Chicago Marathon Training Week 6

Sunday, July 13: Cross Training.
I returned to what has started to feel like my second home, the gym, for yet another elliptical session. I spent 40 minutes on the same elliptical I visited twice during my “long run” last week, and experienced no knee pain whatsoever! Hooray! I struggled through the workout, though. I felt tired and sluggish until the cooldown, but it’s entirely possible I just have no clue how to operate the machine and had it on too hard of a setting. I’ve only used LifeFitness ellipticals up to this point, but my gym doesn’t have any of those, and clearly the learning curve on the equipment the gym does have is steeper than one may have expected 😛

Monday, July 14: Personal Training + Physical Therapy.
Two PTs in one day! Haha. I neglected to e-mail my trainer to tell him about my possible PFPS, so he ended up restructuring Monday’s workout on the fly. My bad :/ He took it easy on my knee, though, and instead gave me all sorts of core and upper body work to do. As it turns out, he had PFPS in high school, so fortunately he’s familiar with the condition and, I imagine, will be able to work around it.

Later on Monday I paid a visit to my other second home, the physical therapist, where I was beat up, per usual. My PT essentially did an injury screen on my knee and said it looked like I do, in fact, have PFPS, along with some possible patellar tendon inflammation (it felt “gritty,” the same word my PT last year used for my hip flexor). This may sound weird, but it was kind of nice to go through the injury screen, have my PT mess around with both knees, and truly feel different sensations in my right knee than my left. I know I’m a hypochondriac, and I don’t want to be too “girl who cried wolf” about my aches and pains, if you will, but doing all that confirmed that I’m not crazy (well…that’s debatable 😉 ), just falling apart. Haha. He told me to continue with my runs as planned this week, however, and after that we’d reevaluate and see if I need to go to the doctor for a PFPS confirmation and/or additional PT script.

Tuesday, July 15: Dance
I somewhat questioned whether or not I should go to dance on Tuesday, but I knew we were learning new choreography and I didn’t want to fall behind, so, somewhat against my better judgment, I went. My PT hadn’t specifically forbid me going, after all…not that I asked or mentioned it in any way, but let’s not get caught up in the details. My knee was a bit sore after hip hop, and I planned on more or less sitting it out in breakdance, and then out of nowhere my Saturday teacher showed up at my Tuesday class, which was just as awesome as it was unexpected, but also made me feel like I needed to, you know, try. So I did, but not too much, and my knee didn’t give me quite as much trouble as it had during hip hop.

Wednesday, July 16: 4 miles in 39:48 for a 9:56 pace.
Oh, you guys. This run. Everything went so well! The weather was gorgeous, and when the weather is that nice I like to try to run as close to the lake as possible.


^^ Because obviously.

My knee felt fine, my toes felt fine, and I walked away from this run feeling happy and confident about training going forward.

Thursday, July 17: Physical Therapy.
Acquired some new bruises, did some exercises. Nothing too out of the ordinary here. My patellar tendon was sore for much of the day after this, but the rest of my knee felt all right.

Friday, July 18: Personal Training (and Bad Things).
My trainer is on vacation this week, so he had me come in twice to make up for it. We did the metabolic conditioning circuit he originally wanted me to do on Monday since my knee felt all right. It was tough: cable presses, kneeling chops with a ViPR, TRX rows/curls, some “rainbow” something or other (glute/hip work) and ropes, followed by a cooldown row. We did that five times, I believe. Not my normal Friday rest day, that’s for sure!

Then. Remember my designer drugs topical foot meds? Well, try as I may, I’ve found it impossible to get the medicine to absorb fully when I apply it. It leaves behind a bit of residue that’s not much of a problem when I wear shoes and socks, but creates a slick surface on sandal beds. On Friday, I wore sandals to work, and as I expected, my midday med application led to slippery sandals. I tried to clean things up using a paper towel, but my sandals remained slippery to the point where it affected how I walked — not a big deal while in the office, but definitely a big deal when walking from the office to public transportation, which is about a half mile. My gait put strain on my quad and lower back, and though my quad soreness went away almost immediately, my back soreness didn’t. In fact, as I write this late Sunday afternoon, my back soreness is still there.

I injured my back in August 2011, and that injury lingered until I took a full week off running and started back basically at square one of Couch to 5K to return to running (this was very early in my running career: I had only run one 5K up to that point, unlike now, where a usual run for me lasts three to four miles). My back never bothered me again until this past Friday. It’s the same pain in the exact same location, and, given the stubbornness of that injury, led me to have yet another injury-induced 1 a.m. panic attack Saturday morning. Woo. 😐

Saturday, July 19: 7.09 miles in 1:14:42 for a 10:32 pace.
My back still ached Saturday when I woke up, but I went for my run anyway, because mentally, I could not stomach the idea of outright skipping two long runs in a row. The run actually went quite well, I thought. My body…eh, not so much. My knee felt great! No pain whatsoever! My toes went numb, though, and there was that whole back thing. I paid a visit to my BFFs, the always-wonderful employees of NovaCare, post-run, to discuss my new back situation. The PT I spoke to told me to not run at all until I met with my PT next later this week, and, given my ridiculous laundry list of injuries this season, to look into scheduling a VGA. She also told me she’d e-mail my PT on Monday to tell him she saw me, which made me irrationally nervous, because I had secretly hoped this would all go away by my appointment and I could just “forget” to mention it (and never wear sandals after applying my foot meds again). I went to dance later in the day because I want to use up the classes I paid for before they expire, but I essentially did stood there and frowned the whole time. I didn’t move enough to break a sweat, so I don’t think this had much of an impact on my back/knee/foot/life in general.

