Chicago Marathon Training Week 8

Sunday, July 27: rest

Monday, July 28: Personal Training.
My trainer gave me another metabolic conditioning workout, this time utilizing tri-sets (which I mistakenly thought he called “triceps” at the beginning, leading me to wonder why on earth we needed to spend an hour working on my tricep strength. Haha.). Tri-sets feature three back-to-back-to-back exercises with no rest in between. We did two different tri-sets designed to work my core and glutes. I’ve recently learned I have a lot of trouble getting my glutes to do the work they’re meant to do and instead recruit my hamstrings. This was a problem in PT last Wednesday and was once again a problem during personal training. Apparently I need to work on getting my rear in gear (<– terrible joke).

Monday night, I was getting up from sitting in the floor with my computer (this is what I do instead of using my desk, because I am inexcusably lazy…and my desk is buried under too much junk for me to actually use it) when I felt a dull pain on the outside of my left heel. Given my hypochondriac/panic tendencies, I immediately diagnosed myself with plantar fasciitis, and only made matters worse by looking up Runner’s World’s “Inside the Office with Dr. Metzl” video on PF and saw him point to the exact location where I felt my soreness on the model’s heel. Since I already had an appointment with my sports doctor on Wednesday for my knee before my next PT appointment, I figured I’d mention the pain to my doctor before sending my poor physical therapist yet another, “I’M DYING. PLZ SAVE ME,” e-mail.

Tuesday, July 29: Dance.
Blah. Tuesday wasn’t the best day for me, mentally, and I was in a Mood during dance. One of my good friends came in during breakdance and immediately asked if I was okay, so clearly I wasn’t doing a good job of hiding my Mood, either 😛 Anxiety is miserable, y’all. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Wednesday, July 30: Sports Doc + 5.57 miles in 56:07 for a 10:05 pace + .43 miles at a 10:00 pace + Physical Therapy.
Lots to recap from Wednesday!

#1: Sports Doc. Gang was all here for my appointment on Wednesday: my doctor, a med school student, and a PT. So much medical attention! After chatting with me for a bit, my sports doc checked me out and confirmed my PFPS diagnosis. I also mentioned my heel pain, and after a brief look at that was told I probably have a mild case of plantar fasciitis. Don’t mind me: I’m just working my way down the list of every possible running injury ever. Personally, I’m not too concerned about the plantar fasciitis at this point. It’s so minor that honestly, I probably wouldn’t have even brought it up if I hadn’t already been there, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to at least ask about it since I was there. This will just encourage me to be diligent about stretching, icing, etc., which I imagine can’t be a bad thing.

The sports doc also told me I had loose joints, which was a new one. After looking up the “symptoms” of loose joints, however (i.e.: being able to touch the floor with your palms flat while your knees aren’t bent, which I can generally do without problem no matter how warmed up/cooled down I am), I realized this probably shouldn’t have been such a surprise. I also learned that apparently people with loose joints are more prone to scoliosis, which I have as well. Everything’s coming together! AND finally, my doctor said while loose joints aren’t a problem, they do make you more prone to injury. While I suppose this could have concerned me, it actually made me feel much better about the ever-growing list of running ailments I either have or have had at some point in my life. Maybe I’m not totally losing my mind after all!

My PT wanted to do a mini-VGA on me while fatigued, and since I already had six miles on my schedule for Wednesday, I planned to do six miles that would end at my PT’s clinic. After dawdling around and fighting with my Garmin, I ended up not having time to complete all six miles before arriving at PT (and made it to PT literally right when my appointment was scheduled to begin, rather than 5-10 minutes early like I prefer). My PT let me finish up my run on the treadmill, though, so I got in a total of six miles, albeit in a roundabout sort of way.

My right side, as we pretty much already knew, does all sorts of weird things my left side does not do while running — my hip drop is substantially more pronounced and I pronate way more on my right foot, while I’m fairly well aligned on my left side. I personally blame my scoliosis for this, since my spine curve to the left, thus making my right side a bit funky, but since there’s not much we can do about getting me a new spine at this point, I’ll be doing hip exercises ’til kingdom come instead. Clamshells 4 dayz.

