A pain in the knee

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I came back to running from Boston a bit too fast, too hard. I thought I was fine, but I wasn’t, so I took a step back. I took it easy. I rested. I got new shoes. When I felt better, I tried again. If I hurt, I stopped or took another day off. I cancelled my racing plans. I thought I was doing it right. But sometimes even if we are careful, we still have accidents.

Yesterday was my first day back on the track in a month. I had been longing to get back to 800 meter repeats, but kept bailing on the workout over some niggle. I didn’t want to attempt any speed work until I was back to 100%. Well, yesterday was the day. I’d been running pain free for a week. I was rested, fueled, and ready to go. A Fall marathon was now on the calendar and a training plan was in place. It was time to rock & roll!

The goal: 2 mile warm up on the road, drills on the track. 6 by 800 meters at 3:05-3:08 with 400m walk/jog recovery. 2 more miles or so cool down on the road.

I headed to the track in the morning after the kids got on the bus, but wasn’t really feeling it in my warm up. I was distracted. Something didn’t seem right. I did my drills & stretches, and even though I felt fine, I was apprehensive. I banged through the first three sets in 2:53, 2:54, 2:57. I was ten seconds under my goal. I struggled to find the pace. It felt like frantic running. As I walked the curve after my 3rd set I contemplated attempting to run slower for the next three. I was half way through the workout. But I just wasn’t feeling it. Even though I was hitting these paces pain free, I was afraid of injuring myself. I knew I wasn’t in shape to be running sub-3s. At least not safely.

But I wanted to run fast! I had been doing nothing but slow easy miles and my legs felt fresh. I wanted to go and I was clearly overly excited about being on the track again. So I did something against my better judgement and I changed my workout half way through.

I backed off from the 800s and switched to 400s with a new goal of 1:20 giving me a solid workout of 3x800m, 3x400m.

I busted through those 400s like I was back in college. It felt great to fly. I could have done more, but I knew it wasn’t wise, so I went right into my cool down and called it a day. I was feeling great about my workout. While it wasn’t exactly what I had wanted to do, I still felt that I had gotten some quality track time in and considering my need for a slow comeback, I felt that a combo of shorter distances was just fine.

However, within an hour of my shower I was feeling less fine about it. I’ve had a stiff knee issue for the past couple of weeks that’s been bugging me later in the day. It’s never hurt while running, so I’ve been pretty much ignoring it and contributing it to just being fatigued from standing on slate tile floors all day. It usually only bothered me in the late afternoons or at night, long after runs, and always was fine again by morning, so I just didn’t worry. Yesterday was different. It was a sudden sharp, stabbing pain that pierced through my knee cap giving a dull ache that descended down my leg. A part of my knee was swollen. The pain came in waves & escalated quickly. Driving the car to pick up the kids was excruciating and I cried the whole way. The pain level quickly shot up to a 9 out of 10 and no amount of anti-inflammatories or pain killers were touching it. What had I done to myself?!

After my husband came home he found an orthopaedic with an emergency walk-in clinic and rushed me in. I just knew something was broken or torn or about to kill me. I wanted my leg amputated and the pulsing agony to stop!

I could barely walk to the x-ray room where they took pictures. There were no breaks, no fluid build up. My meniscus and ACL looked intact. But I had severe patellar tendonitis. I was given a prescription for a time release anti-inflammatory, a special band/brace for my knee, and a follow-up appointment. I was told it was a very common injury and would heal fast. I was told it would be ok. I could even run in the brace – after a week off.

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So, just like that I went from running one of my fastest and best track workouts to being injured and on medication. I’m really bummed. I wanted to race at the end of September, but will probably have to find a later marathon, if I can race at all. I was told I can run again in a week, but after yesterday’s pain level, I just don’t see that being possible. But then again, I am rather pessimistic at the moment.

I’ll get through this. I usually heal quickly, bounce back fast. I’ve been frustrated and antsy since Boston, and this is the result of trying to push it. This is definitely a wake up call; I need to chill out and take it a lot easier, slower, flatter. And rest is what I need to slow myself down so that I can build up to be even stronger.

