A Bump in the Road

A Bump in the Road

Over the past few years of marathon training, I have found that making it to the starting line injury-free and in top physical condition is much more difficult than actually running the marathon itself.  Sometimes there is a very thin line during training between pushing yourself to your potential and pushing yourself too hard.  I learned a lot of things from my stress fracture two years ago but one unexpected lesson I learned was in gratitude.  Never take for granted good health and getting to run the race you want to run.  There is a huge difference between racing and running to finish (for fun or for the experience).   It’s funny how our goals can change during a training cycle.  

Two years ago my original goal was to finish the Boston Marathon.  This was already a bit of a stretch because my baby was just a few months old and I only had 11 weeks to train after my c-section.  During the process of training, things went better than expected and I must admit that I got a little greedy.  My goal quickly changed from just finishing to running it under 4 hours.  Nothing wrong with goals, right?  Then I had a 5 mile treadmill run that changed everything.  Suddenly I felt a strange sharp pain every step I took.  I had to stop running and hoped it would go away so I could at least run for completion.  This might sound silly or childish but I prayed desperately that God would take away the pain and heal me so I could run. All I wanted to do was to complete the marathon- no matter what the time said on the clock.  Days went by and nothing changed.  Finally, an MRI confirmed I had a stress fracture running it at all was out of the question.  Did God answer my prayer?  Of course he did, although it was not the answer that I wanted at the time.  Now, looking back I am so glad I did not run Boston with a 15 week-old.  I learned so much from the entire experience.

I have run 5 marathons since my stress fracture of 2011 and I have not taken a single one of them for granted.  No training cycle was perfect but I was able to make it to the starting line injury-free and run the race I wanted to run. 

This week did not start out the way I would have liked.  On Monday (with just two weeks to go until Boston) I noticed a faint pain on the inside my leg was getting worse.  I’ve dealt with this issue on and off in the past- my physical therapist said it was tendonitis.  When it’s happened before it usually does not last more than a few days and is very tolerable.  For some reason it’s been worse this time.  I decided to take Wednesday and Thursday off this week.  It was only 2 days but it felt like 2 weeks!  I noticed it was much better after the first day off but I decided to give myself another day.  This morning I ran an easy five.  I wish I could say I felt great the whole time but it’s still a little “off.”  Much better but not 100%.  During my run I found myself saying the same prayer that I said two years ago.  I would love to get to the starting line in Hopkinton completely injury-free but I realize that may not happen.  At this point it is minor enough that I can run through it but it is not the ideal scenario and I have to be ok with that.   I had a 30 minute massage this morning and then did some contrast therapy in water at home.  (More on the contrast therapy below.)

I know this has helped. I am trying to stay positive and be thankful that I have made it this far.  I am still planning to race in Boston and I do not think this bump in the road will change my racing pace plan at all.  Hopefully with another taper week next week my leg will continue to heal.  Did I push it too much last week?  Probably.  But it’s over now and I have to keep going.  I have one more quality workout before Boston and it is in the form of a 10K race tomorrow. 

As for the contrast therapy.… I have heard the benefits of this over the past few years but never did it as intentionally as I did today.  I am no stranger to ice baths but I have never gone back and forth between hot and cold.  “This type of therapy alternates between the application of hot and cold in a repetitive fashion, with the theoretical goal being to enhance recovery, decrease delayed-onset of muscle soreness (DOMS), enhance blood lactate removal, and improve various other markers of inflammation.” 

I decided to do two rounds and according to most research you want to start with hot water and end with cold water.   I filled a trash can with ice water and set it right next to my bath tub.  I filled my tub with hot water. 

I used the format of an example found in the above article.  20 minutes total with: 5 minutes hot, 5 minutes cold, 5 minutes hot and finished with 5 minutes cold.  The 5 minutes in the warm bath went by far too quickly and the 5 minutes in the ice water were pretty long! Still, much better than 14 minutes straight in the ice bath.  I like this method a lot more!

As of today there are 10 days until Boston.  I actually leave one week from today so it is all becoming more and more real!  Time to get focused and STAY POSITIVE!

How do you handle training bumps in the road?
Have you ever tried contrast therapy?

18 thoughts on “A Bump in the Road

  1. I couldn’t agree more with the words you said at the beginning of this post about getting to the start line injury-free being more difficult than running the actual marathon. That is so, so true! Trying to find the right balance between too much training and not enough training (to reach our potential) is the hardest part. If I train too hard and injure myself, I am frustrated. And yet I am equally frustrated when I feel like I didn’t do enough.

