Week 51/52 recap
5 easy – 5 easy – 8.6 easy
Exactly a year ago I posted Down Time and had to admit to being injured enough to take a break from running. It was before I started to try longer planks every day (“Planksgiving” last November), sacrificing form for endurance. That was even before I gimped my way to getting X-rays when I couldn’t walk a half a block without needing to stop.
My 52 week journey to running the NYC Marathon (#52toNYCmarathon) started with me in pretty bad shape. Even as I volunteered at the 2013 NYC Marathon I had to skip out early because the standing in one spot for 3 – 4 hours was excruciating on my lower back and piriformins. I then had a terrible time trying to walk after standing in the cold at the marathon to cheer my running friends. When my friend, Rosalie, ran up to me for a hug I accidentally dropped the Gatorade Chews that I had for her. It hurt so badly for me to bend over that I hesitated a split second, thinking she might bend over to get them. She had just run 18 miles and I was hoping that she might bend over to pick up something I dropped!
Knowing I had a guaranteed entry into this 2014 NYC Marathon, I knew I had to pull it together and that it was going to require a full year to do it. I remember the day of the marathon being really scared that I wasn’t going to have enough time to recover and train to that level. As I stood on 1st Ave I looked at Amy, who was cheering with me, and expressed real doubt about being able to run it in a year.
Folks with a solid running base can make good use of 16 week training plans to be marathon ready. It was a 16 week plan from Marathon Training Academy that I used in 2012 to train for my first, the Wineglass Marathon. It was a well paced plan for me with running 3 times a week and cross training. To get to the point of running those distances, let alone walking without pain, required a huge step back. When I posted that I was pressing a reset button on my running last October, I had no idea what that was going to take.
It took months of physical therapy during which I started with running 2 miles or less just a few times a week. The winter of the polar vortex attack had me at the indoor track running some laps then stretching out my psoas before running some more laps. The psoas and hip flexor stretching after a run has been a mainstay during my entire #52toNYCmarathon year. Now that it is getting colder on some of the mornings I have been running, I can feel the threat of those areas becoming problematic again. I remain vigilant.
With the exception of combining weeks 5 – 8 when I was so blue from not being able to run, I have faithfully logged this journey weekly. I am as proud of that as I am about being marathon ready. I disappoint myself when I waffle on commitments and although it looks like I may have been backing out of dedicating this year to getting to the NYC Marathon during that second month I wasn’t. I was working hard at not running and writing about a goal nearly a year away was real salt in an open wound. By the end of 2013, the holidays and all of their drama had passed and I saw there was hope for my ability to run again.
The year had it’s ups and downs. A cold set me back in January not because didn’t feel like running but the coughing made my back seize up again, my upper back that is. The old song “Them Bones” about the this-bone’s connected to the that-bone is true. I had to release my upper back to loosen my lower back to help my SI joint etc etc. I worked hard all year on keeping everything in working order.
Family emergencies took up a big part of the beginning of the year but my Dad is now still recovering at home. He is getting around really well and in better spirits than he has been for quite a while. About the time he was able to move home in the spring was when I got to the point of taking on my coach, Angie Spencer of Marathon Training Academy. I was still months out from the marathon but needed her support for every aspect of training. I told her straight up that I was a head case. It had been a rough few months prior, I needed more than just a 16 week training plan to get me to the start line. As soon as I graduated from weekly PT sessions, I started officially marathon training.
That brings me to the 6 days before I toe the start line. I promise to recap marathon week, my week 52 of #52toNYCmarathon. Big race aside, there are a few really exciting things I am looking forward to while I am in the city and I am relying on iCal to keep my whole week straight. I intend to be picking up my racing bib at the Javits Center at the same time Kathrine Switzer is being indicted into the NYRR Hall of Fame. I am wrapping up an interview an NYU student is doing on me and the day after the marathon I have been invited to a panel upon which Meb Keflezighi is speaking. I also intend to see a couple performances at Lincoln Center!
The weather forecast for Sunday looks perfect at this point. Cool and sunny would make for a fine day to run by that spot where I didn’t want to bend over to pick up Rosalie’s Gatorade Chews. I might not feel like bending over as I pass by the spot but I know I am going to make it to the end and bring this year long journey to a successful closure.