Two Words: Stress Fractures

This time last week, I was anticipating my next Saturday night. I’d imagined myself chowing down on some pasta and bread with some other runners, getting pre-marathon jitters and feeling excited and proud about completing my first marathon the next morning.

That’s all changed. As you can probably guess from the title of this post, I found out what was ailing me — stress fractures. That’s right – plural. All week I’d been having some pain in my left foot and even after icing and taking NSAIDs, it wouldn’t go away. There was a nagging feeling that something was wrong, so I took some people’s advice and headed to an orthopedic doctor who specializes in sports medicine.

I had X-Rays on Friday – my left foot and my left lower leg – and sure enough, I had not only stress fractures in my metatarsal, but a large stress fracture in my tibia. That pain that I assumed was shin splints? That was the stress fracture. That weird bump that was growing on my shin? That was my tibia bone, growing back onto itself. I left the doctor’s office wearing an air cast (or as the dr told me, “the most expensive boot I probably owned”), an appointment for an MRI and a strict order NOT to run the marathon for fear my tibia would break in half mid-race.

That’s right, TWO days before the race, I was told not to run. Seventeen weeks of training, hundreds of miles, including a twenty mile training run — and the race was off. I would be cheering on my husband, sister-in-law and friends from the sidelines.

I know that I shouldn’t feel so bad, but I can’t help but feel that all my training was for nothing. All those Friday nights I stayed in, all those Saturdays I spent pounding pavement — what was it for? Maybe next week I’ll be feeling a little better, but right now, instead of pre-race jitters I’m feeling disappointment, sadness and frustration.

Have you trained for a marathon or another race but been forced to back out a few days before? Have you had stress fractures (of course I have them in multiple places). How did you recover – how long did it take to get back in the saddle and start running again?

Marathon Training: Week Seventeen Recap

The second to last week of marathon training is done. I can’t believe it. That means only one more week until the big day that I’ve been counting down for 5 months. My teeth hurt just thinking about it.

Sadly, it was the worst week of training ever. After last week’s 12 miler, my tendon just wasn’t getting any better. The one good thing about the pain getting worse, and even hurting when I just walked to work, was that it was easier to tell where exactly it was hurting – and it wasn’t my achilles. The pain is actually in between my achilles and left ankle, leaving me to believe I may have posterior tibula tendonitis (self-diagnosis, I haven’t been to a dr yet). Look it up – every symptom that is described, I have. So, this week, not really by choice, I took it easy and only ran 10 miles. No, not 10 miles at once – 10 miles total. Ouch.

As I sit on the train from NYC to Albany (more on that later), I hate typing this update. I feel so defeated, so crushed and so destroyed. The week only called for  21 miles total – 3 mi, 6 mi, 4 mi and then 9 mi. Here’s what I did instead:

Monday: 6 mi – Wasn’t due for anything on Monday, but instead went out and ran my 6 for the week. And it felt great! While I was running. Post-run, and for the rest of the week, I was in pain. Hm, maybe the running the 6 on an off day wasn’t the best idea?

Tuesday: 35 minute elliptical – Was not feeling so hot in my tendon, so opted for a post-work elliptical workout. Probably again not the smartest – I put it on the highest incline, so after the workout I could feel my tendon inflaming. Note to self – using the elliptical on an incline is not great for a tendon pain.

Wednesday: 1.25 mi run (at just sub 9 min mile pace!) and then 20 min on the elliptical and then 30 min on the bike – Still trying to get some activity in instead of running. Biking and ellipticalling will help, right?

Saturday: 3ish (didn’t clock it) mi run around Central Park – Was in town to visit my family and celebrate Mother’s Day and it was beautiful out. Felt great to get in a run on the trip, but my feet were killing. I’m still getting used to my orthotics, so I’m hoping that was the reason for the pain.

Of course the weekend included a good amount of walking, including walking from our friend Jared’s apartment to my brother’s dorm (about 30 blocks or 2 miles) and walking the High Line with my parents … but still, I wish that the pain would go away and I can’t help but feel nervous about next week’s race. What if the not running these last two weeks doesn’t actually help me (and help me heal) but hurts my stamina instead? Can you get out of shape in 2 weeks?

End this post on a happy note – on the beautiful High Line with my parents:

Marathon Training: Week Sixteen Recap

Week 16 of my Cleveland marathon training program is complete. The week’s training called for Tuesday: 5. Wednesday: 8. Thursday: 4. Saturday: 12, for a total of 29 miles.  Due to more achilles pain, I didn’t follow the schedule completely – I took Thursday off and only completed 3 on Wednesday. I was determined to complete the 12 miler, so I took it easy in the days prior to the run.

