Thursday, August 14, 2014

SRM WEEKS 12 & 13: Onwards & Upwards (for now)

Uggggghhhhhh, could I *be* any more behind the times? At least I'm catching up!

We left off on July 27, when I ran 5 miles from my house to the start of SF2HM & then ran the race as an easy long run for a total of 18.2 for the day. By the time I got on the plane for LA that evening, I could barely put weight on my right leg & was having some serious pain in my inner quad, hip flexors, & especially my adductors. It was a fitting start to what was to be one of the most craptacular weeks I've had in a while. I have enough distance at this point that I can laugh about it, but trust me. At the time, I was Not. Laughing.

I'd hoped that resting it all day Monday would fix things & I'd be able to do some amount of running on Tuesday, but Tuesday rolled around & it was still just as bad. I tried biking in the hotel but even that amount of motion in my hip was painful enough that I felt like I was probably just making it worse.

The situation was not helped by the fact that the area of LA we were working in that week had an absolutely dire restaurant situation (Lots of bad pan-Asian? Everything Styrofoam take-out? A veritable hellscape of fast food & Applebee's clones? Done, done, and done!) & the catered breakfasts & lunches were a wonderland of sugar, refined grains, sugar, fatty/fried meat, sugar, refined grains, and iceberg lettuce. Oh yeah & that one fruit plate.

Throw in 10-12 hour work days with the absolute shittiest wifi in the history of the internet at our hotel and it is probably no surprise that after two days this foodie athlete less than a month from a marathon was a bit of an emotional wreck.

Friends, I did not even have a car to go buy myself a nice bottle of wine with. I WENT AN ENTIRE WEEK WITH NO WINE. I ask you, what fresh hell is this?

Is a half decent '02 Rhone blend *really* too much to ask?

On Wednesday I put on running clothes in hopes that I'd be able to run at least a mile or two, which would at least mean things were healing up & headed in the right direction, but a few easy strides down the hotel hallway was enough to disabuse me of that notion. I spent that evening doing some kick drills in the pool & just trying to activate the right muscles (hamstrings, glute med) without also firing the wrong ones (adductors, piriformis); I don't know if it was at all useful, but it certainly made my back sore. I went back up to my room where there was still no wine (!), called Don, & sobbed for like an hour. (This is kind of a big deal because I am generally not a sobber or a boyfriend-comfort-caller.)

At this point I decided it was time to wave the white flag & resign myself to zero running until the pain was totally gone. When this exact same thing (but worse) happened to me last summer a month before Mountains 2 Beach, that was the advice Coach Tom had given me. By Saturday most of the leg felt considerably better, but I decided to give it the weekend for good measure.

The following Monday, I spent some quality time on the table while my MT worked the everloving bejesus out of my right adductor and hip. His assessment:

  • Adductor muscles definitely feel tight & unhappy. (Also, everywhere he poked still REALLY hurt.)
  • Inner quads feel tight & unhappy as well, but it doesn't feel like the sartorius (ie, the one I tore last summer).
  • Hip feels surprisingly good and more or less just like the left one. (That was kind of a big deal, actually.)
  • I should try running 1-2 miles later in the day just to see how the leg was feeling, and if it was okay, I could gradually increase over the week & see if getting back on track with my schedule was at all in the cards.

(This was all about two hours before I had to drive to Sacramento for another work trip, btw. Does the timing here get any better? That was sarcasm.)

So that was week 12.

Let's talk about something happier now, like week 13.

* * * WEEK 13 * * *
(2 (!!!!!) to go)

Grand Total: 47 miles

    * 20 long
    * 27 easy

This graph looked kind of pathetic to me & had me feeling kind of sad for a while, so I decided to take advantage of RunningAhead's custom report feature & look at the big picture:

That's the entirety of my Santa Rosa training up to last Sunday. Aside from the week where my hip was too messed up to run, it actually doesn't look all that bad. Right? (Somebody please tell me I'm right.)

Monday: a.m. massage / p.m. 1 easy

    I took the MT's advice & tried running an easy mile around Cesar Chavez Park when I was done with work for the night in Sac. Ugh, it did not feel good. also did not feel awful, and it didn't hurt during or after the run or the next morning, which I took as a good sign.

Tuesday: 4 easy

    Since my one easy mile on Monday went well, I decided to try taking things a little farther on Tuesday & see how it went. I decided I'd go no farther than four miles, but if I had any pain before then, I would stop, so I stayed close to my hotel & just ran a short circuit of city blocks that would never leave me too far away should I need to stop running & walk home. I had a tiny tiny bit of adductor pain at first, and my stride definitely felt a little weird/off (I'm guessing this is because I'm working so hard to make sure I'm using that right glute med & protect the adductor), but in less than a mile the pain went away & everything felt great after that. I made it to four miles & resisted the temptation to push it father. (Actually not much of a temptation, given the 80F temps & 80% humidity.)

Wednesday: a.m. 4 easy / p.m. 4 easy

    Since my easy four on Tuesday went well but I didn't really have big chunks of time to work with, I decided to do a short run in the morning & another in the afternoon & see how it dealt with that. Also, an easy double day seemed like a nice intermediary step between a short easy run and a longer one. The heat and humidity were brutal (even at 7am, and moreso by 5pm), but I figured this was as good a time as any to suck it up & do some heat training/grow some extra blood plasma. The hip/adductor held up, didn't hurt during, and felt good after.

    (Pro tip: If you're ever in Sacramento without a GPS watch, the sidewalk that surrounds the Capitol building is almost exactly one mile & there are almost no traffic lights!)

