If you recall, I posted recently about injuries following the words “Best Run Ever.” Well, I’ll take best over worst any day of the week.
After the 5-mile race on Saturday, I still had big volume for the rest of the weekend. Sunday called for a 22-mile run. This is definitely pushing the comfort zone. I knew that from my house to Sumrall is 20 miles but I needed two more. I decided to run to Jackson Station and then back past my house to Sumrall and back to get the allotted distance.
I had such a good 20 miler the previous weekend I knew I was going to have success. I loaded up my race belt with gels. I inserted each gel in the loop and pulled it tight. One, two, three for a total of five. It was as if I was loading a bandolier and readying for battle.
I started slightly downhill towards Jackson, I quickly got on pace. The legs loosened up easily but there was some fatigue from the 5-mile race the previous morning. I had raced at a hard effort.
I was clicking off miles just as planned but now I was running slightly up hill. My pace slowed a few seconds per mile. No big deal, I would make up the time on the return. The effort was growing higher.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that it was 70 degrees and 100 humidity on this Sunday in January! I took my second gel at Epley. This was the 9-mile mark. I thought about turning around and running the 6 back home, 15 miles would still be respectable. I pushed on. It was another 4 miles to Sumrall Station.
I started to feel some slight discomfort in my left leg on the downhill to the station. If I turned around here, I could still get 20 miles for the run. Would that be a failure? I pushed on. I took my third gel at the bottom of the hill. I turned around slowly knowing that I had to climb the hill and reach home. I was at mile 12 and still had 10 to go.
On the climb out, I shortened my stride. I was hurting now. I kept going. With an out and back you always have to get home.
My pace was slowing and after Epley, I started doing a run walk. It was frustrating that I was not able to keep running. This was not a fitness issue but an injury issue. I really thought about walking the entire 6 miles back home. I did the quick math and there was no way that I was going to be out there another two hours.
No amount of stretching helped curb the pain. It was sharp and intense all around my left knee. This is not the good kind of pain. I took my last gel at Clyde. I looked around for any cars that I recognized. There was none. In fact, there were no cars at all. At this point, I would have checked the ego and bummed a ride from anyone.
I gathered my courage and ran the last two miles home. The pain was not so bad but the thought of extended recovery loomed heavy on my thoughts.
Once home I took an ice bath and a full recovery meal. I rested the legs on Monday (upper body strength work). By Tuesday, I felt much better. So good that I could go out on the trace and tear it up again.
Marathon training is all about pushing the envelope.
This was definitely up there with one of my worst training runs ever and it could have been avoided. I should not have run a ‘longest of the season’ run following a hard effort race. I should have changed the pace a touch considering that last week I had run and it was 20 degrees cooler.
It is a minor set back but a set back nonetheless.