Sunday, January 10, 2016

Next Steps

Damn injuries.

It's my own fault. I knew it was coming. I tried to fix it before it got too bad. But I didn't rest. After all, I was signed up for races that I really wanted to complete. No regrets, but I'm still frustrated.

One of these races was the New Years Double. I would be doing the Double Double, which was four different races over 2 days, a 5K and either a half marathon or full marathon on each day. Since I'm only "half" crazy I went the Double Double Half route. I knew from the beginning that my times weren't going to be super speedy. I was training to finish these races, not set PR's. After all, it's 32.4 miles over 2 days and I'm not an ultra runner. That is some serious mileage for me.

In the months leading up to the race I just wasn't feeling like myself. I had also signed up for the Houston Marathon on January 17, but decided awhile back to drop to the half marathon. I felt sluggish, was under a lot of stress, had not been focused on strength training like I should have been, and just wasn't feeling like a full marathon was a smart choice. But I really wanted to complete the New Years Double. Running double long runs of no more than 12 miles wasn't intimidating to me like a single 20 miler would be, and in all honestly the training went fairly well. My times were slower than in recent years, but I was able to get through the long runs okay.

But I was having nagging pains that frustrated me. I assumed I was developing Achilles tendinitis, so I tried rolling, trigger point, and stretching and I kept most of the problems at bay. I was still nervous about how Day 2 of the New Years Double would go.

I got through the race. I finished. Day 2 was fairly ugly. The pain after Day 1 was pretty significant and I won't lie by saying I wasn't fearful my Achilles would snap in two during Day 2. It didn't, but at some points it sure felt like it might.

Day 1 I actually posted respectable times. The 5K was long due to a direction error by a volunteer and I'm pretty pleased with my 8:35 pace over 3.4 miles. My half marathon was 9:25 pace. But there was an incredible amount of discomfort after those races. I ran my slowest 5K ever on Day 2 (intentionally), and my second slowest half marathon. I decided that in order to reduce the impact to my heel, I would run for only 10 minutes at a time and then walk for 1 minute. This plan worked very well and my running pace was respectable. As the race progressed, my quads definitely started getting sore and it was harder and harder to start back up with running after my walk breaks, but my heel wasn't giving me a whole lot of trouble towards the end.

Did I mention it was brutally cold both days? And windy!

I made it through 33 miles and earned my Double Double medals. It remained to be seen at what cost, however.

Done with all four races

Eve race medals

My friend Melinda ran the same races as me

The day after the race was probably the worst as far as pain and swelling. I noticed, however, that the pain was more on the medial side of my heel rather than being right on my Achilles, and that worried me even more. If it was truly tendinitis I would assume my pain would be centered on the back side of my heel. So now I was worried about a stress fracture. Needless to say, I called my podiatrist and made an appointment.

Luckily, no fracture was detected on x-rays and based on the swelling and pain location, it was most likely an inflamed nerve that runs along that part of the calcaneus bone. I was ordered to rest it, use ibuprofen, and ice. I likely also had a touch of tendinitis, but that wasn't a huge concern since with rest it can easily be rectified. Being the distance runner that I am, however, I of course asked the doctor if I could still "run" the Houston Half Marathon on the 17th. He told me that if my pain and swelling was gone, and if I listened to my body, that would be okay. If I still had pain after the race that worried me, we could schedule an MRI to get more answers and a more definitive treatment plan.

What does all this mean for my upcoming races? I have Houston on the 17th, which is a "go," although it will probably once again be very slow. I then was going to be ramping up my training for the New Orleans Ironman 70.3. Right before New Orleans is my 7th Texas Independence Relay. After that my schedule is open.

Coming off a sluggish season and nagging injuries, however, I decided that ramping up for a half ironman was not smart. My focus has to be on correcting my imbalances and getting stronger. Putting the pressure of a huge race on my shoulders would cause me unneeded stress. I don't want to just "finish" my first 70.3. I want to finish it strong and in top shape. This wouldn't be the case if I forced myself to complete New Orleans.

I hate the idea of not doing the race. So many people from my team are competing and it was going to be so much fun. I will miss the excitement and camaraderie. I will miss a good vacation to New Orleans with the husband. But in return I will be able to come back stronger and ready for the training that a 70.3 requires.

Down but never out! 

No comments:

Post a Comment