A Muddled Training and Injury Update

I don’t have a good enough memory to start where I left off back in December, so I’m just going to backtrack to January 12, when I officially started my training schedule for the Pittsburgh Marathon. I’m all set up with a 16 week training plan courtesy of the amazing NYRR Coach John.

This is my first time using the NYRR Virtual Training program, and it is way more awesome than I had even expected it to be. Each day, I’m given not only my mileage, but how it should be run. An easy day, marathon tempo pickups, intervals, hills? It’s all spelled out for me, complete with pace ranges!

As convenient as it is – it’s been hard for me to try not to get too wrapped up in all of the numbers. I successfully ran a marathon without worrying about the pace of each 1000 meters that I ran, and I can do it again. Having all this extra information and data is certainly helpful, and hopefully will help me improve as a runner, but it can also be overwhelming, especially when I’m injured. A lot of the suggested paces are what I was running before Wine Glass and now, with all the leg issues I’ve been having, they’re just not possible for me. It’s been discouraging, and I’m considering switching my program to the “conservative” track. 

Pittsburgh was never a “need to run this fast and BQ” race for me- I want to be healthy enough to run another fall marathon and use that to crush it and Boston Qualify. And in order to make that happen, I need to not kill myself training for Pittsburgh. I’m trying to keep telling myself that- but I’m stubborn and when I see that’s I’m scheduled to run 6 miles, I’m most likely going to run 6 miles whether it’s smart or not. It sounds stupid, I know. And it is stupid.

But while the virtual training program may be a little overwhelming and discouraging for now – it DOES tell me all the right things, like, “Remember to not be too rigid with your training. If you're feeling fatigued or feel a pain, by all means cut the run short. Sometimes we get so caught up in hitting a mileage goal that we lose sight of what our body is telling us.” 

I just need to work on believing that even if I miss a bunch of training runs by taking some time off/taking it easy – I’m in shape, I’m a good runner, and I will probably be OK to run Pittsburgh.

Also adding to the overabundance of data is the fact that for Christmas, I got the Garmin 220! My first run with it was Christmas morning and I was totally surprised to see what my pace actually was - MapMyRun had me feelin' like Meb and Garmin brought me back down to earth reallllll fast. As much as it sucked seeing those numbers, I'm glad that I can feel confident in what my watch is telling me. So far, KNOCK ON WOOD, I have had zero issues with my watch connecting to satellites and I love it so far. 

(What do you mean I'm not running 7:50 miles Garmin?!)

My training for Pittsburgh got off to a good start on January 12 – I was traveling for work, but I still managed to get my first 9 workouts in as planned, with additional strength training. I was ready to rock and roll. 

(Training schedule- check! Amazing necklace engraved with "Wineglass Marathon" and my finish time from my parents- check! Wonderful reading courtesy of Peter- check! Garmin- check! Awesome training journal from Laura- check!)
(Makin' it happen on the road)

My first long run was scheduled as a 6 miler, but months ago I had signed up for the Bluepoint Brewery 10-Miler out on Long Island (full review to come). So instead of sticking to the plan and starting off with a nice, easy, 6 miles – I went out and raced 10 miles. Those 10 miles didn’t feel good. At all. My calves were extremely tight and my shins were in a lot of pain. But I thought I was fine, because I finished.
(I also probably thought I was fine because I chugged two beers after crossing the finish line and was drunk at 10:30 a.m.)

The next day, I ran 2.7 miles to get to work at NY Running Co. Felt pretty OK. Monday, headed to Central Park for my scheduled 5 miles and as soon as I started, something in the arch of my right foot started hurting. It wasn’t the usual tight/sore/achy hurt that I’ve just learned to accept in other part of my legs. This was pain. And that difference right there is why I should have stopped. But instead I finished my 5 miles. Walking around doing errands the rest of the day was seriously painful.

So painful, that I very uncharacteristically called and made an appointment with an orthopedist the following morning. I was convinced this wasn’t something that would just go away and while I didn’t want to get bad news, I also wanted to know what the hell was up- I’ve never had foot issues before. Every other part of my legs, yes. Foot? Usually fine.

I went to the doctor that a friend had recommended to me and she was really nice- totally understood my panic at being only 1 week into marathon training and having to come in to see her. After x-rays and some ultrasound, she told me it was either tendinitis (not the worst thing in the world) or a stress fracture (the worst thing in the world). So she put me in a walking boot and told me to get an MRI. Well, of course by the time I got the authorization for an MRI, I was leaving on a work trip the next day, so the MRI would have to wait and I would have to work for a week in a boot.

I stubbornly continued to get in any and all cardio that I could while in the boot.

On Wednesday of that week, I did 15 minutes on the elliptical IN A BOOT. 15 minutes of rowing IN A BOOT. And some ab and arm exercises. Rowing and using the elliptical with a boot was oddly not that difficult.

(Nothin' to see here...completely normal...)

Thursday I did 30 minutes rowing, 15 minutes stationary bike, a tricep circuit, and fire hydrants, donkey kicks, leg raises, glute bridges and clamshells.

