Regrets and Regards

#52toNYCmarathon
Week 16/52 Recap

4.06 – 7.92 LSR

This week was a step down week thank goodness. Family emergencies demanded my attention and energy and running took a bit of a back seat as did other physical activity. The break was helpful and by the end of the week by back and hips felt better than they have in more than a year.

As I draw to the end of my first third of a year focusing on training for the NYC Marathon (#52toNYCmarathon), I find myself looking at those 52 weeks in many different ways. It is a year that started with volunteering at the NYC Marathon while I was in terrible pain walking and standing. What a start to 52 weeks. I had doubts that I would run again never mind 26.2 miles.

I have been carefully looking at how I got into that bad shape and have fleshed out just what happened. It goes back to when I ran my first marathon in 2012. I was very pleased to have accomplished that goal and even more thrilled with being able to coast on the fitness I had built up. I PRed again and again in lesser mileage races later 2012. I decided to have a little fun with a month of running every day. I did all of this without any attention to core work of cross training and by February I was reaping the benefit of nasty little injuries. Overuse and unbalanced training caused me achilles tendonitis, a twisted ankle, progressively tight psoas that threw my whole lumbar region into lock-down mode and eventually made my upper back inflexible too. I became a limping, slumping, constantly in some sort of pain runner.

My Entry

My Entry

Right after I twisted my ankle in March, I was out-of-town for family memorial services. Being out-of-state, I wasn’t able to run a local 10 mile and was a bit bummed. That set me up for the next thing that contributed into my downward spiral of running hard and no core balance. A contest tempted me into something that I swore I would never do; I applied to be on a relay team. The temptation appealed to my competitive nature not as a runner but as an artist. The winners would be chosen to be on one of two teams in the Ultimate Mother Runner Showdown by being judge ON THEIR CREATIVITY. That hooked me, I was determined to be one of 22 of the most creative runners that applied.

The day I was chosen I realized that was all I had wanted. The contest had rekindled my love for making comics and the recognition that got was award enough. From that day on there wasn’t a moment that I wasn’t trying to figure out how to get out of running in that relay. I had never entered a relay before because some of my biggest fears are letting people down. I sucked it up and kept training.

In June I hit a sweet spot that let me nab a 10k PR at the Women’s Mini. Soon after I was falling apart every other week with my back seizing up terribly by mid-July. I took a DAY off training and went right back out to run a level 8 miler so I wouldn’t be letting my Ragnar teammates down.HotRockCreek

I wasn’t in the best of shape for Ragnar, I peaked about a week early in training for it. Running back to back days has always been the very worst recipe for injury for me and Ragnar require 3 runs over 30 hours. My times were disappointing in the early October heat wave, high temps being another of my nemesis. I do have to say that my very worst fear, of hating everyone on my team and being odd girl out, was totally unfounded. That was the real highlight of the experience – each and very one of those ladies was so dear. It was because of not wanting to let them down that I ran when I hurt badly in heat that blood blistered my toes. In the end, I was a wreck. I will never run another relay because it pushes me to places that are terribly hard to recover from.

That is what brought me to the threshold of the #52toNYCmarathon, a year to prepare to run the NYC Marathon. This first third of a year, the first 16/52 weeks have been dedicated to recognizing what the problems are in my poor old 51-year-old body. I have arthritis in my SI joint that may give me problems for ever. PTwJohn_color

These past 16 weeks have also been dedicated to regarding what to do with this body of mine and deciding that I want to walk without pain. I have gotten excellent physical therapy that set me to rights almost instantly. I need to have constant core stabilization if I want to run; one will forever go hand in hand with the other or I will find myself in trouble very quickly. That and stretching regularly are part of the package deal. My PT John Miller, best of the best, has made that clear to me and I and forever grateful to all he has done for me. I have to admit that I have occasionally felt like I was in the circus as he taught me tricks and exercises but his good humor and great care have brought me so far.

That’s my look back at my first third of a year training for the TCS NYC Marathon 2014. I am still not certain how it is going to shake out but, after running a solid and pain free 8 miles yesterday at a 10MM pace, I have a lot more hope than when I started.

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