#3…not the greatest

Little over a week late but still wanted to write a quick post on what I decided to do last Saturday (September 15th). Since I was struggling with the injured hips off and on and still had not been as consistent in my training as I would have liked I had told myself I would not run the Air Force Marathon even though I already paid for it. Well, after I finally ran 18 miles the weekend before the marathon I started throwing around the idea of still running the marathon. The week leading up to the marathon I really wanted to run it but was still nervous I hadn’t trained enough and that I might hurt my hips even more for The Dresden Marathon. Well, once I went to go pick up my bib and tech shirt two days before I think that sealed the deal, I was definitely going to run it.

I probably slept about 8 hours Friday night which was the most I have ever slept the night before a marathon. I felt relaxed and just in a good mood. Well, parking took a little longer then it had in past years so by the time I got to the start line I had enough time to quickly go the bathroom then run to the start area with just a few minutes to spare.  (Which meant I didn’t stretch at all before this marathon, luckily I had spent a good amount of time the night before stretching). I realized after the cannon (yes, they started us off with a cannon this year) that I had forgotten my watch to keep track of my pace.  (Insert minor freak out moment, and probably some cursing under my breath) I quickly brought up the stopwatch feature on my iPhone to at least keep track of my time and decided to try to run with the 4:10 pace group just to have a better idea how I was pacing.

We started out on the course and about a mile into the race (as we are starting up our first hill) I did think to myself “Why did I think this was a good idea again?”. Luckily I stopped those thoughts very quickly and just started to focus on the climb ahead. The first 10-12 miles felt pretty good and the pace felt great. I stayed with the pace team until about 17 miles when my right hip started acting up. I slowed down to try to maintain my right hip without stopping or walking but eventually the slow jog wasn’t working anymore. For most people (including myself) walking or stopping to stretch can be one of the worst things because it is hard to get the body going again. Eventually i gave in and started to walked off and on, it was the only way to decrease the pain. However I didn’t dare to stop completely and stretch, knowing my body would tighten up. I was doing ok with running for a while then walking for a little bit if needed for the hips as I passed the 20 mile marker.

There are a few sizable hills at the end of the race so I decided that I would try to walk/slowly run up these hills to try to save my hips for Dresden. (For some reason it really decreased the pain in the hips when I walked up the hills rather than ran.) Well, when I hit around 22.5-23 miles I got a cramp just to the right of my belly button. I started walking but it just wasn’t going away. I tried “speed” walking but even that was too painful to deal with for very long. Even though it killed my pride I ended up walking the rest of the marathon except about the last half mile. I wasn’t going to finish walking so I slowly jogged to finish.  It was a little painful but there was the pride thing and also I just wanted to finish the race already. It was great getting my marathon medal (guess it always is) and getting something to eat. The cramp started going away fairly quickly after I finished and was gone by the time I started walking back to the car. And luckily for me my hips felt back to normal within a day or two.

Quick photo opt after The Air Force Marathon

Well, I finished and that is what my goal was for the day since I definitely wasn’t fully back from being injured to run a marathon yet. It obviously ended up being my worst time out of the three marathons I have ran but I am still glad I did it. I learned that I might be walking some in the Dresden Marathon due to the hips but that is ok. The Dresden Marathon is all for the experience, I cannot wait!

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There Will Be Ups…

Sunrise shot from my hill workout this morning. A Benefit of the early morning run!

Song of the Post: “American Pie” By Don McLean

Training has been going well the past few weeks.  I am starting to notice an increase in my endurance and starting to really get in to the groove with my routine. My “short” distance days are now usually five or six miles and I feel great afterwards. I almost feel like I have only ran two or three miles. Last week was my first run when I was suppose to actually pace at the MP (marathon pace) of 9:09 minutes per mile and it went well. Only had to keep that pace for three out of the five miles that morning but still felt good. (I actually paced probably 8:50-8:55 those three miles but I am hoping to be well under a 4 hour marathon so that is a good start.)

I ran a lot of races in May and June…most of them were 5ks and I just felt like I wasn’t doing well. Most of the 5ks I ran around 26 minutes or worse, which wasn’t even close to my PR 24:52 from last year.  However, I broke out of my little funk on Saturday and finished the Run for Sight 5k with a new time of 24:18. (A new PR!). Obviously I was pretty pumped about this even though I had some lightheadedness right after I finished the race.  The lightheadedness luckily only hung around for about a minute then I was back to feeling normal. Then I was surprised later at the awards that I came in second in the women’s age group 20-29 and received an apple pie (kind of an usual award for a run but I wasn’t going to complain).

Well, when there are ups there are eventually some downs.  During my first few miles of my long distance day on Sunday I started noticing some pain in my left shin and calf. I knew from my high school days in track that I was developing shin splints.  I went back and forth on what would be the best option at this point and decided to stop my run to try to prevent a worse injury.  I really wished it happened on a shorter day workout but happened on my 16 mile day :-/. Well, I headed home and decided to give some cycling a go so maybe I wouldn’t be too upset about having to pull out of the training run so early. I mainly stayed to my running route which did involve some hills but was able to pull out ten miles in a little under 55 minutes (on a mountain bike no less). Felt good that I actually got a decent workout in even though I had to cut the run short but still didn’t feel like the full workout I was use to on Sundays. Oh well, still glad I jumped on the bike so Sunday wasn’t completely useless.

Well, with a lot of icing, stretching and two days of rest thanks to a morning thunderstorm on Tuesday, I am back running with little pain in the shins. We will have to see what this weekend brings with the long run. Really hope it goes well and I am able to finish it!