I’m still here, I promise.
When running isn’t going so well, my mood follows suit and I lose the positivity that enables me to share my running experiences, hence the on and off again posting pattern as of late. Things seem to be turning around though.
To rewind a bit. I stopped going to the chiropractor, primarily because I don’t have enough in my HSA to cover anymore visits and I wasn’t convinced anything was really changing anyways. It seemed like non-running rest was the only way to ease the wear and tear on my groin and adjoining muscles, so that’s what I started doing. I’d put in two or three consecutive runs here and there to see how things were coming along, but I still found myself backing off when my groin would scream uncle, or get angry enough to start stabbing me with every footfall. Somehow, through all this back and forth, I’ve managed to run the trails in Southern Indiana every weekend. And most recently, things seem to be healing up now. I’m still running more conservatively, but each day the noticeable pain and tightness gets subtler and subtler, allowing more and more continuous days of running, even giving me full trail runs with minimal to non-existent pain.
Speaking of trails, I put in a complete 2 hour run this past Sunday on Tecumseh and wasn’t encumbered by any piercing leg pain. I’m not saying I was 100% strong, but I was making it through solidly….that is until I ran out of energy as this was my first time out without GU or sufficient pre-run fueling. That started to look really bleak and I’m glad I turned around when I did. I made it back to the car almost submitting to the “survival shuffle” and downed the large bottle of gatorade Michelle had so thoughtfully procured for me before I headed out. Good thing too or I might not have made it back to the park to pick her up.
And speaking of Tecumseh. I have two more weeks until the marathon. This race is going to be run on a prayer methinks. I’m not quite ready to put in any serious workouts and at this point it wouldn’t matter anyways. I’m not going to gain any fitness this close to the race, so all I can hope for is that my body remembers the effort of running that long. My only strategy right now is to run continuously, allowing my leg to heal up in the process and building enough muscle strength to take the pounding of the rooted and rocky trail.
As far as strategy goes come race day…well, I’m not so sure on that one. At one point I was theorizing about the race being won on the flats and uphills. If a runner has the strength to move up the hills quickly, quite a distance can be put between them and the next to come, and the same goes for the flats. If the pace is dictated by the severity of the uphills and the restriction of the downhills, then the race will be run on who can push it solidly through the flats. This may hold true, but right now I’m just hoping to run smart enough to not completely break down from the pounding. This past weekend I went out for 2 hours entirely on the Tecumseh route and hit some new terrain I had yet to run…and none of it was any easier than the previous. I discovered a number of nearly knee deep creek crossings (imagine how that’s going to feel with the temps in the 30’s), more grueling hill climbs with 180 degree switchbacks, ankle breaking rocks and roots, and all sorts of other torturous fun. I have so much respect for anyone who has already run this race. It’s really incredibly nuts.
That doesn’t mean I’m not still going to try to be the first to break 3 hours. Because that’s my main motivation for running this. The key, I think, is to hold back enough to be able to attack the last 7 or 8 miles. Oh, and not getting lost on the trail. I wonder how many previous runners could have broke 3 hours if they stayed on the trail. As it stands right now, the trail is covered in leaves, but seems to become more visible with each weekend that passes, which isn’t to say that the leaves will be gone come race day, because they won’t. All we can hope for is that they’ve been trampled enough to make a clear line of demarcation to follow, for right now it’s not all that easy. And running at the pace necessary to break 3 hours is going to prove even more challenging with a line of leaves that winds left, right and then disappears. I really wish I could show you just how difficult this terrain really is.
“Good luck” truly means something for a race like this. Let’s hope I have enough of it on race day.