Thursday, July 31: SUP + 3.01 miles in 32:00 for a 10:38 pace.
I had the opportunity to try my hand at standup paddleboarding for the first time on Thursday and enjoyed (“enjoyed”) an hour on Lake Michigan. I have no idea how far we paddled, but MAN is that a workout! I’m happy to report I did not once fall into the lake, though I did come quite close. My knee wasn’t super wild about the whole balancing thing and was a bit sore by the end of it.

Regardless, I went for a run after SUP anyway, because man, I am trying oh so hard to train for a marathon over here. I thought about doing four miles but since my knee felt a little twinge-y by mile 2.5 I figured I’d be smart and just do three instead. I had already worked out for an hour anyway with SUP, so I don’t think this made too substantial of an impact on my life. I also did my PT exercises, since I have (foolishly) fallen out of the habit of doing them. I’m having trouble finding time to fit them into my schedule, and I’m thinking I may just start waking up 20 minutes earlier three or four days a week and doing them as soon as I get up.

Friday, August 1: Physical Therapy.
Funny-except-not story: five weeks ago when I had my first PT appointment for my foot, I scheduled out all the appointments on my script with the office manager, and I SO clearly remember when we got to August 1 saying, “Hopefully I won’t be around after that point anyway.” LOL GOOD JOKE, BETHANY. Guess what I did at my PT appointment on August 1? Scheduled out another month’s worth of appointments with the same office manager. Health insurance deductible, here I come! (In case anyone’s keeping score at home, this means I will have spent at least part of eight of the past twelve months in PT [since I was there September-December 2013 for my hip]. I think my PT owes me dinner for how much of his livelihood I/my insurance have financed 😛 ).

Anyway, my PT took it pretty easy on me since I had a long run the following morning. I guess I looked really good on the balance exercises he had me do, which was nice to hear.

Saturday, August 2: 13.4 miles in 2:21:23 for a 10:33 pace.
Cool thing: my first half marathon time was 2:22:34, and on Saturday I ran farther than that in less time on a training run. Woo!

Soo this run was…complicated. From an endurance standpoint, I couldn’t be happier. I never felt tired, I never felt the need to slow down, and I had no trouble keeping up with the group at all, which felt GREAT! Considering that this was my first straight double digit run since April, I’m pretty stoked that I had zero problems running 13.4 miles. Even Cricket Hill at the end didn’t give me any grief. My cardiovascular system, at least based on how I felt on Saturday, seems to be in solid shape.

The rest of me, however. My knee was touch and go throughout the run. Sometimes it hurt a fair amount (around miles 8 and 12), while other times it felt just fine. My heel ached for most of the run and gave me particular problems around mile 9 (though I will fully admit that I couldn’t stop thinking about my heel, and I know from this past week that the more I thought about my heel, the more grief it gave me). My old fremeny, my left hip flexor was sore sore sore after the run, which I imagine means I was using the wrong muscles (i.e.: not my glutes) while running, which may or may not have had an impact on all my other aches and pains.

When I got home, I realized I had zero pictures to accompany this blog post, so I photographed my post-race second breakfast of champions to keep this from being a completely insufferable post.


You’re welcome.

I had an epiphany earlier this week in relation to marathon training. Though I created a laundry list of frustrations in regards to my persistently injured state a couple weeks ago, I neglected to acknowledge (likely because I didn’t realize it until this past Tuesday) that having races on my calendar, especially races I care about, stresses me out enormously. Every little itty bitty thing becomes a Major Crisis, because I’m always worried that something will happen that will prevent me from running the race. I often live with a sense of “waiting for the other shoe to drop,” if you will (even if the proverbial first shoe has yet to drop)–I imagine my anxiety is almost certainly to blame for this feeling–and as such am constantly (though subconsciously) on the lookout for evidence that something bad is going to happen. I think this is part of why I’m having so much trouble handling any aches and pains that come my way during marathon training and have become so quick to seek medical treatment immediately instead of waiting things out (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though it certainly has proved to be a bad thing for my budget). I expect something bad to happen, so if anything at all looks like it could be bad, my mind immediately and obsessively grabs onto that. I don’t think my injuries are all a figment of my imagination, but I do think my heightened anxiety makes my problems worse than they actually are. Case in point: earlier this year, I spent about four to six weeks battling stomach problems. I felt sick all. the. time. Could something have been wrong? Possibly. Did my hyperawareness of the state of my stomach and my constant focus on how I felt make things worse? Absolutely. I started keeping a food diary to try to pinpoint what could be causing my issues, and I had some of my worst and most debilitating stomach pain while logging my food intake because it forced me to always think about my stomach. I think I’m experiencing a similar situation now. I don’t really know how to stop this–I’m still waiting for a magic wand to wave and *poof!* my anxiety is permanently gone–but I think having an awareness of the fact that my anxiety likely is making things much, much worse could be a good first step in the right direction.

