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.
- 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?
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 and....my 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.
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? :)