It feels like the road to running my first marathon has been rockier than it should have been so far, and yesterday, I found out some news that only adds another road block to the journey.
I knew that something was wrong when I got sudden hamstring pain during my MLR last week, but I figured that it would only be temporary. I cut it short, and hoped for the best, but despite taking a few days off and partially being in denial, it didn't get any better, so when I got home from Florida, I knew that I had to face reality and see a physical therapist. Thanks to my friend Leiba, I was able to get a consultation at her PT's office, and after a brief evaluation, I was told that I have a hamstring sprain and that running through the pain would only make things worse.
I don't know exactly what caused it, but according to the PT I had my initial consultation with, my hips weren't flexible enough, which caused my hamstrings to have to overcompensate to make up for it. I plan on getting physical therapy at the Hospital for Special Surgery since they take my insurance and are probably one of the best places out there.
....no, I'm not saying that just because I'm an former employee and my current employer is an affiliate
Anyway, I'll find out if the HSS PT gives the same diagnosis or not, but regardless of the exact issue, running is out of the question for the foreseeable future.
What does this mean in terms of doing the DC marathon? Well, I only have two months left, and unfortunately, I don't know how fast I'll recover. At this point, however, I don't see how doing the marathon will be a possibility unless I recover fairly quickly. I mean, yes, if I'm able to run after a few weeks off, it's doable, but I don't know if I want to travel to DC knowing that I wouldn't be trained as well as I should be. Maybe I'm better off just recovering completely, then focusing on building back up towards NYCM.
I've had aches and pains before, but this is the first time that I've had something this bad, and quite frankly, it sucks. Not being able to run is very depressing, and knowing that my training cycle time is slowly dwindling away makes me feel sad and useless. I mean, cross training is fun, but biking and swimming just are not the same.
I'm hoping for the best, but mentally, I'm preparing myself for the possibility that NYCM 2013 may be my first marathon after all.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Distance: 10 Miles
Previous PR: N/A
Time: 1:22:32 @ 8:15mm average pace
AG Rating: 60.2%
AG Placement: 15/74
Gender Placement: 47/241
Overall Placement: 155/451
Long VersionIt's hard to believe, but I am already finished with 3/12 weeks of my marathon training program. It's amazing how time passes when you're having so much fun!
This past week was the first time my mileage crept back into the forties since my last marathon training cycle - just over 43 total for the week - and thankfully, this week went pretty well. I haven't been perfect about following the schedule exactly, but I have gotten in the workouts as planned.
Yesterday, I had a marathon pace workout which entailed that I run 16 miles total, including 10 miles at marathon pace. In the past, I haven't been great about being fast enough on these runs, so when I saw that NYCRuns was hosting a 10 mile race, I knew that this would be a great opportunity for me. I registered with the understanding that I would not be treating this as an actual race.
On Saturday, I went to packet pickup, and was pleased to see that instead of another race shirt, I got a cool duffel bag along with my bib. I didn't think of it at the time, but on a funny note, my bib number was 420. I'll give you a moment to get it. I had planned on taking a rest day, but ended up moving Friday's 8 mile run to that morning since it was raining really hard, and I don't do rain unless I absolutely have to. I just hoped that it wouldn't negatively affect me too much on Sunday.
I wake up early Sunday morning, and after coordinating my outfit and getting ready, I head out with my water bottle to do my pre-race mileage. I kind of made up my route as I went along, and ended up with a 5.5 mile run by the time I got to the race staging area. Close enough. I ended up sticking nicely within my easy pace range.
I met up with Leiba and also said hi to James, who was volunteering at the event. We pretty much stuck together during the last race, so despite her claim that I would finish way ahead of her, I figured that the same thing would happen this time. I hadn't planned on wearing my arm warmers, but I was so chilly waiting around for the start that I kept them on. I just hoped that I wouldn't regret this decision later on.
We line up not too far from the front, and after a short delay, we were off. I wanted to go out at a pace that wasn't easy, but felt like something I could sustain for a long period of time. The pace felt good, but I shortly realized that I was going much faster than marathon pace. Last time I checked, 8:08 =/= 8:42. Whoops. I wanted to slow down, but I was in a groove, and just couldn't bring myself to do it.
I passed Leiba at some point, but I knew that she probably wasn't far behind me. I also kept seeing this girl with a blue skirt, and figured that she was also in our AG. The three of us would end up going back and forth for almost the entire race.
|Three peas in a pod. Leiba is in the pink.|
The first lap felt really easy, and although I planned on fueling at the halfway point, I felt that I didn't need it, so I held off until a mile or two later. My splits up to that point weren't extremely even, but overall they were fairly stable.
Sometime during mile 6, Leiba passed me, but she wasn't too far ahead. Her pink shirt made it easy to keep tabs on her. The girl in the blue skirt wasn't far behind her. However, at the mile 7 mark, Leiba decided to speed up and try and race the last 5K. I considered trying to keep up, but I already knew that I was going inappropriately fast for an MP workout. The fact that I suddenly got a searing pain on my left shoulder/neck for no reason didn't help matters.
Since my legs and breathing were still very good, I did my best to be able to at least see where Leiba was, but it got tougher as she pulled further ahead. Still, the only mile that felt even slightly difficult was the second to last mile, which consisted of the West Side hills for the second time. It was the only mile where I went slower than 8:17.
Still, I sped up, and ran as fast as I could towards the finish. I remember looking up at some point and seeing Leiba cross the finish line. I ended up coming in exactly a minute behind her, finishing the ten mile race in 1:22:32 @ 8:15 average pace. Thankfully, I didn't slow down too much during the second half.So, inadvertently, I ended up with an HMP (half marathon pace) effort instead of an MP effort - my best half marathon pace was 8:16mm from this past October.
Post race, the girl in the blue skirt came up to us and thanked us for being her inadvertent pacers, and I told her it was a mutual thing. It turns out that she was in the age group below us, and she ended up with 2nd place in the 20-24 year old age category. I thought that Leiba at least had a minor shot at an AG, but it turns out that we were in a more competitive age group, and ended up in 14th and 15th place out of 74 respectively.
In another cool turn of events, someone approached me to say hi, and it turns out that she recognized me from high school. After a moment, I realized who she was as well. I hadn't seen Chloe since high school, but it was very nice to catch up with her after all of these years.
I really enjoyed this race. Since it was capped at 500, I never felt crowded out, and I was able to run my own race the entire time. While I would have loved one more water station out there, it was a great experience overall. I especially enjoyed the hot chocolate provided at the end of the race.
Overall, I was very happy with my performance. Although I got an automatic PR, I broke the 60% AG rating for another distance. Now I just have to figure out whether I'm underestimating what MP pace I should do, or whether I don't know how it should feel. I'm thinking it's a little bit of both, but at least I have 9 weeks left to find out!