Just seven weeks until my next marathon... California International at Sacramento. When I signed up, I was focused and determined to train in hopes of running a Boston qualifying time. Anyone who has run a marathon can attest... training for the marathon is harder than actually running the marathon. It is difficult to get all the training runs in each week. Family obligations. Illnesses. Declining motivation. Many things come into play that can easily jeapordize ones training plan.
I started the new training plan on the 13th of August. At the time, I was struggling with minor pain in my left hip. I cut back the mileage on the long runs. I bought new shoes. Things started to get better and the pain went away. However, with my hip and lowered mileage, I started to lose my momentum and I got caught in the habit of skipping key workouts. As a result, my stamina began to decline. I started to struggle to maintain pace during tempo runs. I started to lose interest in a BQ.
Then to top it all off, a severe pain developed in my left heel. Knowing a little about my running history, most would assume Plantars Faciitis. But no! It is entirely different. Not the usual spot that afflicts those with PF. There is slight swelling on the side of my heel, about the size of a quarter in diameter. When small pressure is applied, it is very painful. When walking or running, it is a slight, sharp localized pain. As I push forth on my runs, it eases up and is less noticeable (likely the endorphins I'm producing with exercise just mask the pain).
When we were in Disneyland, it bothered me each morning... all the walking/standing, I assume. This is the main reason I chose not to run while there. I figured my body needed rest. However, after a week of no running ... when I resumed on Tues Oct 9th for the prescribed speed session (2x1 mile at cruise/7:14, 4x800 at speed interval/3:27, and 2x1 mile at cruise/7:14)... same result as before. Rest didn't seem to make it go away as I had hoped.
[actual run results, for those interested: 2x1 mile = 7:29 and 7:21, 2x800 = 3:36 and 3:56, 2x1 mile = 8:01 and 8:45 ..... obviously, the prescribed pace was too fast for me and it wiped me out]
As we were at the coast on Thursday and the area is very hilly, I opted to do a moderately long run (10 miles) rather than the prescribed tempo session (3miles at goal pace/8:30, 4x800 at cruise/3:27, and 3miles at tempo/8:00). It bothered me a little when I returned home, so I iced my heel and that seemed to help.
On Sunday, I strongly intended to do 13 miles but, once again, I cut the run short. This time because I had the kiddos with me in the jogger and as usual, we stopped at the park midway so they could stretch their legs. I left the house shortly after 10 a.m. but I calculated that if I stayed on course for 13... we wouldn't have time to shower and go to the store to pick-up a gift for Sweetie's birthday party at 1 p.m. We must have stayed too long at the park... I wasn't running that slow. Right? :) I thereby finished 10 miles and just enough time for the necessary shower and quick stop at the store before I dropped Sweetie off at her girlfriends.
Now.... 7 weeks out... and the longest run I've done is 12 miles ... 3 weeks ago!! I obviously have a lot of work to do!! Here is my thought for the next 7 weeks. I'll stick with the prescribed plan for the majority of my runs (modifying the pace where necessary). The long runs will be modified as follows:
October 21st - 13 miles
October 28th - 15 miles
November 4th - 18 miles
November 11th - 20 miles
November 18th - 13 miles (tapering!)
November 25th - 60-75 minutes
December 2nd - CIM !!!
Does this look reasonable?? The longest, long run I did before Portland '06 was 16 miles and then two back-to-back 12 milers the next week (an unexpected fall cut my planned 18 mile run short). I can not expect to qualify - my pace & stamina just aren't there - but I'd assume that a PR is certainly a possibility. What are your thoughts?