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Back to Base

I had all these plans for May and June – half marathon PRs, fast 10Ks – but instead I’ve been doing a lot of sitting (and icing). I didn’t even get to do any of the numerous races that took place over Memorial Day weekend. I was so looking forward to at least a 5K, but knew that I just shouldn’t risk it. I was really bummed seeing everyone’s Strava posts, but I knew sitting it out was for the best.

I think I probably came back to training too fast/too soon after Boston & really just didn’t give myself enough time to recover. I also think that approaching the 500 mile mark on both sets of trainers is taking a toll on my legs. The last week of April and the first week in May were both just over 31 miles, which was probably more than I should have done considering what the marathon did to my body. Then I took a huge jump to nearly 50 miles as I attempted to start training for a half marathon for early June. This was what did me in. I know better, but I was feeling great & thought I could pull it off. Instead I yanked my hamstring & have had to take the last two weeks almost completely off. I ran 7.5 miles one week, then 23 the next. I focused on physical therapy, strength training, and eating well. When I did run I kept it short & sweet, and typically at a very easy pace. No need for repeats or races yet!

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The time off my feet (that I should have taken earlier) has done me some good, and so I am back to a somewhat regular schedule. Summer is upon us & that means base training! I always think I can avoid it because I simply piggy-back off a previous marathon. But due to time off and the spacing of my races, that’s not going to work. So, I’m going to try doing it “the right way” for a change. I’ve never before followed the 10% rule (increasing weekly mileage by 10%), but that’s what I’m going to do this time around. Hamstring pulls are no joke, and trying to force fitness just doesn’t work. I have to take a different approach.

I’ve backed out of my June half and will be focusing on base training only. Maybe I’ll be able to do one later in the summer (or I won’t). Maybe I’ll find some 5Ks to scratch the racing itch. I’m definitely getting new shoes and going at an easy pace, and keeping the workouts (repeats and tempos) to a minimum (for now). I got nothing to prove until the fall.

Base training also brings back the joy of running. After the marathon I wasn’t looking forward to runs. I just did them because I was on auto-pilot. Mazy is a runner, so Mazy runs. It’s hard to enjoy something if it hurts. I shouldn’t be running because I feel compelled to; I should be running because I want to. I also just didn’t feel well. Even though Boston was over a month ago, I’ve been exhausted, burnt out, scatter brained & really unmotivated.  Body, mind & soul needed a break from training. My last couple of runs have been strictly mileage runs – entirely watch free. They were glorious. Running for running’s sake and not because it’s a workout listed on a schedule is an incredibly freeing experience. Running by feel & comfort is amazing & I highly recommend it.

I have goals. I have lofty running goals, and I am confident I will hit them. I am strong & I am fast, but all that is meaningless if I’m not well and injury-free. I do look forward to the workouts & training plans, but I’m also really happy with where I am right now. So, I’m bringing myself back to the core of running – happiness – and starting over by establishing a solid base.

 

Weight, What?

I am conscious about my weight, like most people are. I know how much I weigh and have a fairly good idea about what I should weigh to be healthy. But what should I weigh to be a successful runner?

While I’ve never “cared” about the numbers on the scale, I’ve often monitored them – I just never did anything about it. I’ve never been on a diet. I’ve never made any attempts to lose or gain weight. I always figured that if my jeans fit and I felt good then I was fine. Numbers are meaningless.

But are they?

I’ve been thinking about how to make myself a faster runner, how to shave off a few more minutes from my PRs. My training has been fantastic the last few cycles. I’m (relatively) injury free. But I also know that the faster I get, the less time I can take off of each race. I took large chunks of time off in my past three races (3:41 to 3:22 to 3:18), but a mere 47 seconds faster in Boston. I was 110 pounds for those first three races, but 117 when I raced Boston. So where is there room for improvement? Well, my weight obviously.

I found it a little difficult at first to find information or to even start the discussion about weight because it is a touchy subject, especially among women, and it seems almost taboo these days to even question body weight. But I was recommended a fantastic book that was clear, concise, and an easy program to get started.

