Marathon Training: T Minus 17 weeks

When last I recapped the riveting tale of my march towards a 26.2 sticker on the back of my car, I had completed 4 weeks and had gotten up to 8 miles in a row without spontaneously combusting. It was forward progress and I was feeling a childlike optimism towards life.

During week 5, my optimism gained footing after my 9 mile long run. One might think 9 miles would sap your will to live rather than building your optimism. But I looked down at my Garmin at mile 8 and seriously thought my Garmin must be broken because there’s no way I only had one mile left. Scout’s honor.

First I kept assuming I read my watch wrong. Like maybe the light was reflecting off it and I just wanted to think it said 8 when in reality it said 5. I even thought maybe sweat was in my eye. I checked it at least 4 times including slowing to a near crawl so I could shove the watch up to my face. Then I started thinking it was just not working right so I started comparing the amount of time that had elapsed to the number of miles to confirm enough time had actually elapsed for me to have gone 8 miles at my pathetically slow pace. And it had. It was a ridiculously awesome moment.
The face of optimism at the start of a long run.
The next weekend I didn’t run. I was a casualty of the bubonic plague and had no will to live let alone run. I barely found the energy to scrape myself off the heating pad long enough to sit at the kitchen table for dinner.

By week 7 , I had recovered enough to leave the house and elevate my heart rate again. The 10 Miles went pretty well. Not the greatest run of my life. But not the worst either. And I didn’t die so all was right in the world.

Except the top of my foot hurt. I assumed it was where my husband accidentally nailed my foot with his elbow while doing some dramatic SWAT roll over me to get out of bed to demonstrate how funny he is. What's that? You and your spouse don't do dramatic SWAT rolls?  That's strange.  What about at work?  Surely you periodically SWAT roll in the aisle between cubicles in the office?  No?  Huh.  Interesting.

Anyhoo, I thought my foot was bruised and the laces from my tennis shoes were just pulling across it aggravating it. I pushed through my two 4 mile runs during the week but I started wearing tennis shoes to work in the hopes of babying my foot. I’d leave the laces nice and loose and people only looked at me slightly weird when my bright blue shoes looked funky with the rest of my business casual work clothes.

Week 8 had 11 miles on my schedule. I thought of the foot issue as discomfort rather than full on pain. My general rule of thumb when running is that I can keep going through discomfort but I need to stop for full on pain. Discomfort includes anything related to aches or little tweaks. It also includes everything that relates to body temperature and wanting to die. If I stopped every time I felt uncomfortable, I wouldn’t even get around the block. So I push through that. Pain on the other hand is anything that is super sharp, building to a crescendo or anything that is fairly constant. I had an exploding calf from hell last fall and that required stopping. That’s the only full on pain I’ve had. Knock on wood.
I don't love my discomfort zone.  I just endure it better. 
So the foot wasn’t perfect but I didn’t think it needed to stop me. Then I went for my 11 mile run. Then it became clear there was more going on.

My foot gradually got worse over the course of the 11 miles. I became completely obsessed with what it could be. My first and most lingering not to mention frustrating thought was that it was a stress fracture. Even typing that now I worry that I’ve jinxed myself. It had me thinking about everyone I’ve ever heard of that had a stress fracture and how they had to stop running for at least 6 weeks. If I had a stress fracture I knew my marathon plans would be completely thrown off and I spent the last 6 miles fretting about whether or not I’d be able to run it.

It was torture. And it became an 11 mile death march spiraling further and further down as my foot got worse. By mile 10 I knew my foot was hurt but decided to finish the last mile anyway so I could at least have my 11 mile training run done. Stupid. I know. That’s me. 
The face of woman 10 miles in with a bad foot.
I went home a pathetic mess. I started icing my foot, sucking down Ibuprofen and Googling the hell out of my symptoms.  It was the top of the foot.  It didn't hurt to bear weight or walk.  But it hurt to wiggle my toes. 

Me and my Google medical degree concluded it wasn’t a stress fracture and decided to blame my running shoes for getting old and worn out. Me and my Google medical degree also concluded that I should take a week off from running and then see where I was at. Me and my Google medical degree figured any doctor I went to see would tell me to stop running anyway. So I’d just beat the doctor to the punch.

I spent week 9 of my marathon training sitting on my butt shopping online for new running shoes and watching Season 3 of Breaking Bad. It was entertaining but burned very few calories. Naturally, I used the opportunity to compound the lack of calorie burning by inhaling Oreos, soda and French fries. I’m skilled in the art of making my problems worse. I’m also above average dramatic.
With the weather finally cooling off, my own personal ice bath has returned.  Cold pools after a long run for the win!
Case in point, I did such a good job icing my foot Wednesday night that I became convinced for roughly 5 minutes that I had actual frost bite on my foot. I sent my son to report this breaking news to his father and his father sent him back to tell me I’m nuts. I sent that kid back to tell his father he should look at the affected area first. His father sent him back to explain that would not be necessary. He also suggested I Google frostbite. But I didn’t have time because my foot had miraculously recovered from the frostbite by then and I was back to more Breaking Bad.

My foot was feeling better by the weekend. Enough that I even contemplated going for a walk. Because I’m nothing if not consistently ridiculous. I reminded myself of my big week off plan and went back to watching Breaking bad. I successfully kept my ridiculousness at bay until my usual Tuesday morning run. And so far, no pain. Knock on wood. I’m endlessly paranoid and think every twinge is the start of it. But so far so good.

I'll take it.  For now.

My Handy Marathon Training Summary:
Week 1 – 5 miles. So pleasant! Can’t believe I’m done already! Whee!
Week 2 – 6 miles. Yeah. That’s a training run. Hope the weather cools off soon.
Week 3 – 7 miles. Death March. Kill me now.
Week 4 – 8 miles. Did it! Yeah, for cooler weather! Finally! Felt pretty decent.
Week 5 – 9 miles. Is my Garmin broken? How did I magically get to mile 8 already? This is crazy awesome!
Week 6 – The Mysterious Bubonic Plague hit and my gluteus was left sore thanks to a giant shot of antibiotics.
Week 7 – 10 miles. Is my Garmin broken again? This is crazy awesome times 2! Except for the last mile that involved time stopping and the mile lasting 6 years.
Week 8 – 11 miles. Shoot me now and put me out of my misery. Death March Part Deux. Things just got real.
Week 9 – Zero miles. Iced my foot so much I had a frostbite scare and got through 13 episodes of Breaking Bad.  I just started Season 4.  Do not ruin the rest of the series by telling me anything that’s going to happen or I will go Heisenberg on you.

1 comment:

Shelley said...

I recognize much of myself in your eleven mile doomsday spiral...ugh, hate those feelings!

I had a pain on the top of my foot. Went through all the stages of Dr. Google diagnosing it and was convinced it was a metatarsal stress fracture. I thought my training was over. Ended up being an arthritic bone spur...which eventually will cause me so much daily pain that I'll need surgery to fix it. But apparently that's years away. So I have an orthopedist who injects lidocaine into the spur (yes it hurts but then it doesn't for nearly 3 months, totally worth it), and I also changed the way I lace my shoes so the laces don't criss-cross over that area. Long story short (too late, I know) is that I can still run. Hope your foot issue spontaneously resolves, but if it doesn't, this might be something to look into (with a real doctor...what a concept, haha).

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