Wow, time is flying by! Over two weeks since my last blog and so much to talk about!
For starters, I pulled my calf last week. I’m not sure if it was the hills I added to my long run, my pace run, or something I did running the crazy obstacle course we call a Hash House Harrier run, but somewhere along the line my lower calf became very painful. The location was about 4 inches above my heel to the outer side of my Achilles, so the lower part of my Soleus.
My 8 miles pace run on Tuesday the 23rd went fantastic, largely thanks to a cool front that brought the temperature down to the low 60’s. After a nice easy mile warm up, I managed my 9 minute per mile pace and even included a couple of walking breaks so most of my splits were in the 8:30 to 8:45 range. It was a really great run, but the next day my calf was in serious pain. This is NOT what you want to feel during training for a major race! I went ahead and ran my 4 miles the next day, talking it very slow with lots of walking breaks and really paying close attention to my form and what made my calf feel better or worse. I was able to establish that pushing off from the ball of my foot was the main culprit so I concentrated on picking my feet straight up and using my glutes and hams for my forward motion. I made it through the run with no additional pain to my Soleus and focused on ice and rest for the next 48 hours.
By Friday morning my leg was still quite tender, but doing better. I decided to go ahead and start my planned 17 mile run, but I was prepared to throw in the towel if the pain got worse. In the first few miles there were definitely times I didn’t think I would finish my run, but as I adjusted my form I was able to make the pain go away and stay away. By the end of the first 6 mile loop, my calf was tender, but not painful and I managed to finish my run. Although I had plenty of half mile splits that were on target for a 10 mpm pace, I took walking breaks and did not stop the clock for water/bathroom breaks so my average pace was 10:48 for the run in general. Not great, but considering the heat and pulled calf, not too shabby either.
For week 11 I decided to concentrate on letting my calf heal without giving up too much mileage. I rested Saturday by not going on trail with the Harriers and just walking a couple of miles. I totally rested Sunday, and skipped my run on Monday. By then my calf was MUCH better but I figured I would benefit more from resting than running 5 miles. Tuesday It felt great so I went on my 8 miler. I decided to take it very slow, plenty of walk breaks, and do some trail scouting so I was up and down hills, through the woods, and around town. It made for an incredibly slow average, but my calf was no worse so I considered it a success.
I decided that running every other day would be the most conducive to my calf healing so I skipped my 5 easy miles run Wednesday and ran my 18 mile long run Thursday. I was really glad I did! The 18 miles went great. No problems with my calf and only a tiny bit sore now (Friday here in Korea). I managed to finish all 18 miles in 3 hours flat, despite the first two miles being very slow as I ran through town to get to the base (Hubby had the car). The temps were from the low 60’s to low 70’s over the course of 3 hours, but there was a wonderful thick fog that kept the sun off me, which is the number one thing that zapps my speed. My last half mile split was 9:01! It felt so great to meet my long run goals and at the end I could have kept going. I am really hopeful for my upcoming marathons and feel much better now that my calf is on the mend.
The hardest weeks are past me now. Last week was the most intense, if not the highest mileage, because of the 8 mile pace run and 17 mile long run. This week did not have a pace run to go with the 18 mile long run and next week has my last 8 mile pace run, but the long run is a fall back to 12 miles. After that the pace runs come way down and I only have 2 more miles to add to long training runs. The “training” marathon will be longer, of course, but the atmosphere will be very different and I plan to take it much slower than usual, shooting for 11 mpm pace for the first 20 and then see how I feel at that point.
I am resting today and running hard and fast tomorrow. I will be marking the trail for the Harriers which means extra running (to mark detractors and false trails, it is like a scavenger hunt) and to keep from getting “snared” by the runners behind me. I’ll have another rest day Sunday, and then be back on track for full marathon training starting Monday with week 12.
RA update: I got a steroid injection in my wrist so it is %100 better! All else is behaving.
Barefoot update: Feet are holding up fine. I wore VFFs for the first two miles of my 18 yesterday because I had to run from home to the base, but 2 more miles would not have been a problem. I’m feeling much more confident about putting 26.2 on my bare feet!