Monday, January 09, 2012

Pain, Progress, and Starting Over

Over a month ago, I set the goal to run a four hour marathon on March 18, 2012. I began training and documenting my progress here, but right before Christmas I started experiencing pain on the outside of my left knee. After consulting Dr. Google and a few running friends, it was pretty clear that the problem was my IT band - a common running injury that can usually be blamed on over training. Which, as it turns out, is exactly what I did. 

I got really excited about marathon training. I used a plan that was more demanding than any I had followed in the past. I was running more miles and doing less yoga and cross training. I was running too fast on most of my workouts. I got injured. I couldn't run. It sucked. 

Last week, I ran a grand total of ten miles. My long run was four miles and at the end of it, my knee felt a little tight, but nothing like before. I think those two weeks of rest and recovery paid off, but that doesn't mean I'm jumping right back into my training plan. If I pick up where I left off, I'll probably re-injure myself and I don't want to risk that. I love running too much. So it's time for a new plan. 

I've decided to drop down to the half marathon for the Wrightsville Beach race. I only run one marathon a year and I only want to tackle that distance if and only if I am 100% healthy, strong, and prepared. I don't think I'll feel that way in nine weeks. The year is still young and there are a ton of marathons out there. I'll get my 2012 medal before the year is up - just not at Wrightsville Beach. And I'm okay with that. 

As for my week's worth of workouts: I took it easy, since I'm coming back from an injury and a vacation. Even though I worked out every day this week, nearly everything was done at a less intense level. 

Monday: Three easy miles with Nathan, and the first run of the New Year. I wanted to run five but my ITB started to act up at mile 2.5 so I cut it short. This was when I knew a spring marathon was not in the cards for me. (Pace: 9:28)

Tuesday: Vinyasa Flow. There was a substitute instructor, who I liked better than the usual instructor.

Wednesday: First, an easy three mile run at a 9:35 pace. Then, my beloved 30 minute kettlebell class at the YMCA. Because it is January and there are a ton of new members at the Y, the class was geared toward beginners. I didn't mind - it was nice to ease back into strength training.

Thursday: Vinyasa Flow, with lots of twists and hamstring stretches. I felt really strong in this class and enjoyed it from beginning to end.

Friday:  Kettlebell class, followed by 30 minutes of spin. I usually skip the spin portion of kettlebell - it's optional and I like to run before or after class instead. But since I'm giving my knee a break, I spun. Spinning is so hard. I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest! 

Saturday: Yoga at the YMCA. I really liked the instructor - she's a retired ballerina and offers just the right balance of mindfulness through the moves. I made Nathan come with me and even he liked the instructor, which is rare for him. (He is very picky about yoga instructors.)

Sunday: A long run of four miles at a 9:35 pace. A little soreness, but since this was the longest I've run in a while, I was downright thrilled. It's funny how an injury can make you appreciate distances in a whole new way.

Total miles: 10
Yoga classes:
Strength training: 2
Dog walks: a million
Final thoughts: Even though I'm still recovering, 2012 is off to a good start.