19 March 2012

Week 11: 28 miles

Whew! This was a roller coaster of a week. My MS symptoms were mostly gone, but I started having issues with my right leg and thought I might have to have to take a week off and (gasp!) cross train. This is basically my worst nightmare. This was the first week that I only ran three times, and my paces were slower than usual, but the week ended well with an 18-miler on Saturday. And after all that worrying over my leg, it's feeling good now.

For the first 12 weeks, my training plan has three-week cycles; I do two progressively longer long runs on Saturdays, and then there's a cutback week with a shorter long run. I switched things up a bit when I ran a half marathon a week earlier than the schedule called for, which meant I had to do three progressively longer runs in a row after that; 15-17-18. After the 17-miler last weekend, I had some aches and pains in my right leg, but I felt fine after my easy 5-miler on Tuesday. Wednesday I had an 8-miler scheduled, but my ankle (posterior tib tendon) and shin hurt, so I walked once a mile and massaged my shin, but eventually stopped after 6 miles.

It was demoralizing to have a training run cut short by pain, but I was determined not to end up with a real injury. After dealing with my ankle injury last fall, I'm paranoid about getting injured again, since last time I ended up with an MS relapse when I took a week off. The injury and the relapse might not be related, but with MS you never know why anything happens, so you make lots of connections that may or may not be real.

After Wednesday's debacle, I took Thursday off, which was supposed to be a 5-miler. I rested (and iced, and stick-ed and foam rolled) on Friday as well and hoped that my legs would hold up for 18 on Saturday. Mysteriously, my shin/ankle pain turned into a clicking knee pain during my two days off. It didn't hurt too badly, but it was the first knee pain I've ever had. By Friday night it hurt more (and more often), and I was really getting freaked out. Sean convinced me to do 13 (instead of 18) on Saturday, but I felt like a failure skipping one of my "long" long runs.

After everyone else was asleep Friday night in our big cozy family bed, I had a little talk with myself. "If you are manifesting these mysterious pains because you are scared to run 18 miles, you'd better cut that shit out and get 'er done tomorrow." Maybe that worked, because the pain was almost unnoticeable during and after the long run. Yes!

It's hard to know how much of the toughness of training is just that running a (first) marathon is hard, how much is that I'm old, or how much is that I have MS and I'm scared to push it too far lest my brain explodes. I still have the mindset that I'd rather make it to the starting line injury-free and run slower than I think I can, than try to push myself too hard in training and not get to run the race.

This journey has been almost as much mental as it is physical. It doesn't even occur to me now that I might not be able to do this. I know can do it, incurable degenerative brain disease and all.

Pace range for this week: 9:42 to 10:39
Temperature range: 47 - 50 degrees

Details for Week 11 (Mar 12 - Mar 18):
Monday: off
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: 6 miles (ugh)
Thursday: off
Friday: off
Saturday: 18 miles
Sunday: mini track workout with Maple (2x400, 4x100)

A shoe epilogue.
I went to the running store the other day with the intention of getting some cushier shoes, since the longer runs make my feet ache a bit, but I left with a pair of Asics DS-Trainer 17s. Damn salesman. I think I like them, but I need another run to break them in a little more. They kind of squeeze my bunion, and they aren't really cushier than my Ravennas. I'm still obsessing over a pair of Asics Nimbus; that's what I wore when I started running last year. They're like strapping clouds to your feet.


  1. Glad to hear the leg pain didn't blow up into an ongoing issue.

    I had a similar experience w/my old lady knees - they started to ache, I convinced myself I'd need bilateral knee replacements & miss the marathon, then I ran a 12-miler and they stopped hurting. No idea what that was about, but I won't look a gift horse in the mouth.

  2. Aches and pains when you're training are scary! As for the can never have too many, I say!

  3. There's something about running more that seems to heal you. My knees hurt while I took days off, but were fine when I ran again. Anyway I admit to being a total hypochondriac.

    Regarding shoes - I have started telling myself that if I had any other hobby, I'd spend a lot more on equipment. Running shoes are cheap compared to a triathlon bike or yarn (for example, not that I know anything about massive stashes of yarn hiding under my bed).

  4. I love this: I'd rather make it to the starting line injury-free and run slower than I think I can, than try to push myself too hard in training and not get to run the race.

    That's totally my approach and, IMO, the wisest approach for the first-timer. Glad to hear your knee pain subsided.

    I just got those Brookes PureFlows and can't say enough awesome about them too - they feel like clouds as well!

  5. I am so happy you go your 18 mile run in this weekend and that your 2 day rest made everything feel better. Believe me, I hear ya on hating the fact that a bunion has caused me pain. I am way too young to be worried about that nonsense. :) Great week of training. Here's to another amazing week!

    How far are you running this weekend? I'll be doing 21.5 on the Boston course, Hopkinton to BC. AHHH!!!!