Training week in Review - 9 & 8 Weeks out from Harrisburg (9/1/14 - 9/14/14)

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much running going on over here at “Fox Runs Fast”. Right now a more appropriate title of this blog would be “Fox Cross Trains a lot and Tries Not to Go Insane”. But that would be awfully long. So we’ll just stick with what we’ve got and hope that I’ll be back to running more miles soon. The leg is feeling….better? Kind of? Maybe? It’s hard to tell. It’s definitely improved from the weekend after Patrick Henry (3 weeks ago), so that’s encouraging. But it’s not improving as quickly as I’d like, given the amount of time I’ve taken off/cross-trained. After seeing the sports doc two weeks ago, the area of soreness seems to have moved from the posterior tib region on my left leg (where the doc thought the problem was) to the lower part of my calf – almost where the calf meets the achilles. But the soreness kind of radiates through my lower leg so it’s tough to pin down where it hurts.   This makes me a little nervous that it could be not just muscle, but something a bit more sinister that’s lurking (stress fracture!), so needless to say these past 3 weeks have been a bit of a frustrating exercise in trying to determine if I can/should run, how much I should run, and my next step.   I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to self-diagnose if this is muscle or bone, and made this handy chart of my symptoms and if each symptom is more characteristic of muscle (tear or strain) or bone (stress fracture):






So, as you can see, I’ve got points on either side. While I do think that it’s most likely muscle since I am able to continue to run on it (albeit in a limited capacity), I know that stress fractures can be sneaky.   KrisLaw (one of my favorite speedy ladies) recently had an injury that sounds eerily similar to mine and unfortunately, she has confirmed a stress fracture.   So on Thursday of this week I finally got fed up with trying to diagnose myself and made an appointment for a bone scan on Monday.

So hopefully that will confirm if it’s a stress fracture of not, and then I’ve got an appointment to see the sports doc on Thursday to determine next steps.   I’m hesitant to get the scan since it’s quite pricey, but if it IS a stress fracture, I don’t want to be running on it and making it worse. Plus, I’d like the clock to start NOW on any total rest I need to take so that I can hopefully ramp the training back up in time to run a spring marathon.   And that brings up the confirmation that….

I will not be able to run the Harrisburg Marathon this fall.

Ugh. Just typing that sentence makes me a bit sad. Even if my bone scan comes back clean and my leg magically felt better immediately, I know that 8 weeks is not enough time to get in a solid enough block of training to race Harrisburg. But all is not lost! I am going to use this time to build a solid base and to work on two goals I’ve had in my mind for a while now:

1)   Studying for and completing the ACE Group Exercise Instructor Certification process

2)   Taking (and passing!) the training to become a Les Mills Body Pump Instructor

Having some goals outside of my marathon training will hopefully help me get through this period of time where I’m unable to run as much as I’d like to. It’s been tough to miss my group runs and to hear about how well everyone else’s training for Harrisburg is going. But I know that this is only temporary and that I’ll hopefully be back out there soon enough.

In the meantime, I’m going to focus on getting these certifications.   The fitness industry is a totally new direction for me, as my background is in technology and project management. But I’ve very passionate about physical fitness and I’m hoping that by getting these certifications they will help educate me more about being an all-around athlete and will provide a solid background as I build my running credentials in hopes of one day helping to coach others.

And just for kicks, here’s how the running (or lack thereof) shook out during these past two weeks:

Week of 9/1

Monday: 4 miles (a.m.) + 5 miles (p.m.) – tested the leg a bit on the treadmill – felt okay in the morning, but the afternoon was rough

Tuesday: 1.35 miles - painful, so I shut it down.

Wednesday: Elliptical + Core

Thursday: Body Pump

Friday: 4 miles – easy run to test the leg. Didn’t feel great, but wasn’t horrible.

Saturday: Sweaty spin class (25 miles on the bike)

Sunday: 5 miles easy (leg still the same) + Body Pump

Week of 9/8

Monday: 8 miles with a friend – leg actually felt a bit better! Encouraged, but later in the day it was tender.

Tuesday: Body Pump

Wednesday: 7.35 miles – still sore, but holding steady. Not any worse, but not better.

Thursday: 6 miles – leg less comfortable than the day before. Could be two days in a row is too much.

Friday: Spin class to give the leg a break + Core

Saturday: 10.3 miles with the group – leg better than Thursday, but could still feel it on the run.

Sunday: 8.3 miles with the group - I could tell I ran yesterday as the leg was slightly more sore.  I'll be taking tomorrow off to cross-train and get the scan.

Up Next: An Answer?

