Rest and Reset

Erie medal and race bib hung up with pride
Erie medal and race bib hung up with pride

Let's catch up, shall we?  It's been three and a half weeks since the Erie marathon and I'm in a much different place (mentally).  I've hung up my medal and bib as I always do, and I've hung the beautiful framed print that they gave me for 3rd place.  I've had a chance to reflect on the race and take away a few lessons learned:

What went well:

  • The injury-free buildup.  I think that sticking with the strength training and a similar running schedule that had worked for me in the past helped me get to the starting line injury-free.   I'm so grateful for that.
  • Tempo runs this cycle.  I'm shocked that these went as well as they did.  I credit my friend Kevin to pulling me along on these and making me push a bit harder than I might have if I'd done them all on my own.  Having him out in front of me at 5am in the morning helped wake me a up a bit and by "chasing" him I saw faster paces on my watch than I ever have for tempo runs.
  • Competing for placement.  It's only been within this past year that I've been in races where I've suddenly been in contention for the top spots.  This is a big mental shift for me and I'm still very new to the whole idea of racing against others - I've always just raced myself or the clock.   I'm proud of myself that I didn't give up at Erie when I knew I wouldn't get my sub-3 - instead I refocused and worked on placing 3rd.

Lessons learned:

  •  Carb loading.  I think I overdid it a bit.  I felt heavier (and WAS heavier - weight-wise) going into this race.  I think a little less focus on carb loading (perhaps 1-2 days vs. 3) would have been a better idea.
  • Water & Fuel during the race.  I am terrible at water stops.  I have a hard time getting liquid from that cup into my mouth while running 6:50 pace.  I need to practice that more often.   I also need to adjust the gel intake, or be more diligent about it.  Once I started feeling bad during the race and saw my pace slipping, I got lazy on taking my fuel.  Which only led to more of a slowdown.  Not the brightest idea.
  • My mental attitude during the last two weeks and on race day.  After the half marathon didn't go as well as I'd have liked it to, I kind of got down on myself and started to doubt my ability to run the sub-3.  And on race day when I saw my friend pick up the pace during the race, I thought immediately that it was too fast for me - that I couldn't hold that pace - and slowed down.  I needed to kick myself in the pants and convince myself that YES, I COULD hold that pace, and put my head down to keep fighting for it.
  • Peaking for this race.  I think I may have peaked about 4 weeks before the race.  I'd been training since April and my awesome run in Gettysburg may have been my body telling me it was ready to go.  I did seriously contemplate just tapering for two weeks right then and then trying to find a marathon to go run, but do to logistics and costs that wasn't feasible.  But I felt READY.  I hung on for the remaining 4 weeks until Erie, but I think I'll try a shorter marathon-specific buildup for my next one.

So that's the Erie Marathon post-mortem.  Onward and upward, right?

Indulging in local spirits - had this in a cocktail out at dinner. Amazing! I love spice so this was the perfect way to make a cocktail with a kick!
Indulging in local spirits - had this in a cocktail out at dinner. Amazing! I love spice so this was the perfect way to make a cocktail with a kick!

After taking 11 days totally OFF (expect for teaching BodyPump), I was ready to get out there and enjoy a good two weeks of nice and easy running.  My usual post-marathon routine is two weeks off, followed by two weeks easy.  I didn't make it quite two weeks totally off, but the weather was so beautiful that I was eager to get out there and enjoy Richmond's limited run of Fall weather before it switches over to FREEZING.  I ran with friends, ran some with my Dad, and enjoyed eating all of the delicious bad-for-you foods that one indulges in post-marathon.  (Beer!  Doughnuts! Ice cream! Yes I DO, in fact, want that second slice of cake!)  Last week I decided to get back into a bit more easy running and aimed for 30-35 miles in the week.  Things were going great until....

Ouch.  I stepped out of bed one morning heel hurt.  "Huh.  That's weird.",  I thought to myself. I shrugged it off since it didn't hurt while running but the next morning...there it was again.  That weird heel pain.  At this point, the dreaded thought occurred to me:  Plantar Fasciitis.  My mom has had it.  My running partner Kevin struggled with it for months.   A visit to the podiatrist confirmed it:  a mild case of Plantar Fasciitis in my right heel.  ARGH.

Whomp waaaaaa.
Whomp waaaaaa.

So, this week has been filled with cross-training and lots of stretches, icing, and an appointment for Graston work on my foot.  I'm hoping that I can nip it in the bud if I take the time now to rehab it.  My hip is a bit tight (same side - right side - of my body as the heel) so I'm headed to the sports doc tomorrow to make sure that's just a tight muscle and nothing else.  Thankfully I don't have a race looming on the horizon and I can focus on getting my body healthy and ready for the next round of training.  So that's what I'm working on now.  Getting healthy so that I can get back to doing what I love.

Thankfully, I'm able to live vicariously through several friends who are running fall races!  (Hi Jessica, Shawn, Tia, Lesley and Kris!)  I will be watching Chicago play out this weekend and cheering in spirit for my friends chasing PRs in the coming weeks.

I'd love to live vicariously through you guys too - who is racing in the next few weeks? :)