Fall Training: Week 10

09fall-training-10This week started out well but rapidly nosedived as a new injury emerged. On Tuesday, toward the end of a midlength run, the top of my left foot suddenly started hurting. A lot.

With icing it seemed to get better overnight and I felt good enough to go do my tempo run at the track on Wednesday. That went very well until the penultimate fast mile when the pain started to come back. I could still run fast, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience. The recovery run later that day was a bit better and I was encouraged to find that the more I ran, the better the foot felt.

Then on Thursday I did a nine mile recovery run with the same expectation, but ended up with a completely different experience. My foot hurt like hell for the entire run. Aside from one incredibly hot and humid half marathon in which I had a small…um…”accident” in my shorts just past mile 4, these were the longest 9 miles I can recall ever having gritted my teeth through.

After that run the pain started to migrate upward from the top of my foot to the lateral side of my ankle. There was no obvious inflammation, which I suppose was a good sign, although the area was tender.

As much as I hated to do so, I backed off for the rest of Thursday, as well as Friday and Saturday, chopping my mileage by close to 30 miles in the process. I’m upset that it came to this, but what could I do? After Thursday’s sufferfest I felt that running on it further would only delay the process of healing.

Fortunately, I have a stationary bike for just such occasions, so I whaled away on that for a couple of days. At the risk of offending duathletes and triathletes, biking is not that hard. I averaged 16mph at 60-63% MHR with a resistance setting of 5 (on a scale of 1-10). Maybe I need to put these monster legs onto some pedals one day, since I know I’ve got the running nailed.

Last night I did a 20 minute run test on the treadmill, scooting from 11:00 pace down to 8:00, just to see what my tendon would do. It didn’t get worse, which was good enough for me. Hardly the best test, since 20 minutes on a flat treadmill at a slow pace does not equal 20 miles in Central Park at a fast pace.

Since I take some measure of pride in being an honest blogger, even when it makes me look like an idiot (see shorts shitting episode above), I’ll confess that I took a serious painkiller for this run: 500mg of Hydrocodone (prescription only!). I resorted to this measure only because OTC meds had no effect on the pain over the preceding days. I took half one hour before the run and kept the other half in my shorts. I took that at the 13.5 mile mark when my ankle was starting to whine.

I know that it’s generally not a great idea to include narcotics in one’s training plan, for the usual reasons: they mask pain, they can have unpredictable physiological effects when mixed with high effort, one can become overly reliant on them as a “band aid” of sorts, yadda yadda. But I’m a big girl and know the risks. I knew going in that my tendon was inflamed and would hurt. I knew I didn’t have a stress fracture. I knew that 500mg of something in my system during a few faster miles wasn’t going to wreak havoc. I used to be alarmist about such things, but I’m not anymore.

The run went well. I did 5 miles at around 10:00 and then picked it up to average 7:35 per mile 7:50 per mile (I can’t do math properly) for the faster 15. This is a very good decent pace for me in Central Park, which is constant ups and downs. I avoided the huge hills at the top of the park, opting to go clockwise along the 4+ mile “inner loop” (utilizing the two major transverses at 72nd and 102nd streets) for most of the run. It was also around 60F and 92% humidity. Add in that I was running on a bum ankle and I’m happy with today’s performance. I know I worked hard because I came home and slept for 2+ hours.

Random fun facts: I counted four people who were running faster than I was today and they were all guys in their 20s and 30s; that always makes me feel good. Also, there was an ice cream cart on the corner of the 72nd street transverse and West Side Drive, but no one was buying ice cream. I bought one at the end of the run and it took the guy about five minutes to excavate the desired item from the bowels of his cart. I wondered if it had been buried in there since September.

Next week is the transition from training to taper. I’ve got my last speed session (I skipped the one planned for Friday of this week) and a 4 mile race in the park on Sunday, in which I will make my second attempt to garner a NYRR First Corral bib. As for my tendon, regardless of what it does overnight I’ll go see the orthopedist this week for a cortisone shot. It wouldn’t be marathon season without one.

9 Responses

  1. Sorry to hear about the foot. Glad that you were able to get through the 20 though. Hopefully you’ll be back out there minus the pain-killers soon.

    I’m surprised nobody was buying ice cream today. At the Jets game, there was a monster line at the Carvel stand. Crazy, crazy weather this is.

  2. Taking a long nap after a long run is soooo good for you. Early release of growth hormone, lots of good healing things happening.

    Feel better!

  3. Poor baby! What a week, accidents and ouchies – such a tough combo, I’d give you a hug if you were close by. Great job gutting it out, can’t believe you managed that 20. I think the taper will be your wonderful friend, I hope you enjoy it and relax into it blissfully.

  4. That was a good 20 miles, so dropping the weekly total by 30 was the right choice (if you had a choice). Good luck with garnering the #1 corral bib, and enjoy the race. The pain of such a short race often masks minor injury pain 🙂

    Hope the foot comes totally good over the course of the taper.

    Oh yes, some triathlete friends go by 1:3 for running/biking. 1 hour of running is equivalent to 3 of biking. Good reason to stay a runner!

  5. WOW, thats not so nice for the foot and i hope the race on Sunday goos good?.
    Now 3 weeks to go for the marathon and i think that you can do it, you have train a lot…
    And icecream on the street!, is it not to cold for ice?.
    And a nap after the training is a good thing to do, i do the same…
    I hope the pain go’s and whit the bike is a nice thing to do.
    Greet Rinus.

  6. Might be of interest to you to check out Geoff Roes’ blog…his new perspective that has emerged over the last couple of months and the results that have followed:


  7. Hi there- Let me preface my comments by stipulating that I am not a coach… BUT I often play one with friends.

    I think you are running TOO many miles. You being injured right after “maxing” out the volume seems to confirm it. If I were you, I’d drop to the 60s, maybe low 70s.

    I would limit my recovery runs to 3-5 miles, and this after a HARD workout… the rest of the workouts, run them either at easy pace or general aerobic…

    Sorry If I am giving you unsolicited advice… I realize you do have a coach, BUT I cannot help to question his recommendations.


    • Alejandro, if you followed my training history over the past few years (and I don’t expect anyone to have done so, especially casual readers of this blog), you’d recognize that the issue isn’t too many miles. In fact, my average mileage for this training cycle has been less than 70. That’s compared to the mid 80s, with many weeks in the 90-100 mpw range, for the last two years. The issue (I suspect) is too many very fast miles on challenging terrain; Central Park, to be specific. Thanks for your concern. But, as you point out, I’ve got a coach. 🙂

  8. […] A year ago, I was injured with a tendon problem on my foot. This was three weeks before the California International Marathon. That would turn out to be a dreadful race, one that made me rethink everything. […]

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