Bone scan is scheduled for Monday and I go back to the doc on Thursday to get results and discuss next steps.   If the bone scan is clean, she’ll do more diagnostics in-office to try to determine what muscle is giving me the trouble and how badly injured it is. Depending on what we find out this week, I’ll know if I’ve got several weeks of cross-training ahead or if I might be able to jump back on the running bandwagon (in some capacity).

How was YOUR week?




Training Week in Review – 10 weeks out from Harrisburg (8/25/14 - 8/31/14)

Avril helps make sure the ice bath for my calf is at the optimal temperature.   Annnnddddd…..I think I’m officially injured. I was in denial for the first part of the week and tried to press on as normal, but by Wednesday there was no denying that something was definitely NOT RIGHT with my left leg. It’s the calf/posterior tib area that’s bugging me and as the week wore on it became increasingly apparent that I needed to listen to my body and give it some TLC and time off.   I threw in the towel and called the sports doctor since I’d rather nip it in the bud as early as I could so that I could possibly avoid a long layoff.   Ended up getting in with her on Thursday morning.   But let’s back up a bit - here’s how the week shook out:

Monday: 10 miles easy (8:26 pace)

Tuesday: 9.85 miles w/8 hill repeats + Body Pump

Wednesday: 8.75 miles easy (8:22 pace) + Core

Thursday: 8 miles recovery (8:31 pace) + Body Pump

Friday: OFF + Core

Saturday: Sweaty spin class (26 miles on the bike)

Sunday: OFF + Body Pump w/heavy weights

Total miles: 36

Monday’s 10-miler - (Still in denial at this point) After plenty of massage/foam rolling Sunday night, the left leg felt much better on Monday, but still not 100%. I'm definitely aware of it at times when I'm running and it feels similar to when I had a slight tear in my calf muscle (on the other leg) many months ago. I decided to wait and see how it felt on Tuesday before doing any hill repeats - if it's still tender I would skip the repeats and just run easy. If this is the same thing I had last time, the process for healing is just to reduce hills/speed until it feels better - or mileage if the reduction of speed/hills doesn't seem to improve it. I'm hoping it's just a tight muscle though (and not a tear) and it'll continue to rapidly improve.

Tuesday’s Hills – (Denial, take two) Leg was still tight and a bit sore on Tuesday but not terrible. Opted to do the hill repeats anyway since that morning was actually 58 GLORIOUS degrees! I did end up cutting the set down from 10 repeats to 8 repeats since the leg wasn't 100%. It actually felt the best on the actual repeats, but I did feel like I was running a bit tentative and kept expecting the leg to hurt. After the hill repeat portion the rest of the run I could feel the leg tightening up a bit - it's the Tibialis Anterior muscle that is tight on my left leg. It seems to be referring pain to another spot on my calf. Decided to try to run very easy Wednesday and if it was painful then I’d take Thursday off and rest it. At this point I was crossing all of my fingers that the massage and stretching I'd been doing would be enough to coax it back into shape! 
Repeat Splits: (hill is 0.19 mi) 1:16, 1:14, 1:10, 1:11, 1:10, 1:08, 1:06, 1:05 (Splits were much better this week due to the cooler weather!)

Wednesday - (Reality starts to set in) Kept this easy, but unfortunately could feel the leg. Seems to be something around the calf that's causing the tenderness more so that the tight tibialis anterior. Ugh. Since the left calf is sore, I am apparently overcompensating and the right quad is sore from taking the weight. I'm a mess.  Made an appointment with the sports doc for Thursday and I'll see what she says. I'd like to nip this in the bud early!

Thursday - Ran early in the morning before seeing the sports doc. I had a double run on the schedule today but figured I’d probably be unable to get to the second part of this since I had a feeling the doctor would tell me to cross-train. Leg felt a bit better today, but it's still tender somewhere deep in my calf. I've been icing and I've taken Aleve and have tried to massage/foam roll. On the run this morning I did most of the miles on the local high school track for some flatter terrain. I saw the sports doc and she diagnosed it as an irritated posterior tibial tendon on the left leg, and a quad with some giant knots on the right leg.  No running tomorrow (and therefore no double run for me) and cross-train for a few days. She also did the cold laser in office, and told me to ice later and that I should try to get in to see a massage therapist for some manual work for at least 3 times over the next two weeks. (Yikes - that's expensive!) So I'm going to focus on massaging what I can myself with the foam roller and stick and then try to get in to get a professional massage next week. I'm hoping that I can run a little on Saturday or Sunday if it's feeling better. I'm bummed that it's the first few weeks of training and I'm not able to do the mileage, but it is what it is.