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I purchased Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance by Matt Fitzgerald through Amazon. I get no perks for this review and these thoughts are my own.

This book is great and I highly recommend it to every endurance athlete. The thing about Racing Weight is is that it isn’t about how much you weigh, but rather your body composition. It is about reducing body fat for a leaner (lighter) body, making your body weight relative. It does not tell you how much you should weigh as there is no exact target. And Matt Fitzgerald does not subscribe to the notion of “lighter is faster”, but rather leaner is faster.

This of course makes a lot of sense. I have always noticed that I do not have a lot of muscle definition in my racing photos. While I see some fantastic action shots with quads bulging, I always tend to look a bit more rounded. I’m very light weight, but I’m not as lean. I don’t necessarily need to lose weight, but rather work on my body composition.

So, what am I doing about it?
1. I read the book. It’s insightful and encouraging. I feel less pressure about how much I weigh and confident about moving forward.
2. I purchased a new scale! I bought this lovely digital scale from Greater Goods through Amazon. It measures weight, body fat percentage, BMI, and more. It comes in eco friendly packaging as well as donating a portion of their proceeds to end child trafficking & counseling services for survivors.
3. I started a food log. I am keeping track of my food alongside my running journal and recording my Diet Quality Scores with it. There is an app that goes along with Racing Weight but I have no tried it yet. I’ll stick with pen & paper for a few weeks first. You can also use the web version of the scoring system here.
4. I started a weight log. This part I am less comfortable with, but I know it is necessary, at least for a few months or through the next training cycle until I actually know what I am doing. While I may weigh myself a few times a week, I only plan on recording all the info once a week, and then once a month once marathon training starts again.

So, here I am, Day One on this new journey towards my own racing weight. My numbers are not good or bad – they just are what they are, that is going to be my attitude through this whole process. These are my numbers for Week One, Day One:

Body Weight: 118.4 pounds – this is a normal weight, but certainly not a racing weight
Body Fat: 17.3% – below average, but can be improved for racing performance
BMI: 20.2 – again, within normal range
Bone Density: 5% – slightly higher than average for women
Water: 59.5% – on the low end of normal
Muscle: 35.9% – slightly higher than average

It may take me a few training cycles to know what my optimum racing weight will be, but my guess is in the 110-112 pound range. I’ll update as I progress through this journey and include my findings with my next few races. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on racing weight and body composition. Have you found your racing weight? Would you be willing to try? Leave some comments below!

Planning a Recovery and Another Race

It’s half past ten in the morning and I’ve only just now combed my hair. My bed is still unmade, chores are still undone, and I haven’t done a lick of work. I’ve been in recovery mode and it is making me complacent and lazy. Those who have been following my blog know that I run with anxiety and depression, and nothing triggers depression faster than a week off of running.

I’m a planner. I need to know ahead of time all the small details. It’s an issue with control and one of my mental health triggers. But, after running a few marathons I’ve learned that it doesn’t just end at the finish line &  I need to prepare myself for the recovery. Knowing ahead of time how I’d handle the post-marathon days, I wrote up a mini plan to accommodate the two recovery weeks that were necessary, plus two more build back weeks. I had already wanted to run a half marathon 6 weeks after Boston (legs permitting) and built that into my recovery plan.

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I know that racing again so soon isn’t recommended, but I don’t think my family can handle too much more of my moodiness. (I’ve been unpleasant to say the least.) I was on an incredible high the week after Boston – but once the soreness in my legs passed, depression took over. I went manic. I decided to forgo the May half marathon and instead seek out another full marathon. I wanted a summer marathon, and then another late fall race. I wanted to squeeze in at least three. I was confident I could do it. I needed to do it.

But I took a deep breath & had to get honest with myself. I hadn’t even run a step yet and was looking to jump into another training cycle! Not a good idea. I’ve decided that I do need a serious break from long training cycles, and instead am going to go for A Summer of 10ks. I want to do a couple of half marathons, since I’ve never specifically trained for one, and really want to work on getting my 10k time down to under 40 minutes. I am looking at a lot less weekly mileage over the summer, which I think will be good for me, and (hopefully) will make up for my short recovery period.