Thursday: 8 easy Be sick / rest.

    This was my last day in Sacramento, and I'd planned to drive back to SF around 1, unpack & relax a bit, then get my run in later that afternoon. Unfortunately my body had other plans & I spent most of Wednesday night tossing & turning & going through an entire box of tissues. By the time I got up Thursday morning I felt awful and just could not believe this was happening after a week of zero mileage thanks to my hip. I dragged myself through the last half day of my training, drove home, & promptly passed out. Physically I might have been able to force myself through a few miles but as I hadn't been able to eat much & was already feeling light-headed & dizzy just laying in bed, I'm not entirely sure I wouldn't have collapsed at a stop light a mile or two in.

Friday: 6 easy

    Thursday night/Friday morning was the low point of my cold. I called in sick to work & spent most of the day sleeping (and not eating), but by afternoon I was feeling better & decided to see if I could get a little running in. I stayed close to home, just doing various laps around the neighborhood, and generally just felt lightheaded & awful. I made several stops by my house to guzzle cold soda (see: much-needed calories & fluids) & kept dragging myself back out the door for another mile or two, but when I hit six & realized I was swerving & stumbling a little, I decided I'd probably hit the point of diminishing returns & called it good.

Saturday: 8 easy

    I still didn't feel great on Saturday, but I'd been up & around & eating regularly, so I decided to at least try getting in my regularly scheduled easy eight. It was definitely one of the hardest eight mile runs I've done this summer, but I never felt so bad that I thought I needed to quit.

Sunday: 20 long

So yeah. From the jaws of defeat I actually managed to salvage a halfway decent week, albeit without any speed or tempo work (though I might not have done those in Sacramento anyway). It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride since then hip-wise & I'm still not sure what's going to happen on August 24, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


  1. As a fellow compulsive/ uptight marathoner - I feel your pain. Nothing like a string of missed / crappy workouts to produce a marathoner freakout. And the lousy work-travel food situation. Mercy.

    On the bright side, better to be sick now and get it out of the way well BEFORE the race, right? And your long runs are definitely trending in the right direction there. Hope this week is way better.

    Out of curiosity, is it too early to ask which of your 107927 pairs of shoes you're wearing for the race?

    1. Well, I've done all my long runs in the Kinvara 5's, so if I do end up running Sunday, it'll be in those. Kinvaras are the shoes I tend to think the least about when I'm wearing them, and the 5's are wider enough in the toe box that they're noticeably more comfy than the 4's once you get past 14-15 miles.

  2. For next time, I'm pretty sure LA has wine delivery apps.

    1. In hindsight, this seems obvious. I'm blaming the fact that this never occurred to me on my mental state at the time. :P

  3. yea, LA definitely has alcohol delivery apps lol. And maybe it's just me, but I don't like the phrase "onwards and upwards" at all. It just makes it sound like the past doesn't matter at all. The future is fine to look forward to, but the past still matters.

    1. Heh, interesting. That's not really what I meant to imply. I suppose I more meant, "Well, what's done is done. Looking forward now!"

  4. The Husband found training and travelling for work to be pretty much impossible.

    I was thinking today as I slogged round 10.5 miles of sheer misery that you are so resilient. If you can't run, you ALWAYS do something else to keep fit whereas I sit on the sofa with a book and some wine. I hugely admire that tenacity and determination. You're due some marathon luck!

    1. I can definitely see how triathlon training on the road is super tough. It's usually easier for me than this with just running, but then again so much does depend on what your schedule is & what kind of time you have free & when. That week was indeed particularly bad, but at least it didn't end up mattering much!

      I do try to do something, but honestly it depends so much on my mental state. Optimistic = all teh cross-training! Black spiral of despair = couch/book/wine. (But hey, sometimes that's what's needed!)

  5. So I don't know if it's my place to say anything and I don't want to come off all "I know more than you, nah nah nah, listen to me" because I definitely DON'T know more than you about running, life, and things, but reading your blog over the past year or so (or longer?) I've always been struck by the seeming severity and frequency of your various aches/pains. Like, it seems as though you're always right on the precipice of injury. You've obviously put a lot of time and effort into adjusting your stride and attempting to get to the root of the problem, and yet each week you're plagued by one thing or another. Is that normal? To me, it seems like an issue of too much, too soon (didn't you go from no miles to many miles in, like, 8 weeks?). If I recall correctly, you have a coach who has presumably thought about all this and thinks you can handle the training, but if you're constantly in pain despite all the care you put into keeping your body healthy, it's maybe something to think about. Then again, with a marathon in two weeks I'm sure you just want to make it to the start! Perhaps it's best left for some other day.

    Again, it's probably not my place to say anything and I don't mean to lecture you or start an argument (in fact, if you weren't the intelligent, level-headed blogger you appear to be I wouldn't have bothered!). I just thought I'd mention something that's stood out to me in the past and now. I definitely wish you the best of luck with your marathon and I hope you're able to continue training the way you'd like!

    1. No, it's definitely not normal, but in my case, 90% of the injury stuff I've had in the last 1.5 years has been the result of one mysterious problem with my right hip area. There's definitely something wrong there long-term, hence the endless parade of medical/body work practitioners trying to figure it out. I'm sure the mileage this summer is partly responsible for irritating it, but that's because there's a problem that still needs to be identified & addressed, not because building up to 50 miles over 12 weeks is all that much.

      (The only real exception I can think of is my stress fracture, which happened when I'd spent four months building up to maybe 25 miles/week. I wasn't actually training for anything or even running hard workouts, so I don't really think that can be blamed on mileage. :) )