Tuesday: 5 –  GREAT post-work run with B. My legs were tired and shins and tendon were hurting after the weekend’s 20 miler, but overall it was good to get out while it was still light and warm out. 5 miles felt SO much faster after a 20 mile run! We were booking it too, we finished the run in about 47 minutes.

Wednesday3ish – Less than stellar post-work run with B. We made it about 2 miles, and B started experiencing some serious shin pain and had to walk. My achilles started acting up, so I made it another mile and decided to just take it easy and use the bike for a half hour.

Thursday – Friday: 0 – Took two days off in hopes that Saturday would be pain free!

Saturday: 12 – It was the last double digit run of training, and for some reason it was a lot tougher than it should’ve been! B was still hurting so only made it three, but I was determined to complete the whole run. The achilles pain was acting up – maybe I’m still recovering from last week’s 20 miler?

Sunday: cross-training – and I actually did it! I usually just relax on Sundays, but I decided to use the elliptical for 55 minutes before heading to an Indian’s game with B and his parents. Thanks to B’s job, we had great seats — and they won! Below, some photos from the game, and one post-training.

I can’t believe that training is almost over. There are so many things I’ll miss about training, yet I’m getting excited for race day and for my parents to be there to support me and cheer me on for my first 26.2. Two more weeks!

What I’ll Miss About Marathon Training

While running twenty miles, I had a lot of time to think. While running all my miles, actually, I’ve had a lot of time to think – and what do I think about? Running, of course. With the race just three weeks away, I began thinking of all the things I’ll actually miss about marathon training.

7 Things I’ll Miss When Marathon Training is Over:

  1. Not having to think about what I’m doing for a workout. Some days, it’s all I can do to get out of bed and workout. Those days, it’s nice not to have to think “Hmm, what should I do today? Use the elliptical? Lift? Spinning class?” and instead just look at my schedule and get in my miles.
  2.  That feeling of accomplishment I have on Saturdays. After a 14 mile run, it’s hard to feel guilty for just sitting on the couch and napping. No matter what else I do that day, I still feel pretty good.
  3.  The camaraderie of a long run with friends. Not only is it nice to spend time and run with B (before training, we didn’t usually work out together – I’m more of a morning runner, and he’s a late-night gym goer), but it’s been nice to run with Dave and B’s sister, Mary. Even online it’s amazing what great support I’ve found – fellow runners and running enthusiasts on Twitter, Dailymile and here!
  4.  Not feeling like a poser when I go to Second Sole or Dick’s and browse through the running clothes/shoes/sports drink section. I may not look like a runner, but I can at least claim to be training for a marathon!
  5.  The sights – when you have to cover 10-20 miles any given weekend, you take in a lot of new scenery. Whether it’s been running around downtown Cleveland, trying out new routes on the East Side, running to Lakewood – or even running while traveling (remember my informal half marathon in Atlantic City?) – I’ve gotten to see a lot of new places while covering my miles.
  6.  The food! There’s nothing like a pre-run meal (hello pasta parties!) or a post-long run feast (I’d like to thank Jimmy John’s for keeping me alive and full after runs) or a post-race celebration (free food and drinks) to make me happy. Sure, the food will still be there after training is over, but it won’t feel as well-deserved.
  7.  This. I know I’ve blogged before marathon training, but it was never as regular. I’ve gotten used to and started enjoying compiling my weekly marathon recaps, reading other marathon training blogs, following the comments and so on. I know I’ll keep up the writing, but I may have to find a new hobby to write about!

What about you? What did you miss when your marathon training was over?

Marathon Training: Week Fifteen Recap

Last week marked week fifteen of my Cleveland marathon training. The week’s training called for Tuesday: 5. Wednesday: 10. Thursday: 5. Saturday: 20, for a total of 40 miles.  Yipes. Forty miles! Again, I didn’t follow the running schedule. 😦  After standing up all day on Monday and Tuesday and walking around a trade show in not-so-comfortable shoes, I was hurting. That, plus my on and off ankle and achilles pain during and after runs, made me decide to run every day but not complete the mid-week 10 miler.

Monday: 5 –  Pre-work run on the dreadmill at the hotel gym.  As I mentioned, I was in Orlando for work last week from Sunday through Wednesday, meaning I knew it’d be hard to fit in my normal workout schedule. Luckily, the hotel gym was awesome – it was like a full gym with rows of treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, and a weight room. I decided to hit the gym before a day on the Convention floor and was glad I did!

Tuesday– Pre-work outdoor run in Orlando with my coworker Leslie!  Leslie is another runner who has trained on and off for various marathons and whenever we travel together we like to run together. It was 55 degrees before the sun was up and it felt great to have someone to run with and explore the area where we were staying.

Wednesday: 6 – Another morning run in Orlando with Leslie. I didn’t think I’d be able to make the full 10 miles without being in some serious plane, but decided to see how 6 would feel. Not bad! After landing back in Cleveland, I spent some time icing.