12 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 8

  1. Maybe you should find a therapist who does biofeedback. From what I recall from my psych degree many years ago, this can be very beneficial for people who have anxiety that tends to manifest as or be heightened by physical issues. I think basically it teaches how to recognize what your body is doing and turn it into positive associations instead of negative ones.

  2. Gahhh these injuries are so frustrating! I’m glad you tried SUP- it is a serious workout even though it’s super fun, too. I have the same problem with having races on my calendar- I currently have one for almost every weekend through mid-October and most of them were taking place at home, so I’m clearing my calendar and starting fresh here after the one I have coming up this weekend. For some reason, whenever I have a race on the horizon everything in my body hurts more so it’s almost easier to just run for awhile and get back into a groove where you run when your body feels good so it gets used to the pounding before adding the stress of training. I like racing, but I’m realizing I don’t love it enough to constantly kill my body over it.

  3. We really need to meet in real life and talk about the monster that is anxiety. I never thought it was “real” but ever since I’ve become plagued with panic attacks I can’t imagine anything worse. I feel for you girly. We’ll have to chat one day and bond 🙂

  4. Goodness girl! You really are determined to hit every running injury known to man this training cycle! I hope the PF doesn’t get any worse 😦 that made me sad to read. You’re doing an awesome job taking care of yourself through everything, hun. I know things are rough, but keep doing what you’ve been doing (going to the dr, asking questions, doing your exercises, and everything else). Hopefully they’ll start to kick in so you can finish things strong!

  5. I know exactly how you feel about being stressed out by having races on your calendar. I’ve never felt this way until I signed up for my marathon and now I am so stressed out because I’m still dealing with some foot pain, and I’m worried I won’t make it across the finish line after I’ve been running my mouth to everyone who will listen that I am running a marathon. I really hope all of your pesky injuries start to heal themselves and go away. I know how frustrated I am with this one so I can only imagine how frustrated you are with all of yours!

    • I totally, totally feel you on that one. I mean, I don’t know how you could *not* talk about the fact that your’e running a marathon–it takes so much time to train and it’s a really big and exciting deal!–but I know for me at least the idea of dropping out and having to own up to that is one of the scariest aspects of all of this injury stuff.

  6. Oh my goodness you and I are twinsies! I’m so glad you’re sharing your PT experiences because it actually has been helping me as well. I am super flexible too (same as you…I can practically put my forearms to the ground without so much as bending my knees in the slightest) and never even thought about having loose joints. It all makes sense now! I have scoliosis too and always knew it would come to haunt my running one day. I think that day is here with my recent injuries.

    I hope your injuries clear up soon. I understand the anxiety that can come with a goal looming in the distance. It’s one of the main reasons I dropped from the NYC Marathon, it just got to be too much! Overthinking certainly doesn’t help but I know avoiding it is easier said than done. I wish I could share some wise words of wisdom but the best I can do is to continue cheering you on because you’re doing sooooo well despite these minor setbacks! Just realize that in the end there is always a way out of anything. Nothing is earth-shattering or definite so sometimes it’s just best to let things flow as-is and deal as they come. Good luck girl 🙂

    • It’s funny you mention that, actually, because I had my whole epiphany about how much pressure I’ve been putting on myself in regard to this marathon when writing my comment on your post about dropping out of NYC! (I actually had a different comment originally written, but the Internet ate it, so the one posted is an abridged version of my original thoughts. But that’s what sparked the realization nevertheless.) I really appreciate your encouragement, and I’m glad my PT experiences are helping you out some! Obviously everyone’s body is different, but I know for me it’s helpful to read about what others are going through, so I’m glad my posts are doing the same thing 🙂

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