I am feeling very good as I close up the second week of recovery. I have no aches or pains, and the few runs I went on this week were very enjoyable. But I am looking forward to getting back to work, back to routine. How has your post-marathon recovery gone? What is next for your racing shoes?

The Most Epic Run

Okay, I think I’m ready to talk about the Boston Marathon now. I’ve been recovering since Monday, and I’m still not 100% – I won’t be for awhile yet. But it’s also taken me a few days to stew in the aftermath of the run, to let the awesomeness come to me. Unlike a lot of people, I was not overtaken by the greatness of running Boston. I was simply in survival mode, trying to get the course behind me. I did not relish in the moment, or cry at the finish line. In fact, I was hardly aware of what was happening around me. But, as the moments pass since Monday afternoon, it’s coming to me in little waves, like an amnesia stricken patient getting her memories back. I’m looking back on the run with complete awe.

I can’t believe I did that.

I had a really tough time sleeping the night before. I had horrible dreams of getting lost and going the wrong way. I wanted to sleep in as long as possible, but couldn’t even make it to 6 am. I lounged in bed, drinking some horrible hotel coffee and watching the news. As expected the local station was all about the marathon, the insane weather, and the stories of various athletes that would be running in a few hours. There was a story about a group of runners driving all night from Toronto because their flight had been canceled. There was another group from Minnesota in the same boat. Suddenly my drive in the day before didn’t seem so bad.

I got dressed and applied my Vaseline. Ate my oatmeal, drank my sports’ drink (“a bottle in the belly!”) I sort of felt like I was preparing myself for a battle, like I was headed off into some unknown. I wrote my final Facebook post – a farewell to my former non-Boston Marathoner self I suppose – and packed up the room.Screenshot (48)

Being in the second wave (corral three), I didn’t start until 10:25. This meant I could take the 9am shuttle bus from the hotel to the South Street bussing area where I could take the official shuttle bus to the Athlete’s Village. I was assured the whole trip would take less than 30 minutes, giving me ample time in the village to get to the starting line. However, with the extreme weather and long lines of cars trying to get off the highway, my shuttle from the hotel was delayed. The official bus filled quickly and we were on our way within a few minutes. But most of us on the bus were Wave 2 runners and we nervously checked our watches. The bus creeped along in nearly stalled traffic and we inched our way to the Athletes’ Village. We weren’t going to make it!

The bus let us off at 10:20. We jogged, panic mounting, into the Village, while an intercom was directing Wave 2 runners to the start line. It’s nearly three-quarters of a mile from the Village to the start line – I had to move! I started running through the crowd, avoiding mud when possible, tearing through it when inevitable. Runners were packed in like sardines and the dense throng of people plus the need to get to the starting line ended up being just the right seeds for a panic attack. I needed to get to a space  away from the crowd and the noise where I could sit for a moment and calm myself down, but there wasn’t time for that. I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t see straight. Fear was beginning to take over. I was stripping warm up gear as I went, trying to focus on the yellow poncho in front of me. The guy was big and tall and making a path through the crowd to the start line, so I stayed tucked in behind him. Suddenly a gust of wind knocked his ball cap off and he stopped to turn and grab it. It was like plowing into a brick wall. I didn’t have anything to focus on now. I tried to stay calm, but it was disorienting in the rain, the crowd. I pulled off to the edge of the crowd and changed my shoes. Changing shoes in the rain while trying to keep your socks dry is an interesting exercise in futility. I kissed the old New Balance Vazee Paces goodbye and looped the laces together. These shoes carried me through Toronto, the race that qualified me for Boston. I was going to miss them, but I hoped that they would be donated to someone who could use them for a few more miles. The New Balance 1400v5s felt like gloves; warm, dry, snug.

I frantically crossed the start at 10:31 – 6 minutes late.

