Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Training Update: Done for now

Closure is a good thing.

So, my marathon training comes to a close. Prematurely, of course: The Portland Marathon is not for a couple weeks. October 4th.

But at mile 3.56 my training ended.

The issues with my left leg involving my IT band and most likely my hamstring and possibly even my calf and achilles will not relent, and they are not battle-able. They've got a trump card to which I have no following move.

While I'm resigned to it, I am surprised at how much it's bothering me. I see people running, or glossy pictures of Runners in their element, airborne and mid-stride, and I feel really sad. Bummed out that my body can't do that, wondering if it'll be able to again.

It will. I will. It'll happen--it's just that I'm getting old and the auto-pilot button needs to be removed. More maintenance, more care and feeding, more attention. It's important enough, so I just need to change my approach and my habits.

So. No marathon--for now. But I'm already looking for the next one.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The Road to PDX26.2

It takes a marathon to get to a marathon.

I've been meaning to post here about my experience training for the Portland Marathon, on October 4th. I'm registered, and I'm in week 15 of an 18-week training plan.

Any time you try to stick with something fairly rigorous for 18 weeks you're bound to get sidetracked, off-schedule, screwed up, whatever, especially when the enterprise is as dodgy a one as running is for a 46-year-old with no distance running experience to speak of.

All this is to say, my goddam knee hurts. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't surprised at how much this is bothering me.

So here's the story. All was going pretty well according to plan (the plan being a Hal Higdon training schedule I'd downloaded and entered into my Google calendar). I was hitting my miles, I felt good, I'd ramped up slowly and deliberately and avoided injury. Through the week of hitting 16 miles on my long run day, I was on it. And then.

And then, I took a trip to Portland for work and figured I'd get some miles in there. My first run was supposed to be 18 miles. Around mile 12 a familiar thing happened--I started having knee pain. This was familiar because I'd previously worked through some IT-band issues with my right knee. And I'd gotten past it with discipline strestching and foam rolling. Regardless, I had to cut the run short (in the downpour I found myself in, I didn't mind so much at the time). And I redoubled my efforts at knee maintenance.

The rest of the week, every run went well. I was happy. I'd had a problem, figured it out, and solved it.

Problem was, I paid too much attention to just that problem. So this past Saturday, out for a cut-back week long run of 14 miles, I split the distance between road and dirt. On my way down at the end off the trail I had a little tenderness in my left knee, but nothing too serious, so I kept going.

Mistake. I sit here nursing severe pain in my left knee--a totally new thing, pain in the left knee--as I nurse this beer I'm drinking.

And it won't go away.
And it won't let me run, or this time hardly even walk.

I tried for an easy 5 miles today and couldn't get past 5 minutes or so of jogging before having to stop and walk. And it still hurts. I'm supposed to do 10 miles tomorrow, while I'm not sure how I can walk from 10 Barrel to the studio to do my radio show without bad pain.

I'm 4 weeks out from the race. This weekend, I'm supposed to hit my long distance mark of 20 miles--the longest run of the training calendar before I taper for the race.

So wtf. I'm flummoxed. I'm waiting and seeing. And I'm discouraged to the point of wanting to cry. 

Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, right? Except if I don't stick to this plan, I have no idea if I can make it anywhere near 20 miles, let alone 26.2. So I suppose what I'm doing is confronting failure.

What do I do about it? I'm not sure yet. What I do know is that this is not the update I'd been wanting to post. But it's the update I have.

Any tips out there for me?