized that I had lost weight and may have been unhealthy. To top this list, I had fractured a bone in my foot before by playing soccer barefoot (brilliant, I know). The slight tingling I feel on my foot in various stages of movement make me think that if I had a stress fracture, the location would be in about the same place.  Because of the combination of these factors, I kind of think I may be in pretty bad shape to begin marathon training.

But, after that almost 6 mile run on that last Friday (the 20th), I consequently avoided running and long periods of walking. I have continued stretching and massaging, and I am trying to stay active by biking and swimming. I also did a workout of pool running, but I still feel silly when I do that.

Anyway, I don’t plan to run again for another week at least. Also, if I don’t feel better on Jan. 2nd, I may just take one more week off (to give myself three weeks of potential recovery).

I know I should not self-diagnose, but if I basically know I have to take time off and rest, what more can a doctor tell me? At least time off may ensure that I recover from the fasciitis.

Welp. So much for injury free. It’s hard to sit on the sideline, since I wasn’t actually experiencing real pain (just some pangs of discomfort) when I stopped running and probably could have continued running. On the other hand, with this marathon I registered for, and a soccer team I want to continue playing for, I also know I’d rather take time off now, while I can, than run and have to stop and not have enough time after recovery to train properly. Oh well.

I can’t believe I’ve only taken one week off and already feel antsy. How will I make it to two or three more??