Now that I’ve successfully come back I’m ready to put this injury behind me. Life isn’t about standing still or dwelling on the past but learning lessons along the way. While I’m still not convinced “tendinitis” was the appropriate diagnosis, rest was going to be the only cure. Naturally, that gave me plenty of time to *think* so here are a few things I’ve learned:
First, I didn’t give myself enough rest before starting marathon training. Last year I ran quite a bit as part of my 13 in 2013 challenge. My last half marathon was mid November, then I took nearly 2 weeks off and traveled to PA for that duration to manage some family matters. Work also started to ramp up at this time. Even better, my hip was bothering me. I tweaked something in a non-running workout in October but ignored it. It didn’t hurt necessarily so I figured it would go away but it felt funny and definitely affected my running. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.
Then as soon as I returned to DC marathon training began. While I chose not to admit it openly and to myself, I was spent. Not just physically but dealing with a barrage of things just took a toll. But I was excited for the marathon journey so thought that was enough to keep me going and it did for 10 weeks. But never underestimate the power of rest and realizing you might have to adjust your goals. Oh, and don’t ignore injuries. 😉
Second, my shoes did me in. I did all the right things early on. I went to a specialty running store, I got fitted, I bought new shoes. Even though I ended up in Asics – which is still my brand – they were a different style, a whole size larger (7) than I typically wear, and they added insoles which I’ve never worn or needed before. I broke them in slowly but each of my long runs was laborious – part of that was the tiredness – but in my last 2 long runs before injury, I kept kicking the inside of my left foot (Courtney‘s my witness). So much so I cut up my ankle (that was a nice discovery in an Epsom salt balt…)
I thought this was just all a part of the mental game and tried to push through but I wasn’t listening to what my body was trying to tell me. I haven’t worn those shoes since and realize now I shouldn’t have been in a shoe an entire size larger. I immediately went back to my former favorite style (Asics GT-2170) and used those new pair for Pittsburgh.
Third, I am truly a solo runner. I do not regret joining the distance training program along with Courtney and others AT ALL. The coach, assistants and fellow runners were GREAT and it was my first marathon so the support was welcomed. However, running is a very personal sport and I am a creature of habit. I don’t generally like to talk when running and I enjoy music (which wasn’t allowed for long runs) though I do think there is a time and place for going ‘naked’. No matter what they say about going at your own pace, I always felt the need to be in step with someone else. Whether that was going slower or faster I could never figure out what was working for me. When I pick marathon training back up again, I’ll be going it alone. My plan remains the same and I know several others running Marine Corps so I can imagine doing some joint runs on occasion and have already outlined a few races for training runs. But overall group training is not for me.
Lastly, strength training is an important part of training. I typically workout 5-6 times a week and what I do depends on if I’m in race mode or not. I had a personal trainer I stopped seeing when marathon training approached because my plan said RUN ALL THE MILES! (ok 4 times a week) and I just didn’t think I had time for anything else.
I tried to keep up at least going to BodyPump one day a week but for the most part, it was all run all the time and my body suffered for it. Aside from that, strength and conditioning is something I truly enjoy. I’ve been running a long time but wasn’t always a “runner”. Instead I was in the gym – taking classes, lifting weights, etc way more than I was running – until the racing bug hit.
Moving forward: Things happen and my injury imposed break was not only good for my body but good for my soul. I was able to get the rest I needed (but didn’t want to give in to) and in the process gained a great deal of patience and respect for the process. I’m not even upset that I missed my milestone marathon because I still turned 40 (and had a kick butt time) and even better – got into Marine Corps. Knowing what I know now I have more time to get myself mentally and physically prepared for the new journey. I love learning lessons 🙂