Saturday - Since I couldn't do the 16 miles I had planned for today (thanks, leg!), I opted for a cycle class in the morning. I don't know what it is, but during those classes I am DRIPPING sweat. I don't know if I'm just out of cycling shape or if the other folks in class aren't working as hard but at the end of it I had a puddle of sweat under my bike! Sign of a good workout, I guess! Definitely got my heart rate up, but I sure did miss my long run this morning.  I got my post-long-run coffee at Starbucks but felt like I didn’t “earn” it since I didn’t really run. But at that point I needed a little boost since I was kind of down in the dumps from having to miss my long run.

Up Next: Maybe a run or two??

So….not sure how this next week will shake out. I’m going to try to run on Monday and see how it does. I’ve been religiously icing and rolling and elevating and compressing while all the time trying not to stress out about it. Fingers crossed that the calf will corporate enough to perhaps allow me to return to some training this week.   But the name of the game is to listen to my body and not push it too much. No sense in making the injury worse! Any happy healing thoughts you could direct my way would be greatly appreciated!!!

That was my training week in review – how was your week?

Training Week in Review – 11 weeks out from Harrisburg (8/18/14 - 8/24/14)

My Dad ran Patrick Henry too!  Still smiling after my disaster of a race!  Whew. This week threw me for a loop. It was a return to high(er) mileage and I definitely underestimated how much a week at the beach with the kiddos would take it out of me. This whole week I felt a little off – tired and low on my usual energy in both running and normal day-to-day life. The legs felt heavy and I was frustrated that I felt like I’d dug myself into a hole (energy-wise) before the official start of training! But I persevered and focused on remembering that I just needed to put my head down and do the work and hope the results would follow. Here’s how the week shook out:

Monday: 10 miles easy (7:52 pace)

Tuesday: 9 miles w/10 hill repeats + Body Pump

Wednesday: 8.75 miles easy (8:22 pace) + Core

Thursday: 8 miles recovery (8:31 pace) + Body Pump

Friday: 8.12 miles recovery (8:38 pace) + Core

Saturday: 16 miles (included the Patrick Henry Half Marathon)

Sunday: 11 miles recovery

Total miles: 71

Monday’s 10-miler - I was expecting to feel better than I actually felt on this run. Not sure if it was due to running long on Sunday or if the time spent on my feet on vacation/traveling/lack of sleep had caught up to me. In any case, this was a run where I was counting down the miles and wishing I was done. It was very humid (69 degrees with a dew point of 63) and that may have contributed to my sluggishness as well.

Tuesday’s Hills – First week of hill repeats and I had 10 of them to do. For some reason I was dreading this workout - I think because I haven't done hill repeats in several years! It was a rainy, misty morning and (obviously) very humid and the first couple repeats definitely felt challenging. It got a bit easier for a while and then the last few were tough. Pushed hard on the last one and then continued the run in the rain for the cool down. Legs were a little sore (left calf/shin) and feet are still so torn up from the sand at the beach - I had a pretty big blister when I got home from this run. I'm sad that it's getting lighter later in the morning - most of these repeats were in the dark and in the rain, so I'm sure I looked like a crazy person to those who drove by in their nice (dry) cars! But I got it done and it wasn't as bad as I thought!

Repeat splits (hill is 0.19mi): 1:14, 1:11, 1:13, 1:11, 1:12, 1:09, 1:09, 1:10, 1:10, 1:07

Thursday & Friday’s runs were kept super easy. I was still a bit tired and my leg was still bothering me a bit. Thankfully (and knock on wood) it was feeling a bit better by the end of the run on Friday and it seems to be improving. I've been wearing my compression socks around the house and that seems to be helping as well. Foam rolled quite a bit in hopes that would also aid the recovery. Not sure what I’ve done to it!