Friday was 30 minutes on the elliptical without the boot to see how I felt and 15 minutes on the bike before a chest and abs circuit.

From using the boot, my foot was starting to feel better and I was contemplating whether I could run the 5K I was signed up for on Saturday. I spoke with John and with instructions to not wear racing flats and to take it easy, I decided I would run the 5K.

(My fave up and coming speedster who kicked butt at the 5K!)

It was quite impressive the number of people that came out for a 5K in January in Columbus, Ohio. It was a well-organized race with awesome swag- a long sleeved technical shirt, buff and medal with lots of yummy snacks and full sized Gatorades at the end.

(My co-workers are pretty awesome for waking up to run a 5K before a 13 hour+ work day!)

But, my body was screaming at me the entire time saying, “You’re really stupid!” I was in a lot of pain. I almost stopped and walked but I couldn’t walk across a finish line.

(LOL, rough.)

When I got back to the city on Monday (after an 11 hour bus ride since everyone's flights were cancelled), there was snow everywhere and I ditched the boot because navigating slush puddles in a walking boot is no bueno. That night, I went to the gym and did some rowing and elliptical along with some deadlifts, squats and lunges.

(Perfect weather for navigating a suitcase home with a walking boot!)

Tuesday I went out in the park for 5 easy miles (except they weren’t easy because there was snow everywhere!) It was really pretty and my foot wasn’t that bad until I got to cat hill…but that’s pretty much the end of the run anyway.

(It felt like we were running in place at some parts, but the park was so pretty covered in snow!)
(A lovely gentleman was making perfectly shaped snowballs for people to throw!)

(Happy place!)

Wednesday I took a spin class and was relieved to find that it didn’t bother my foot at all. That night I went in for my MRI.

Thursday I was an idiot and did a deck of cards workout that included speed skaters, box jumps, jumping jacks and squat thrusts. I was expecting all of the above to really bother my foot- but it didn’t!

Friday I took the day off and Saturday I cautiously ran 4 miles on the treadmill. Not too much pain, but also not the 9 mile long run I was scheduled to run, which stressed me out.

Sunday was fun because I joined some people from November Project for a #TravelCheerStation for the 4 miler in Central Park. What is a Travel Cheer Station you ask? We ran the course in the opposite direction and cheered every time an NP comrade passed by. It was really fun and I got in 6.5 miles.

My paces continued to upset me- with 9:17 being Sunday’s.

(Pace, schmace- I had a blast on Sunday travel-cheering with these ladies. Might be my new favorite activity. Why pay to run the race when you can just run it in the opposite direction and encourage people the whole way?!)

Monday I went back to the orthopedist for my MRI results and was told IT’S NOT A STRESS FRACTURE.

I’m free to run, since I can’t really do any more damage to the tendon which is already inflamed. She gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory (which I STILL have not been able to get filled by a pharmacy) and fitted me for a brace that has done WONDERS. She also wants me to go to physical therapy – which I’ve been two twice now and will go to 3 times this week.

Once I found out Monday morning, I decided to cut the mileage a little bit for each day on my calendar, but to jump back in.

I was even able to do some speed work on Tuesday on the treadmill!

1 Mile Warm Up @ 8:34 Pace
400 meters @ 7:19
:45 rest
400 meters @ 7:14 Pace
:45 Rest
400 meters @7:09 Pace
:45 Rest
400 Meters @ 7:04 Pace
:45 Rest
400 Meters @ 6:59 Pace
:45 Rest
400 Meters @ 6:54 Pace
 :45 Rest
400 Meters @ 6:49 Pace
 :30 Rest
400 Meters @ 6:44 Pace
.5 Mile Cool Down @ 10:00 Pace
.25 Mile Cool Down @ 8:13 Pace
.25 Mile Cool Down @ 8:20 Pace
.25 Mile Cool Down @ 8:27 Pace
.25 Mile Cool Down @ 8:34 Pace

Oh AND I went to yoga. Yoga really frustrated me, as usual, because EVERYTHING HURTS when it’s supposed to feel good! Child’s pose was painful! Why is everything so tight?!
Anyway, my foot has been feeling a lot better with the brace, and last week I was able to run 23.5 miles. The only real pain was after my 9 mile long run on Saturday. As soon as I stopped and started walking, it killed.

(Saturday long run crew! Solid.)

The long run wasn’t great in terms of how I felt, but meeting a huge group at NYRR Saturday morning full of friendly, excited faces made it worth it. I also am not the biggest fan of long runs in Central Park, so I was happy that I only had to do 9 miles.


This morning was the first running awhile where I was able to keep a pace that I was happy with- and although there was still some pain, it wasn’t terrible and I felt good with how things went afterwards.  6 miles at an 8:25 pace. I can definitely live with that.

I have lots of plans for this week- intervals tomorrow, NP Wednesday and hills Thursday- but we’ll see if that actually pans out.

I don’t really know what this post accomplished besides re-hashing the last 2 weeks of training but, yup. There ya have it.

If you take anything away from this post it should be that you can use the elliptical, ERG and stationary bike with a walking boot on but you will get some weird looks.

Also, don’t do what I do.