Now, of course it doesn’t matter when you cross the start line because it’s all CHIP timing, but I wasn’t thinking clearly. I was flustered. I was starting in the back of corral 8. Gary from Halifax was at my elbow, calmly talking to me. I don’t know if he could tell I was having an anxiety attack or if he was just friendly, but focusing on the conversation with him was incredibly helpful. That distraction was exactly what I needed to calm myself down and get my brain in order to tackle the mission ahead. Unfortunately I lost him by the 5k mark, but by then I was okay and able to trudge on alone.

My first 3 miles were very, very slow since I started with a slower group and muscled with an anxiety attack. I tried to make my way through the crowd, but didn’t want to spend too much energy weaving in and out, so I made peace with the conservative start. There were plenty of miles ahead of me to make up for it. I clicked into the pace around mile 4 and actually held on fairly consistently. The aid stations were slow, but I had no choice but to use them. I could not open my fuel pouches due to frozen, numb fingers and had to rely on the Gatorade being handed out as both fuel and hydration.

I knew that my husband would be at the Ashland station near mile 6, so I stayed to the left hand side. Sure enough, he was there, looking in the wrong direction! I shouted several times to get his attention & he caught a glimpse as I sped by. Sadly, because I started late, I was “behind schedule” (even though I was on pace) and this meant that he missed the train to the next stopping point. It was two hours for the next train, and I’d be done by then, so he and a fellow spectator shared a Lyft to the finish. Running, I had a feeling I probably wouldn’t see him again until Boylston Street, but couldn’t help by scan the sides the rest of the way into Boston.

I kept feeling the sensation that my shoes were coming untied, but every time I checked, they were fine. Thankfully my shoes did not hold on to water too much and my feet felt light the whole way. Unfortunately, racing shoes were not the best option in the rain or the down hills as my feet slammed to the front of my shoe repeatedly. By the end of mile 16 I was in agonizing pain. I could feel the blood squishing between my toes and tried to convince myself not to think about it.

The rain pelted down hard and fast. There were moments where it let up a bit, but it never fully stopped. I struggled with a headwind almost the entire way and gusts that nearly knocked me over. There were moments where the rain came so hard that it felt like stinging needles and there was no option but to put your head down and push on.

Large white medical tents with warming blankets and EMTs tempted me from the sidelines. “Come in, stop, and it can all be over” they beckoned. It was becoming harder and harder to pass by them. I began talking to myself and counting down the miles out loud to distract myself. I whooped with glee when the rain fell in sheets – not because I enjoyed the rain, but because I wanted to trick myself that I was.

The spectators were loud and dense. They lined the streets nearly the entire course, despite the freezing, awful wet. High fives, ponchos, food, dry socks and gloves were being handed out the whole way. I saw people opening Gu packets for runners and tying their shoes. Medical staff and police officers dotted the crowd as well. It was all a controlled chaos. It was all so intense.

Word spread to us in the pack that Desi Linden had won the women’s race. Elation erupted from us as we all celebrated her victory from our places on the course. I think the joy of her win helped give us all a little second wind and motivate us to keep trying for a little bit longer.

I made it to the Newton hills and that’s where it all nearly came undone. The going up was fine, it was the going down that wasn’t. My feet screamed at me at the slightest down hill and I felt relief when the elevation increased. I started to wonder if my foot was broken. I got through Heart Break Hill okay, but actually cried in agony when I slowly came back down the other side. There was plenty of more down hill through mile 24 and I wasn’t sure if I could make it. I passed a man running barefoot and it struck me as a great idea. I wanted nothing more than to rip my shoes off. But I knew the ground would be icy and if I had broken my foot, I would need all the cushioning I could get. Not much mattered now except getting to the finish line.