Saturday: 20– 20 miles. Yes, 20.  WOW. Longest training run before the marathon (3 weeks!) and longest run in my life. Had to set the alarm for 5-something to get outside and get in 10 miles before completing the Cleveland 10 miler. It wasn’t great – Friday night I had started feeling sick, coming down with a cold, and Saturday morning it was there. What could be worse than running 20 miles? 20 miles with a cold. AND in the rain. Luckily the rain held off somewhat until mile 16ish where it started freezing rain/sleeting for about a mile. But by then, I was just happy to be at mile 16. We had our worst times ever in the race (woops!) but am SO happy it’s done!

No photo of the hotel gym, but here’s a photo of my bathroom. Love it when there’s a TV in the mirror!

Plus, a photo of me during the trip. Working hard of course!

Marathon Training: Week Fourteen Recap

Sorry for the later than usual recap – instead of getting this post up on Sunday, as I had hoped, I was off to Orlando with McDonald’s (a client) for a few days! I’ve returned to Cleveland and am playing catchup – with work, life, grocery shopping (4 days of eating McDonald’s means my fridge is pretty empty) and blogging!

Last week was week fourteen of Cleveland marathon training. The week’s training called for Tuesday: 5. Wednesday: 9. Thursday: 5. Saturday: 14, for a total of 33 miles.  For the first time since the Toe Incident, I didn’t follow the running schedule. 😦  If you read my last post, you know that I’ve been experiencing some on and off ankle and achilles pain during and after runs – and even somewhat when walking. So, I decided to take one of the days (Wednesday) off and stick to the shorter weeknight runs, ice my leg, stretch, and see how the 14 miler went.

Monday: 5 –  Not a bad pre-work run. After resting on Saturday and using the elliptical on Sunday, my legs were feeling strong. Of course afterwords, the achilles and ankle started hurting again!

Tuesday: 5 – B and I pounded through a great post-work run. We finished our 5ish miles in under 48 minutes, meaning our pace was below our typical 10 min/mile training pace. During (and after) there was still achilles and shin pain, but it felt like a great night for a short run! Yes, it’s amazing what training for a marathon will do for you – anything 6 or under is short… even a mid-week 9 miler is “short!”

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday– Rest, rest and more rest. It felt so strange not to go out with B when he was doing his 9 miles and I couldn’t help but feel jealous when he got back from his good run, but I spent most of the time just icing my ankle and prepping dinner. And of course catching up on the DVR (Glee, The Voice and Ice Loves Coco aren’t going to watch themselves!).

Saturday: 14.1– 14 miles felt great. B, his sister and I did a 14 mile loop, much of it along the actual marathon route! We ran the first 5 with one of B’s sister’s friends, and then took a water break after 7 miles and then continuing on for the rest of the run. I was feeling great emotionally, but around mile 10 or so my leg/ankle started seriously hurting again. It was not as bad as last week, but still found myself going pretty slowly for the rest of the run and not going much faster than 10:30 minute miles. Frustrating –  but glad to be finished and ONE month till race day!

Saturday night, B and I went out to dinner and then met up with my friend Ali to help her celebrate her birthday!

my beer had its own stand!

Sunday I hit the airport for a trip to Orlando for work. I was able to get in a few runs during the trip, along iwth standing ALL DAY on the convention floor – meaning my healing process may be a little sloewr.

This week: Looking forward to being back in Cleveland and participating in the Cleveland 10 miler this Saturday morning. B, his sister and I plan on using it as part of our TWENTY MILE training run.

Taking a few days off …

No, I’m not taking a few days off from blogging. Instead, I’m (sadly) taking a few days off from training. I don’t know what’s up, but since our 18 miler last week, I’ve been experiencing some pain in my achilles/ankle area. I’ve been trying to ice it (I even iced it one day at work!) and ran on it twice this week (two 5 milers Monday and Tuesday), but those didn’t seem to make it much better.

Normal Melissa would just run through it. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen, right? I’ve run through similar pain before, including horrible shin splints, nail-less toes, etc. But there’s something about this pain, so close to race day (ONE MONTH AND ONE DAY AWAY) that makes me nervous! And googling “achilles pain from running” doesn’t come up with anything pretty. Marathon-training Melissa is smart. She doesn’t run 9 miles on Wednesday, despite hating herself for “skipping a day,” and doesn’t run or work out at all on Thursday. Instead, she takes it easy, ices when necessary and waits for her 14 mile run this weekend to see how she feels.

Am I crazy? Some days it’s hard to get out of bed and actually run, so why is it harder right now to NOT run?

To end this running post, I leave you with a few images from my new favorite Tumblr – Hey Running Girl. Ryan Gosling can motivate me to run anytime 🙂

Sadly, I can relate to all of these:

Yup. Pretty awesome stuff.