Flying through week 15 – next Sunday is the marathon!

Week 15 (10/22-28): total ~19 miles (3.1/5.3/7.8/3.1) – posting 10/29/2018
Avg resting HR: 56
Weight: 112
CityStrides coverage of Northampton: 76%

Another taper week ending in a race: the Toasted Owl Gives a Hoot 5K, a costume-and-dogs-and-dogs-in-costumes fundraiser for the local humane society that I just found out about. It was so much fun—the pre-and-post milling around was way more entertaining than most races, seeing all the cute dogs and creative costumes—and I’m so happy with my time! 30:22 with an average pace of 9:46. It makes me feel like a sub-five-hour marathon is totally within reach if I want to go for it.

I’m puzzled to be subjectively doing so much better than in 2015, and when I go back and look at my pre-marathon training runs, my paces are very close. (Even though I didn’t blog, I can see them in RunKeeper and even get the weather from CityStrides; love the quantified self records!) I wasn’t racing though, which means both that I don’t know how fast I would have been, but also that I wasn’t doing any speedwork. Although the strength training I had ambitiously planned on never happened, I did keep up with the Michigans most weeks that I didn’t have a race.

The long run, just shy of eight miles, sure didn’t feel very long. It was cold and rainy, one of the conditions I’ve been fearful of on marathon day, but it was totally fine. It was also my last chance to reach some new streets; I finished 3 more and hit 76% of Northampton. I thought for sure I’d be closer to finishing, but I underestimated how many are outside of a 3-mile radius. It will be a great project to help avoid post-marathon let-down!

First taper week, ending with a half-marathon PR!?!

Week 14 (10/15-21): total ~26 miles (5/7.9/13.1) – posting 10/24/2018
Avg resting HR: 57
Weight: 113
CityStrides coverage of Northampton: 75%
Long run: Happy Valley Half Marathon. 13.1 miles; avg HR 164; time 2:26:56; average pace 11:13

It’s a taper with some speedwork thrown in—13.1 miles instead of 5 and 8–and wow, I cut four seconds off my previous half-marathon record of 1:27:00 in 2011! Temperature makes all the difference (I don’t remember the Binghamton Bridge Run that well, but it was mid-May so it probably was above the 40s), but I’m almost a decade older so I am super-happy. Plus I stopped to take pictures!

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The inevitable minor injury

Each time I’ve trained for a marathon I’ve had a physical issue crop up, so it’s not really a surprise. The first one featured right thigh pain from running on the left side of cambered roads, plus toe issues from shoes that were too small. In 2015, when I was using FiveFingers 100% of the time, I developed pain in the tops of my feet—both, I think? this is why I wish I had blogged it—and figured out it was extensor tendinitis (seems like it should be spelled tendOnitis, which apparently is also correct but not medically preferred? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ). It comes from not touching my heels down enough when forefoot striking, affecting the smaller toes/outside of the foot. I adjusted my running and it went away. This time it cropped up again, just in the right foot, and much more severely.

It doesn’t hurt when I run so I didn’t take it seriously enough at first—just a little nagging pain when walking, especially in the morning. But in the past couple of weeks it got worse. Then it started hurting more in the evenings, especially last Sunday after the 19 miler. I soaked my foot in cold water, took an ibuprofen, and wore compression socks. Monday it still hurt, a burning aching pain, and I did more intensive research. Because I’ve been using regular shoes (it’s going to be too cold for FiveFingers, especially because the circulation in my feet isn’t great), I got concerned that it might be a stress fracture instead, which has similar symptoms but which is much more serious and requires that you stop running. I read everything I could find and reassured myself that it must be tendinitis because it didn’t hurt while running or jumping. During my 5 and 8 mile runs this week I focused on touching my heels down, and it’s totally better now. Even if I re-aggravate it doing the half-marathon on Sunday (a combo of the second 5 mile and 8 mile “long” run I’m supposed to do as part of the taper), I’ll still have a full 2 weeks of taper to fix it again. Overall I’m feeling really, really good! I’ve been slathering my feet with vaseline and barely have any blistering. New York here I come!

Edited to add: I picked up my swag bag for the Happy Valley Half and there’s a sample of KT tape, which this blogger tried and said it helped. Weirdly, the embedded video shows one tape application technique and its updated version a different one. My tendency is to hoard these samples for “future use,” which results in clutter and often in them going bad/drying up/etc. This time I’m going to use it right now!

Edited to add KT Tape results: I think it helped? Hard to tell for sure, but I wore the tape for the day before and the day after my 19-mile run, and no pain. After taking it off, I did have a recurrence, which went away after the next run where I told myself to touch my heels down.


Weeks 10 – 12; just one more big week and then the taper!

Another big catch-up post (finished 10/13). Blogging has taken a back seat for a few reasons. The training isn’t a novelty this time and it’s far from the only thing I have to focus on. It’s going very smoothly; in fact one of the things I love about marathon training is what a huge task it seems under normal circumstances (long run = 5 miles) versus how manageable it feels when it’s underway. The actual running and prep is very time-consuming, but I don’t need to think much about it in between. For my first marathon it was top-of-mind all the time, from obsessive re-reading of NRMT to fantasizing/worrying to research, whereas now I have so much else going on (2 jobs, school, family commitments, multiple book groups, etc.) that the training is almost on auto-pilot. Maybe when I start tapering I’ll be able to do the posts I’d planned on fuel, shoes, CityStrides, and weight, but we’ll see. So just a few notes and some pictures once again!

Continue reading “Weeks 10 – 12; just one more big week and then the taper!”