Back from the dead

Sheesh. It’s been nearly a month and a half since my last post. So it’s time to do some catching up.

We spent about 10 days in Sedona, Arizona visiting family and, among other things, running in the half marathon there. If you’re looking for a truly tough race, do the Sedona Marathon or Half Marathon. It’s not only the hardest race I’ve ever run, it’s probably the hardest run I’ve ever run. It’s hills, hills, hills — mostly up. And at 4500 feet, which isn’t easy for those of us who live at sea level.

Still, despite the challenge, I was happy with my time: 2:08:29 and 12th in my age/gender group. Jonathan flew over the hills and took home a lovely age group award — second in his pack. And it’s an extremely scenic run — beautiful red rocks all around. But, given the course, I often had to remind myself to look around and enjoy the scenery.

Before the race, we were treated to free myofascial massages from a family member who does them. I think it helped, because my shins were much better during the race and beyond (popping ibuprofen like candy didn’t hurt either).

In fact, the shinsplints have nearly disappeared. I think the massage helped (and I think my muscles, tendons and connective tissues finally just started getting used to the increased training demands). But the primary reason I suspect they’re going away is that I’ve been losing weight. I’ve lost close to 10 pounds in the last six or so weeks. With each pound I lose, the shins become less and less of a problem.

So, the past two weeks or so have been the first time I’ve run relatively pain free since November. And I’ve been reminded of how pleasurable running is when you’re not in pain! I’m also running faster on my easy and long runs than I was in training, so I’m feeling more confident about my chances in the upcoming More Marathon (13 days away). Last week started my taper, so now I’m just trying to get used to not running 45+ miles a week.

I was training for a 3:50:00 marathon, but since the training didn’t go well due to the shin problems, I lowered my expectations to feeling lucky if I can do it under 4:00:00. Now that I’m running normally again (and carrying less weight), I’m trying to gauge my chances for hitting my original goal time. I’ll probably split the difference: go out conservatively and see how I feel after the first 6-10 miles, then pick it up if I can. The course in Central Park isn’t exactly flat (big hills at the northern end of the park — but only for the first half of the race), but it’s also not horrible. I guess I’ll just see how it goes on race day.