    I hope the contrast therapy helps and you kick this tendinitis for good. If it flares up again tomorrow, you still have nine days to recover and rest it as much as possible. The hay is in the barn at this point and your barn is overflowing, Tia!!

    Good luck with the race tomorrow!! I am also leaving one week from today and can’t wait. Are you going solo or is hubby and the kids coming, too?? Hope to meet you next weekend! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks so much!! We just have to make it ONE. MORE. WEEK. πŸ™‚

      I am feeling it a bit now that the race is over but I am about to do another contrast therapy session.

      As far as Boston- I am actually flying out with my friend who also qualified. Two more of our friends are flying out to cheer us on and experience it as spectators and we are all staying together. I would love John to come but it just didn’t work out this time. (childcare, $$, etc.) I am planning on doing it again so he will definitely be coming with me in the future!!

  2. First…love the blog redesign! Second…I wish you a great race tomorrow. You are so ready for the 10K and Boston. Trust your training and believe in yourself. There is nothing you do now but rest and heal. Believe that!!

    1. Ha! Thanks! I’ve been wanting some sort of collage on my cover page forever and I finally googled it. Only took me 4 years! lol!

      Thanks for all your encouragement!! I am feeling a lot better about this after today’s race. It bothered me in the warm-up but I didn’t even think about it during the race so maybe Boston will be like that. I hope so!

  3. Bumps in the road. Ah, yes. Well, I guess I just do what I can do. and this time that has been to just to let go and give my body rest. I’m not sure I’m in any condition to run Boston but I’m planning on starting the race and seeing what happens. πŸ™‚ Definitely NOT racing. But a good 26.2 mile run for me will be good for endorphins at least. ha! I hope your body sticks in there Tia because you’re set up for a fantastic race. Good luck on your 10k tomorrow. Hope to meet you in Boston. Does anyone have any meet ups planned?

    1. Thanks!! I was thinking of you and your post about letting go a lot this week. I think I can push through this but it’s not ideal. Oh well!

      As far as meet ups? We need to get on that! I will be at expo Friday afternoon and on Saturday… πŸ™‚

  4. You sound like I did 2 weeks ago. I guess from all our years of running we finally (maybe) are smarter about pains and when to lay off. I hope the taper, less mileage, and easy running is just what you need to feel better for Boston! Cannot believe how close the race is !!
    If there was some way I could make it up to Boston to cheer for you, I would!!

    1. Thanks Michele!! I am amazed at how you are keeping it all together with 2 little ones and IRONMAN training!! I’m sure we will meet up at Boston one of these years! πŸ˜‰

  5. Praying for you, Tia! I hope the therapy helps and your body gets it together. Good luck this weekend. I’m sure you will listen and respond to your body in a smart way. Rooting for you!!!!

  6. It’s so frustrating when all your plans go out the window and you’re left wondering what the right thing is to do. I’ve had a couple of years of second-guessing my training but every time it’s come down to – first do no harm. If it’s hurting take time off. If I’m exhausted get more rest. And accept that sometimes just finishing has to be enough.

    I hope your injury is just a little glitch and it heals quickly and thoroughly so you can feel confident on that start line.

    1. Thanks! I feel like it is getting better- didn’t feel it once I warmed up today so maybe a good taper week will do the trick!

  7. Aaaack! Hang in there. I know exactly what you mean. I started feeling *off* about 2-1/2 weeks before my last marathon. Pushed it a bit too hard as well… What can you do? I wasn’t 100% going into my marathon, but it was still a solid race and a nice PR. I hope it’s the same for you!

    1. Thanks Allison! I know I just need a little break from marathons so after Boston I’m going to work on more 5k type stuff. Maybe that will help?

  8. I had tendonitis strike two weeks before my last marathon. I was so worried about it. I rested and tried short runs through my taper but showed up the morning of the race really unsure of how it would go. As disappointing as that turn of events was to my training schedule it has made me so appreciative of being healthy this time around and it has helped me encourage others dealing with injury. How is it feeling after your race yesterday?

    1. Thanks Carissa. It did not bother me during the actual race- just the warm-up. I think it is getting better since my mileage has lowered. Still not 100% but it will probably take some complete rest which can’t happen until after Boston.

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