Friday, January 30, 2015

Finally Feeling Like A Runner Again

So it has been a very long time (as usual). In November 2013, just a few weeks after my last entry, I learned I was anemic. No wonder I couldn’t get back into running. All summer long I pushed myself through marathon training. The mileage went up but the times got slower and slower. I was only mildly anemic so I didn’t recognize the symptoms. I wasn’t having trouble getting out of bed or falling asleep at work but it was devastating my running. I was planning on doing MS Blues just after the first of the year in 2014. About the time the training was getting serious, I got sick. I ended up going to the doctor. My labs showed the anemia and I started an iron supplement. I had missed some critical training and wasn’t sure if it was even wise to go ahead with MS Blues. After some thought, I decided to just see how training went and I could always run it as a training run. I was feeling better and got a 17 miler and two 20 milers in, each faster than the last. As Christmas approached, my easy pace dropped from 8:45 to about 8:00. The iron supplements were doing their job. Going into the marathon, I wasn’t sure what to do. My sudden increase in speed was making it difficult to set a goal. I decided to shoot for a BQ (Boston Qualifier) which is 3:40 for me. The race was warm and windy and course had lots of hills. I ended up feeling great, even with all the climbs. I ran a 3:32 (8:07 pace) so way faster than my goal. The icing on the cake was an age group win!

The Mississippi Blues Finish Chute
I was excited to train for Go! STL since MS Blues went so much better than expected. I was excited to be healthy too and told all my running friends to get their labs checked on a regular basis! I had never done back to back marathons before and used the guidelines from the book Advanced Marathoning to guide me. They advised about 4 weeks recovery, 5 hard weeks of training and a 3 week taper. I was back at it hard in less than 2 weeks though as the 2014 Arkansas Grand Prix series started 2 weeks after MS Blues. I felt good early on but once training got going, I started feeling really over trained and sluggish. Mentally, back to back was too much for me too and I pretty much lost my training motivation.

When Go!STL came around, my head was not in the game and neither were my legs. I realized pretty early into the race that I was in trouble. I backed off big time at mile 12 and salvaged a 3:30. It wasn't pretty and I had to run walk the last few miles.

The Go!STL Finish Line

When I got home, I knew I made some mistakes but also felt like I learned some lessons. I'm probably not a good candidate for back to back marathons. Also, it doesn't take a lot to get me over trained. I decided to shift my focus and train for shorter races for a while. This would have been a good plan but I got a little impatient and didn't give myself enough time to recovery. I started in with too much mileage and decided to add plyometrics to my training in the hopes that I could get faster. 3 weeks after STL, my groin/hamstring/butt on my right side started hurting. I was planning to do a 10k that weekend so I eased up but decided to do the race anyway. There was a month long break in the Grand Prix series after the race and I felt like I needed the points. After the race, I couldn't even walk without a limp. My hip was just white hot pain everywhere except the very outside. After a week of limping, I went to the doctor, got a steroid shot and a consult for PT. I started swimming laps, doing yoga and going to PT. I had torn my right adductor tendon. I didn't get to run at all for about 6 weeks. I started up again slowly only to strain my calf muscle. I actually think this was for the best because I took another 2 weeks off and when I started again, I was pain free and have been ever since.

It was a rough time emotionally. I had such a terrible summer trying to come back from pregnancy, figured out there was a medical reason and suddenly got tons faster with a simple supplement only to crash and burn in injury. Such a frustrating roller coaster to ride. At some point in the middle of all that I decided that I would sign up for Boston. My STL time would most likely get me in and I needed a goal to get me motivated to get back into shape. I added mileage slowly. When I got up to about 25 miles per week, I did a XC 10k at 7:24 pace. Considering the injury and the time off, I was pretty happy with it. Next, I decided to train for the CASA Half Marathon. It was early in December. In the past, I’ve used half marathons and their training to rocket myself back into top form. I was really hoping it would work. I ended up getting my weekly mileage up to 43 miles and did some really great tempo runs and speed work. I run a 1:38:46 (7:33 pace). About as good as I could have expected. Just as I had hoped, my training really picked up after that race. I took it easy for about a week and then made a 15k plan that I would use to get me to the Hour Track Run for the start of the Grand Prix 2015. I also made my Boston plan. For a 12 week plan, I needed to start training on 1/26/15-exactly one day after the track run. My tempo runs and speed work leading to the track run were really good and I worked up to 53 miles per week. I went into the Track Run feeling good and had a great day.
At the One Hour Track Run
I never felt terrible and kept a good pace. I ended up the 2nd place overall female and went just under 8.6 miles at 6:59 pace. There was a crazy wind so I was pretty happy with that.

Now it is time to train for Boston! I have decided that I will actually post regularly and document my Boston training. Here's to the next 12 weeks!

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