My Road to the Road2Hope Half Marathon
It certainly has been awhile since I have even attempted a post but I could not let myself not write something about this experience for me to look back on.
So many ups and downs during the 10 weeks I took to train for this race. There were even times I was ready to hang it up and even some medical professionals advised the same. I started adding some longer runs in August but wasn't really training for the half; it was just a thought until I realized not setting the goal (which was already set) and letting fear/doubt decide what I could and couldn't do was stopping me. Coincidentally at the same time I got a push from the people around me. I can't emphasize more how important it is to have positive people around; they are great influences and motivators.
Really I had only been doing 5k runs with the occasional 10k, during August. I was focused on speed and got some good results but its an entirely different challenge going from 15kms per week to over 40kms. I was only running three times a week and doing Crossfit 2 times per week which I think for a lot of people is pretty okay. I decided I needed to go to 4x a week running and 2x Crossfit per week.
I started slowly by using the 20% rule in regards to mileage. Three weeks in, I began to develop pain in my heel and arch in my right foot. Running past 5km also started a new pain in my right hip. As I ran, the best way I can describe it is, that it felt like elastic bands were on the inside of my hip and as I ran it felt like someone was winching it tighter and tighter as I ran. It got so tight my jogging turned into what must have looked like shuffling. Definitely no resemblance to running. What to do?
I really like my GP but I know their response...physio and rest with an non-inflammatory like Advil. As mentioned in previous posts, I have seen a Chiropractor and received relief for other things using a technique called A.R.T. (Active Release Therapy). Off to the Chiropractor I go, and right away she finds a problem. Again, my left glute is NOT firing and its making me overcompensate and use the hip flexor and hamstring rather than all three. This is a likely a result of all the years at a desk and obviously with little activity but who knew, you would, or could stop using certain muscles?
The Chiropractor works on my hip, adjust my feet, the arches and finally recommends that I back off on the mileage. OH GREAT! See where doubt slips in, but any good doctor has to tell you to back off...I know this..let me say, I did not back off totally but I did hold the mileage that week and saw her biweekly and weekly if needed. Ice, orthotics, ART therapy, foot adjustments, stretching, gradual increases in mileage, and not giving in allowed me to stabilize the pain and the potential for injury that would have forced me to stop. Basically finding my limit and getting to it but not going past it.
The long training runs began to expose more than just a partial "sleepy body" (my new term for a fat guy sat at a desk for too long and not moving when he got home). It also revealed a toughness I had not tapped into in some time. You know the toughness that when no ones watching and really no one cares? Do you take the long road or the short cut? We all know the long road is necessary to truly develop any skill athletic or otherwise but the shortcut is right there and it wont hurt anyone, will it? Now add pain..and I don't mean exhaustion that's still coming. Isn't that short cut looking better? But wait there is more! I never have gotten thirsty during a run and or hungry but that was about to change. Oh wait there is more (yes added value infomercial). I don't think I have ever mentioned this but I sweat a lot (gross amounts) and typically run with music. Yep you guessed it, I sweat so much I shorted out my headphones. Okay so let summarize a long run for me.......Pain+hungry+thirsty+no music+exhaustion (normal pain)+cold+alone (forgot to mention I did all my long runs alone)+temptation by the short cut=DAMN CLOSE TO CRAZY!! I learned a lot on those runs, and it reminded me its okay to run without music. You are more involved with the run and less with the distraction of music (pace, breathing and how well your feet are connecting with the ground). All valuable lessons.
The next issue was pace for race day. The long runs I did complete felt so slow and I was unable to match the pace I had set into my Garmin during those runs. After reading a bit about pace, this had me worried, compounded with my hip tightening as the kms went by. What to do? Just go run?