Pardon the radio silence. Yes, it’s been quite a while since I posted about my fantastic first 20-miler of this training cycle. Since then, not much writing about running has happened, and if we’ve talked in real life, you probably already know that the reason for this is that not much actual running has happened, either. That’s right, I’m injured. It sucks. A lot.
For an entire month now, I’ve been battling a strain in my outer left calf. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it happened. I cut down to 16 miles for the long run the week after 20, which I ran on Summer Streets with Abby and Steph. I remember it being obnoxiously humid, but we kept a pretty good pace of around 9:10, and I felt great during and after the run. Running long on Saturday threw off my schedule, so I took two back-to-back rest days. It wasn’t until a short 6-mile run 3 days later that I suddenly noticed my leg hurt with every landing and push off. I only notice the pain when I actually get out there and try to run, so I’ve been going on test runs about once a week since it started. Some have actually been great and left me thinking I was miraculously cured…only to have the same pain resurface when I attempt the next run.
The Chicago Marathon was supposed to be my comeback for 26.2 miles after backing off from this distance for 2 years. After focusing on getting speedier at shorter distances (particularly the half marathon), I was so pumped to see how my improvement could be applied to the full marathon. The sports medicine doctor I’ve been seeing didn’t tell me to scrap the race, but he stated the obvious by telling me that I am more capable of finishing by running it on minimal training (only cross training until running is pain free) rather than pushing through the pain, making my injury worse, and getting to the start line with an increased risk of a DNF. To say that I’m discouraged and disappointed to pretty much stop training for it 5 weeks out is a huge understatement. I’m trying not to dwell too much on the fact that I also really wanted redemption on this particular course after a not-so-great race in Chicago in 2010.
When I first started training for this race, I thought that with a 1:44 half-marathon PR, a sub-4 marathon was a reasonable goal. Half-marathon pace is much speedier than full-marathon pace for me, so I thought I was playing it safe with a 30-minute cushion for my marathon goal time. Part of me doesn’t want to abandon that goal just yet, but I know it’s become pretty lofty now that training is nearly nonexistent. My doctor realizes that the race is right around the corner, so we’re trying a few damage-control tactics over the next few weeks: physical therapy, KT Tape, acupuncture, and orthotic shoe inserts just to name a few. Since I would like to get out there and still have a somewhat-decent performance, I appreciate the aggressive approach, and I hope at least one of these treatments will do the trick. That said, if I hadn’t been in the middle of training when this injury decided to show up, I would be much less cranky about taking a break from running and simply waiting it out. I’ll be (mostly) okay with taking an indefinite hiatus beginning October 8, if only I can get to the start line in Chicago and cross the finish line just a few hours later.
That’s too much to ask, right?