I always thought I’d be emotional once I’d see the Citgo sign. It’s the iconic moment when you know you are nearly there. But I was cold, I was in pain, I was dizzy. I didn’t even have the energy to cry anymore. The only thing that kept my body running was knowing that walking would take longer. I was also afraid that if I stopped, I might never start again and not finishing Boston was not an option. Time didn’t matter – finishing did. But with a mile and a half to go I glanced at my watch. I was behind pace. This was slightly crushing, but I kind of knew I was behind for awhile due to those hills. I had trained for a 3:15, but readjusted my goal to a 3:20 once I knew the weather would be awful. Now I wasn’t even on track for that. I did some quick math. If I really pushed it I just might make it in with enough to beat my qualifying time. I didn’t have much left in the tank, but I figured I might as well empty it and see just how close to the finish I could get.

It wasn’t pretty. I pushed. It wasn’t good enough. I pushed harder. I needed to get to the finish line faster, but I couldn’t. My body wouldn’t. I turned right on Hereford and gritted my teeth. I wanted to scream. I wanted to never run a marathon again. I turned left on Boylston and smacked into a wall of sound. The crowds were screaming frantically. I was running frantically. I wasn’t going to make it, no matter how I tried. My soul was collapsing in on itself. I pushed more. The finish line loomed ahead, big and blue in the grey. I was never going to make it.

I dug down into the last little bit and found a wee kernel left in the bottom of myself. Strava data tells me I peaked at a 4:46 per mile pace. I don’t recall it, but the race photos reveal me crossing the finish with my arms wide and a smile on my face. My official CHIP time came through at 3:17:30. That’s a personal record by 47 seconds. I did that.

I ripped my shoes off and the release of pressure gave immediate relief. I staggered along, sock footed, as volunteers draped a cape around me, slung a finisher’s medal around my neck, and handed me water bottles and food. I began shaking violently and had to stop every three steps to muster the strength to go three more. The nearly quarter of a mile walk to the family meeting area seemed to stretch out in front of me for impossible miles. Medical staff kept asking if I needed a wheelchair, but I knew a trip to the med-tent could take awhile and my husband was waiting in the cold with my warm clothes. I had come this far already, what was a short walk to the end of the block?

Sure enough, he was standing there on the corner, waiting for me. He was wet, but solid and warm. He helped me into the John Hancock Building where a warming center had been set up for the hypothermic athletes. Using my cape as a personal privacy tent, I stripped off my wet clothes and pulled on the dry ones. My feet were a rainbow of colors and blood seeped from under the toe nails. My right foot was quite swollen and tender to the touch. But there were so many runners in much worse shape and I felt that I was taking up valuable space on the carpet, so after I was changed I cleared out. Walking was difficult due to the pain in my foot (and quads!), but mostly because I was shivering so violently. The rain continued to pour as we made our way to the train station.

I shivered on the train for an hour. I shivered as we waited for a taxi to take us back to the hotel. I shivered on the two and half hour drive back home. I shivered in my sleep. It took a very long time to warm up again. But after lots of hot beverage and good food, the numbness is lifting and memories of the race are coming back to me. There aren’t any pictures because we were afraid the camera might get ruined in the rain, but I am able to replay it all in my mind like a movie, and it’s fantastic. Looking at some of the info the BAA has posted, I’m amazed at what we all did on Marathon Monday.
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Boston Marathon 2018 was indeed the Most Epic Run. I don’t even know if anything else will ever compare. It was a battle and a half, it was both exhilarating and humbling. It showed me just what kind of grit I’m made of and man, oh man am I okay with that. While I swore off running at mile 24, now, a few days later, I really cannot wait for the next gun to go off.

 

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My Stats:
Official Time: 3:17:30
Pace: 7:32
Overall Place: 4749…………..top 18%
Gender Place: 624……………..top 5%
Age Division (18-39): 564……top 10%

Race day statistics from the BAA 

My Strava Data

Boston Marathon Training: Final Taper

Wow, what a week. Tapering is tough and tapering before Boston is really tough. I spent the whole week being nervous-excited…and thinking about weather. The forcast for Marathon Monday is bad and getting worse every time I refresh the weather app. I went to Goodwill and picked up some sweats to toss at the starting line and have gone back and forth on my wardrobe choices a dozen or so times. But we’re here now and there’s no more prepation or training to do. In 12 hours I RUN!