Because I am trying my hardest to stay positive, silver linings:
– My knee didn’t bother me during or after a run at all this week. I can’t sit for more than 30 minutes without pain upon standing, so I don’t think I’m magically PFPS-free, but this at least seems promising.
– The earliest I’ll run this week is Thursday, so if the forecast holds, I’ll avoid running in the heat and humidity predicted for early this week.
– I have four PT appointments left on my current script, so I’m at least set in that department through the end of next week.
– Though I feel like I’ve fallen horrifically behind in marathon training, a look at last year’s log vs. this year’s log shows that I’ve only done three less runs this cycle than I had at this point last year, meaning I’m not nearly as behind as I feared.

Keeping it real, though — I’m beyond fed up with all of this.
– I’m so frustrated with my body for refusing to get better when I’m doing my damndest to treat it well.
– I’m dreading PT later this week, because I’m afraid my PT will think I’m a neurotic fool for coming in with yet another crisis.
– I’m embarrassed to even post these marathon training recaps, not because of the quality of my workouts, but because if I were a blog reader, I would think I’m either 1) an idiot 2) stupidly paranoid 3) overreacting or 4) insufferably whiny. Actually, I’d probably think I was a combination of all four of those things.
– I’m worried that I’m going to have to DNS the BTN Big 10K this weekend, which would be my first DNS (and at a race I’ve enjoyed and PR-ed at twice in the past, no less).
– As time goes on, I become more and more concerned with where I stand in marathon training on the whole. I have yet to complete a double-digit run this cycle, and I’m not entirely hopeful I’ll get in  12 this weekend. I feel enormous pressure to run this stupid race since I registered through charity and have to raise $1,000 for OAR, and I wish I had just gone through the lottery and hoped for the best so, if nothing else, I could at least reassure myself with the idea that fate wanted me to run this race, instead of feeling like I circumvented the process, took matters into my own hands, and cheated my way into the marathon field by going through charity because I was too selfish about my own marathon goals to leave things up to chance.
– I feel like I’m making a mountain range that rivals the Himalayans out of molehills and that I’m being an entitled jerk for feeling like I’m owed a good marathon, and, honestly, for even caring in general, when there are plenty of people in the world suffering from far worse things than persistent running injuries that may or may not derail their marathon dreams.

Carry on with your Mondays. I’ll be over here, continuing to throw myself a self-indulgent pity party, if you need me.


15 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 6

  1. Hey now, lady love, you aren’t crazy or idiotic or any of the other things you said about yourself at the end. You’re frustrated with a lot of random stuff that has kept popping up, and I fully believe that whining about it is both necessary and ok. It’s really hard when you’re looking forward to something and start working towards it, and then little random stuff happens to make things a lot more difficult. Hang in there, go easy till you talk to your PT (I always forget to mention things I plan that I’m still determined to run till after so they can yell at me and then make me feel better but I still get to do them), and don’t give up hope yet. Worse comes to worse, you’ll raise the money and then just have to run it next year, but nothing is out yet!

  2. Aw quit apologizing. We all understand 🙂 You’re frustrated, and it’s totally justified. I guarantee your PT is used to people having problems upon problems. Most things aren’t one huge thing but a few little things that add up, so it’s important to share all the little things in case they all add up to something bigger. That was a quite a sentence haha but you catch my drift. Also I totally feel you about hearing there is ACTUALLY something wrong with your knees/ankles/shins etc. So many times I or a friend has been injured and no one can pin-point the reason and you just feel silly. But it’s awesome that you could feel/see a difference! I love that you’re still dancing – I’ve been thinking about taking salsa classes so stay tuned for that lol.

    • Thanks, Lauren 🙂 I appreciate your reassurance! I imagine you’re right that I’m not the only person this has ever happened to, and that’s a really nice reminder 🙂

      Oh MAN, you should totally start taking salsa! That would be so much fun! Have you ever checked out SummerDance downtown? They do free dance lessons on the weekend, and a couple times in August they’re doing salsa! I went last year and it was a ton of fun — and free! My favorite price 😛

  3. Hang in there! It’s tough to get used to the marathon training schedule! Also, don’t forget that you can do a lot of training (swimming and biking) that will help build cardio and give your knee a rest.

  4. You don’t sound crazy or stupid at all!! Injuries happen unfortunately and talking about them might be able to shed some light on them or at the very least make you feel better by venting. Injuries are part of running, it’s what makes us so tough and badass! 🙂 Keep taking care of your body and it will reward you one day.

    • Thanks, Courtney 🙂 It does make me feel better to get things off my chest and put it down on paper — plus I’ve found it’s helpful for me to have this so I can go back on it later and see that these things don’t last forever! Here’s hoping some rest and PT will fix me up quickly 🙂

  5. I’d be incredibly frustrated if I were you, too. It’s hard not to be! Sometimes I feel like I am focusing SO HARD on my knee that I’m imagining pain where there otherwise wouldn’t be any. Part of me thinks its a manifestation of anxiety (the real kind) and it happens because I am way too tense and can’t relax. I really hope mind and body start getting in line with where you want them soon!

  6. I don’t think you somehow cheated your way through the marathon registration process to get in. You are raising money for a cause you care about! Stop allowing yourself to think like that!

    And don’t give up on your marathon yet! There is still a lot of time for training left and even if your training isn’t ideal you can still do the marathon! Take a deep breath! Sometimes the journey isn’t perfect, but you will get there!

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