Saturday – Patrick Henry Half Marathon disaster. I run the Patrick Henry Half Marathon every year. I've done every one since the inaugural in 2007 (and have done 2 while pregnant!) and I wasn't going to miss this one even though it was during the first week of my training and I knew I wasn't in racing shape. I had sent a message to my coach to ask him what I should aim to do (time-wise) for the race. I had been thinking for weeks that I'd use this race as a training run and maybe throw in a few miles at goal pace (6:50ish?). However, he sent me a text back saying that he thought I should take it easy for the first two miles (7-7:10) and then pick it up to 6:50s through mile 7, then 6:40s on in for around a 1:28 total time. When I got that note, I pretty much FREAKED OUT a little bit. I wrote back - "That's FAST" and he said that's where he thought I was at this point. On one hand, it was great that he had the confidence, but on the other hand, I'd been feeling tired and run down all week, the beach vacation in the previous week had really left me with dead legs, and I'd done two body pump classes, two core classes, and would hit 70 miles for the week. In any case, I spent the rest of the day (after getting his text) frantically trying to carb load and convince my mind that my tired body could handle that pace in the morning. I slept ok, but my right quad was still sore and I was still feeling "blah". I ate my usual bagel, but then instead of a serving of Hammer Perpetum, I tried some Generation UCAN. I also had some Gatorade. Got to the start early, then used the restroom and warmed up for 2 miles. I did 2 strides and the quad didn't seem to be too bad, so that was encouraging. I took a gel about 15 minutes before the start. I changed into my lighter shoes (the New Balance 980s) and went to use the restroom one more time. Unfortunately, the lines were CRAZY long and I ended up having to run way over in another area and use the park bathroom - I barely made it to the start! I lined up and didn't have anyone to run with but didn't stress - I figured I'd hook up with some folks on the run. The conditions were pretty spectacularly awful. It was 71 degrees at the start, and the dew point was 70. 96% humidity. After the gun went off, I tried to settle into a nice rhythm. There were quite a few ladies in front of me which was both encouraging, and intimidating. I ran a 6:55 first mile - not quite the 7-7:10 I had planned, but it felt okay, if a bit on the tougher side. Second mile was 6:53. After this one I quickly figured out that I was JUST NOT FEELING IT. I was already tired and wanting this to end and I hadn't even gotten to mile 3. I figured I'd slow down a tiny bit since I had started a bit fast, and then get my legs under me and pick it back up. Mile 3 was 7:04. When I hit mile 3 and began struggling to hold a 7 minute pace, I knew it was just not going to be my day. I struggled in my head between pushing hard despite feeling like death so as not to let my coach down, and knowing that I kind of had the deck stacked against me for this race (too ambitious/too last-minute of a goal, tired legs and body, terribly humid conditions, hilly course). Ended up convincing myself that I would just slow down to long run pace and run it in that way - the new game became keeping it under 7:30 pace - but that was challenging too. I ended up keeping it under 7:30s the whole time (avg. 7:15) but I felt pretty miserable the entire race. My stomach was a mess and I couldn’t take my gel as I’d planned. (Not sure if the Generation UCAN was the issue or if it was just related to female monthly issues. Fun times.) I kept beating myself up for not pushing harder, but just was so tired and couldn't summon the energy to pick up the pace any further. I had NO ONE around me - I was all alone for almost the entire race unless I was passing someone or being passed. I did pick up the pace a tiny bit in the last mile (after the giant hill) and kicked it in for the finish. I was bummed to be so far off my goal, but thought that others from my group might have had the same fate. I found out, they were only a minute or so off the times they wanted. Lots of lessons learned for me, and I know that this is not my "A" race - it's actually not even a tune-up race for me. Plus a tired body, the worst portion of the lovely female hormonal shifts and massive humidity made for a tougher race. But it's done and I'm going to keep plugging away and hope that as the season goes on, my hard work will pay off. 
Splits: 6:55, 6:53, 7:04, 7:12, 7:12, 7:25, 7:18, 7:21, 7:15, 7:29, 7:09, 7:24, 7:06, 6:xx (Forgot to stop garmin)

Sunday: Got up super early as I was staying in D.C. with family to cheer on my relatives as they completed a neighborhood triathlon this morning! I had a hard time shoving my poor blistered feet (two massive blood blisters) into my shoes. My quad was still a bit sore, but more concerning was my left leg that hurt near my posterior tib with every step. Even though I was keeping it at a super-easy pace, my leg still bothered me. At times it almost felt like I had to limp a bit. I stopped and stretched and it improved, so I kept going but very, very easy. Stopped at 6 since I didn't want to push it. (had 8 on the schedule) An hour or so after my early morning recovery run, it was time to cheer on the triathletes! I ended up pacing my sister (and then later my aunt) during their run portions of the tri! It was a 5k run portion so I picked them up after transition and ran part of the course with them. They were so grateful for the company and I was so happy to be able to run with my family! Thankfully my leg felt a lot better (I'd stretched/massaged it while we were watching the swim/bike portions) and it didn't hurt as much on these runs. Fingers crossed it feels better on tomorrow's 10 miler. If it doesn't improve, I'll be taking Tuesday off.

Up Next: Higher mileage (?) and what the heck is going on with my leg?

Unfortunately, the week ended on a bit of a rough note with a less-than-spectacular race-turned-long-run and then a possible injury.   Ugh! Here’s hoping the following week will be better.

That was my training week in review – how was your week?