Monday: An easy 3 mile trail run with the dog.

Tuesday: Track Day! It was more of the same miserable April weather: cold, wet, heavy snow. But, the track is fun even in the yuck. 2 miles slow warm up (drills included), 3×1200 meters (5:00 target each) with 200m walking recoveries, followed by 4x400m (1:25 target each), with another two miles cool down.

Wednesday: Slow, easy recovery miles on the soft trail. 4.6 total for the day.

Thursday: Full rest day. Starting to feel very slow & sluggish. This is the worst part of tapering – so tired!

Friday: Again I stayed to the soft trails for a short tempo run. 1.5 mile warm up, 3 miles at marathon pace, another 1.5 mile cool down. This felt amazing!

Saturday: Another full rest day. I was restless, so I deep cleaned the whole house. May have overdone it because I was in bed and passed out by 9pm.

Sunday: This is the last of it! 3 easy miles in the morning, then traveling to Boston. Picked up my bib at the expo and went to the Athletes’ Pasta Dinner. I am pumped and ready to go!

Boston Marathon Training Week 15, The Taper Begins

I began the taper phase of my training cycle this week. This means that my overall mileage decreased, while I still maintained the same intensity. Instead of pushing a 50+ mile week, I wrapped it all up with just shy of 40. It felt odd taking a two week taper, but I wanted to closely follow the plan, so I did as it said. I had some ups and downs this week, but I know that a lot of that is just part of the taper. You start to notice all the little aches and pains as you take another rest day and your body heals itself from the months long preparation. We also had a lot of foul weather in New England this past week, which was less than inspiring to get out there and do the work that needed to be done. Nonetheless, I faired through and pulled it off.

Sunday & Monday: Both days were rest days. Sunday was easy to take off, Monday was a bit harder. While I did itch to run on Monday morning, a random snow storm dumped another 4 inches of the horrible white stuff, so I didn’t feel too bad about staying inside.

Tuesday: Track Day! It was cold and rainy, but I had another awesome workout. I did everything, including the warm up and cool down on the track because I felt that the softer surfaces would probably be more beneficial for my legs. I ran 5 x 1000 meters with a target of 4 minutes per. The wind on the back stretch made pacing a bit difficult, but I hit each one spot on. This was followed by 6 x 200 meter strides. The target for this was 45 seconds, but I got a bit ahead of  myself and ran them between 38 and 40 seconds. I felt great! 2 miles warm up & cool down made for a total of 9 miles.

Wednesday: I traded in Thursday’s rest day for today due to severe back pain. I wasn’t sure what I had done to cause the spasming, but could hardly move. I spent the day on the couch munching Aleve – which did nothing.

Thursday: I was sore, but able to move, so I braved it and went out for a super easy 5 mile run in the woods. I felt good and I felt a lot better after the run. I was also lucky enough to be able to book an emergency massage in the afternoon at Green Blessings Center. It was amazing. 90 minutes later my headache and back pain were gone!

Friday: The workout of the day was the ever favorite, Two by Twos. 2 miles at warm up pace (8:30 pace), two by 2 miles at half marathon pace (7:00) with a mile off (8:00), followed by 2 miles cool down (8:30).  It was snowing hard, making the trail slippery and visibility difficult. It was during this workout that doubts began creeping into my head about my marathon goals. But, I squashed them with each mile that I hit on target.

Saturday: More snow & sleet for a 5 mile recovery run. Will we ever have a Spring?!

Sunday: The last double digit run of the training block! 10 miles at a consistent easy pace. Again, I ran on the trail for softer footing. All the niggles have started and this 10 miler at an 8:30 pace felt harder to maintain than my 18 miler at pace! Looking forward to getting this race over & done with.

I have another six days of tapering, a few race day preparations to make, and lots of hydrating to do. I’m nervous-excited and looking forward to testing out my legs in Boston. I don’t think the reality of the race has quite set in yet since I’ve been trying to keep my mind occupied with other things at the moment. I’m mostly trying to appreciate the down time, the resting, before I have to get going.