Hello and Happy Motivation Monday! I would love for these Monday posts to be all about marathon prep, but since last we spoke on this topic things have changed. I am still running, just no longer training for any upcoming event.
Not that this kept me from enjoying last week’s Boston festivities! Between watching progress of local friends running it and reading tons of runner-bloggers’ recaps afterwards, I was full to busting with BQ inspiration! Maybe one day.
You might remember that shortly after Valentine’s Day I was super happy to have discovered Kara Goucher’s 10-week half marathon training plan, the one that allows for all kinds of flexibility and cross training, and the one that incorporates more speed work than I was used to? I actually found it the night before the ten week plan would bring me up in perfect timing for the OKC Memorial weekend. Which is this coming weekend already!!
Friends, this plan has been great. For the first five and a half weeks I had a blast! And I was already seeing results, believe it or not, like faster sprinting, gobs of delicious adrenaline while running hill repeats, a little bit of surprise slimming down, and just overall an abundance of energy day after day without eating enough food to feed nine teenagers. A big priority for me this time around was to get ready for a race without depleting my energy and cutting corners around the farm. Things were going well. I was so happy.
Until I hurt myself a little bit. It wasn’t the plan’s fault.
Somewhere along the way, especially as the weather improved, I got a little addicted to tacking on extra miles and gradually started neglecting the all important core work and strength moves that Kara Goucher (and my smart friend Christy and all good, decent runners in the world!) recommended. I maaayyybe did some mellow stretching after each run, but zero dynamic warm-ups and maybe one or two 8-minute abs video per week. Even fewer cross training days. That is not enough, you guys! Although my energy was better than ever, I threw my body out of balance. A minor foot discomfort translated to some sort of compensatory twisting and a painful blister, which was exacerbated by speed work and eventually resulted in ferocious leg cramping, which showed up one other fine day as a true knee pain and some limping. All on the left side.
You know that old song, The foot bone’s connected to the knee bone! The knee bone’s connected to the hip bone! Etc? Well it’s true. Haha
First my husband gave me a killer massage to eliminate the knots in my calves. That hurt so much I actually cried, but it felt wonderful too. The next day my knee was still pretty bad off, so I rested almost completely for one week (it also happened to be my Shark Week, so… cranky!). Eventually I added in some long walks and yoga then more yoga and some strength exercises, understanding that stronger supporting muscles would help my joints.
I should have been doing yoga and strength exercises all along, remember. These are actual elements of Kara Goucher’s 10-week plan!
Most of these activities during week 7 felt great, or at least they helped me believe I was helping the situation, haha. Little by little I was able to move comfortably throughout my days as long as I elevated my left leg at night.
But I still wanted to run, and I still wanted to try for a fast half at the OKC event. It just did not seem like my left side was bouncing back to normal quite on schedule. So I reluctantly decided once and for all to not register. My procrastinating ended up saving me some money.
Since this Gigantic Learning Experience Disguised as a Bummer of a Situation began almost three weeks ago, I am now markedly better. I am running again, albeit much more slowly, and am up to about 28 miles per week with no more than 8 at once.
I am using the extra time to do more deliberate cross training and yoga. Lots of yoga. A woman in a local running group said that yoga is what cured her of a similar complaint, and although it took her a few months to recover she has had zero problems since. This is encouraging! And I am grateful to at least be able to run again so soon, even if I am dropping out of the OKC Memorial fun.
There will be another race, always and obviously. Zero to be sad about. (I keep telling myself this.)
So going forward I am trying to keep it simple:
- Eat as much good, beautiful food as I need to have energy all day long, with a special emphasis on produce (see above).
- Run just 5-8 miles per day without the pressure of speed work right now, maybe one longer run on Fridays if I feel good.
- Make strength and yoga a priority several times per week.
- I have a short series of dynamic warm-ups memorized now, and the whole thing takes only about 6 minutes, so no excuses.
No events or deadlines or measurable goals for a little while, just a healthy life until I am 100% lusciously recovered and at peace with some things in my head. Maybe by summertime I will be happy about looking for another race. (My half-marathon time goal, by the way is 1:45. I don’t have a full marathon time goal right now but want to run one soon, when I feel strong about it, not sloppy.)
Misguided urgency can be the enemy of progress.
If I can not just run consistently and keep my time and energy balanced with the rest of life, but also keep my mind and body strong and happy, then I will call every bit of this a lesson well learned.
A big part of the pleasure here is learning for ourselves what strategies serve us best. And every person is unique. Servant not master, right?
If you are running any of the OKC Memorial events this coming weekend, I wish you all the best!! Our weather forecast looks gorgeous, and it is such a fun, loving community tradition. Enjoy every second and know that I am rooting for you.
“Take care of your knees, Mom, your knees love you!”
~My daughter, avid cross country runner, age 21,
giving me advice and permission to rest