Well, it’s official: after yesterday’s long run, I am tapering. I must also add that I am also in freak-out mode.
That sounds a little dramatic so let me start at the beginning. Two weeks ago I had my first 20 miler; ever and of the training cycle. My fueling was on point. My hydration was on point (it was 86 degrees when we finished!). But my right glute tightened up around mile 8 and I had to run 12 more miles with a contracted glute muscle. It was painful to say the least and I was definitely limping back to the car — with high spirits I must add! Despite the glute pain, I ran 20 f*cking miles! And exactly on pace I must also brag. I’ve been stretching, rolling and mentioned this to my coach who didn’t seem concerned one bit and hasn’t offered any suggestions to further prevent this. No big deal I thought. If he’s not worried, neither am I.
So, I’ve been running per normal. Last week I ran a stellar (for me) 5k, I completed 8 miles of speed work on Wednesday and yesterday I ran the Saratoga Palio Half Marathon. I love this race and thought it would be perfect for breaking apart my second and last 20 miler of the cycle. My initial goal was to run this race at my goal marathon pace (more on that to be included in an upcoming post) as practice for the big day. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and go out too fast and with this nagging tight glute, I didn’t really want to overdo it. I knew a teammate of mine, Larissa, was going to run at my goal pace for the first 7 miles, so I decided to run with her. It’s always easier with company! We took off and ran a little fast. Whoops! At mile seven, she decided to drop down to her goal marathon pace, 9:22, so I said, “hey, why not give it a try? It’s not THAT much faster than what we are already running.” So I followed her strong lead and worked hard to keep up with her for the remaining 6 miles.
I kept telling myself, “less than an hour. Only a 5k left. You know where you are, don’t stop running. I can hear the finish. Oh look! A hill! Let’s run down it as fast as humanly possible.” By mile 10 it was clear I was going to PR and I did the math with each passing mile marker and realized the gap was getting bigger. I don’t think I could have ran any faster through the finisher’s shoot; I was spent. And dizzy as I stood there waiting for my medal.
And that’s when I immediately realized my glute was worse than ever. After seeing my parents and quickly reassuring them that despite my salt covered face, I was feeling good energy wise, I set out to run 5 more miles with Bowden; a teammate and new friend. I couldn’t do it. My hamstring was now too tight and a pain behind my knee kept me from moving any faster than an 11 minute mile. I was dragging. I hobbled back to my car, sat there for about 15 minutes before I convinced myself that I could drive. The idea of having a huge lunch got me moving back toward home.
So, that’s why I’m freaking out. I have 19 days until my first marathon and I can barely walk after running 15. I’m frustrated because I’ve felt SO strong over the past four months and now this came out of nowhere. It’s clearly a tight muscle (I’m hoping that’s all it is) and am planning on seeing a PT as much as possible this week. I still have plans to hike in the White Mountains next week and hope that a break from running will relax those muscles and strengthen others. Oh goodness I hope so. (A lot of hoping happening over here.)
As a fellow runner/inspiration Laura says, I’m going to take control of everything I can over the next couple of weeks. I’m going to focus my energy on eating healthy, plenty of hydration, getting enough sleep and staying positive. I’m going to do everything in my power to get to the start of that race healthy, both mentally and physically. Not running for the next two weeks is going to be miserable for both the beau and I; feel free to pop in to the shop with baked goods (for him) and kombucha (for me). #imobsessed
Stats about today’s race:
Official time: 2:03:15
49/123 in my division, 609/1148 overall
4:09 PR (last PR half was Syracuse in March)
Negative splits! 5M 47:45 (@9:33), 10M 1:34:48 (@9:28), overall pace was 9:21