Minneapolis Marathon Training: Week Eight

Last week’s training had its ups and downs. Literally. It seemed that one run was better than the other all week long. I start every single week thinking I’m going to be this hardcore, take-no prisoners runner, but then I realize that I’m just….well, I’m me. I’m surfing a lot of waves right now with a job that I don’t love, being in a place that I feel I outgrew a long time ago, and just generally wondering where my life is going and what I will do next. Running is my constant between all of those things, but I tend to wrap it up in the same tarp as everything else and that’s when I have more off days than I should. I get frustrated with the wind and take it as another setback, I get demoralized with running slow paces even though I know they are serving a physiological purpose, and I don’t give myself enough of a break to say, “I’m awesome. I got it done,” and instead let everything sink in and make me feel like I am inadequate.

Monday: Rest. Monday was my birthday. I had celebrated with my family the week beforehand, but decided to take up my younger sister on a night of listening to jazz instead of running 6 miles and going to Trader Joe’s to shop for groceries, so I took the day off.

Tuesday: 5 easy pace miles at a 10:54 pace. Tuesday was another very high-wind day. As in, wind warnings all over the state and feeling the gold fiberglass box on four wheels that gets me here and there lurch in the wind on my way to and from work that day. I opted for the treadmill, partially because I was feeling a weird sensation in my calf muscle and inside left knee that slightly frightened me.

Wednesday: 4 x 800’s with 400 recovery for 7.5 miles at an average 10:00 pace. Wednesday was the day of the drawing for the TCS New York City Marathon, so I spent all day on pins and needles checking my credit card account, NYRR account, and email account like every other crazy person on the planet trying to get a coveted spot in the race. The end of the work day came and went and I still hadn’t heard either way, but the adrenaline surge provided a great opportunity to do some speed work. However, Wednesday was yet again a very windy day and, given that my knee and calf were still feeling a little quirky, I decided to go by way of an easy method of clocking my times and headed back to the gym for the treadmill. Halfway through my run, however, I got a text from another runner friend confirming that she did not get a spot in the NYC Marathon. Against my better judgement, I checked my NYRR account and saw that I also didn’t get a spot. That wasn’t exactly the best news to get in the middle of a tough speed work session that I had to cut short because my calf and knee were starting to scream at me. I hopped off and did some hip strengthening moves and core work. I can’t lie that I wasn’t disappointed. I was crushed with the news. Hopefully Chicago will come through for me.

Thursday: 30 minutes of spinning. Injuries. They happen. And Thursday was the day of redemption for whatever is bothering me on the inside of my left leg. My left inside calf was strained, my knee hurt when I stood on my left leg. I started a run and after only a mile, I was like, “No no no no no.” I decided not to push it and instead opt for some cross-training on the spin bike. Usually, when I feel like I am about to get injured, I back off. The idea of having to go through another doctor’s appointment and 6-8 weeks of physical therapy but worse– forgoing the two races I have coming up– was much more unbearable than backing off my planned long runs to play it safe. Being on injury watch feels, for me, like I’ve just been spooked so my senses are on high alert all while I’m trying not to take it seriously. But I do admit that one thought that crossed my mind was…..of course.

Friday: Rest. Friday was a horrible day at work that sapped all of my emotional and mental energy. While I hate using that as a reason not to run, I had worked myself up to a splitting headache and dehydration. Plus, my injury had not subsided, even with the foam-rolling and PVC-rolling I had done the night before. I decided to call it a day and try tomorrow. Friday was a lost cause.

Saturday: Rest. I knew Saturday’s planned tempo run might not happen. In addition to a family obligation at 8AM and having to leave at 12PM for an out-of-town obligation, waking up at 5AM to run 10 miles was just…no. Plus, I was still on injury watch. I honestly just didn’t know what else to do.

Sunday: 5 tempo miles at 9:44 and 2 recovery miles at 11:06. After a busy weekend out of town, all I wanted was time to myself to regroup. I considered taking the day off. I was down an easy run and likely a long run for the week. My mileage was down to only 10 for the week– a drastic drop from last week’s 37.5-mile week. My knee and calf still hurt despite all the rolling. But I decided I needed to do SOMETHING so I went to the gym and was able to get through a 5-mile tempo run with 2 recovery miles. I didn’t have much emotion about the run– didn’t not want to be there, just knew it was something I had to do because hey– this is marathon-training. It’s supposed to be hard. And perhaps– just perhaps– two days of rest had more benefit than trying to push it.

I finished the week down 20 miles from the previous week. Having an injury is hard, but I have to take responsibility for what I put my body through.

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