The Good and the Bad

Hey there. It’s been a while…

The very condensed version of the last few weeks:

Busy season at work wrapped up last week. More time to run, relax, and catch up on a lot of things that were pushed aside over the last few months.

I got some new shoes (the Brooks Racer ST 5).

I finally felt like I was starting to get the hang of long runs…then I got hurt.

The longer version:

Work had been pretty hectic since late January, but much more so from the middle of March until the middle of April. The busy season ended last week, giving me much more flexibility in my running schedule. Now I can run on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings, and I won’t have to start all of my weekday runs before 5:30 a.m. I might try to shift some of my long runs from Sunday to Saturday, too.

I’ve been undecided about what shoes to wear in the marathon. I love running in the Brooks Green Silence, especially for races, but I’m not sure it’s enough shoe for me for a marathon or if it will offer enough counteraction for what I’ve heard is a fairly crowned Bayshore course. I don’t want my ankles turning constantly or my feet feeling like they’re always on a slope, yet I want something a bit lighter and less substantial than trainers. So I got a pair of the Brooks Racer ST 5, which are pretty light, but also have a decent amount of cushioning as well as some posting. I don’t think I really need the stability, but it isn’t too much and I don’t think it can hurt when running on a crowned course. I’ve only worn them for a few runs (more on that in the next paragraph), but I like them so far though I’m afraid I may have gone a half size too large with them. The sizing was a tough call because my normal size felt OK, but didn’t offer very much additional room in the front of the shoes for things like feet swelling over the course of running 26.2 miles.

My newest shoes – the Brooks Racer ST 5.

I struggled through a couple of long runs in March then had a couple of good ones in late March/early April, including a 16-miler with embedded 3 x 3-mile intervals. I finally felt like I was getting the hang of long runs and was ready to start focusing on improving my speed during them rather than just trying to finish regardless of pace. But then I felt some tightness in my hamstring following a Friday tempo run. It didn’t seem like a big deal, and I didn’t think much of the tightness even after it continued the next day. I feel some tightness in my legs and have sore muscles fairly often, and it usually goes away after a couple of days. So I did my normal Sunday long run that weekend, and finished it with no problems other than a chronically sore foot and a tight calf (at least one of my calves seems to get sore by the end of all of my long runs). But I could barely walk within a few hours after I finished the run. I still didn’t think much of it, as it was a fairly hilly route and I tried to push myself over the last few miles. But when my leg still felt trashed by the end of the day, I started to wonder if something was up with that leg. Yep. I couldn’t walk without limping the next day, and that’s when I started to really get concerned. I felt pain as soon as I started my next run (a couple days later), and the pain didn’t go away during the run, but it also didn’t get much worse. I took a few days off, and my next run was pretty good though I still had some pain.

I finally went to a physical therapist – Clint at Clint Verran Sports Medicine – after I hobbled through a 6-miler that was supposed to be a 16-miler with speed work thrown in. Clint is a great runner (as in 2:14 marathon great!), and needless to say he has an awesome understanding of running physiology. He suspects a hip flexor problem, and I’m currently in a stretch of running for time (rather than distance) at easy paces on flat routes. He also gave me some stretches to do before I run so my hip flexor is loosened up a bit before I hit the roads or trails. I’m supposed to keep from lifting my knees too high, as that can aggravate my hip flexor, so I’ve been using a short, shuffling type of stride. So far, so good. While I’ve had some pain on each of my runs since I saw the physical therapist, the pain hasn’t been been nearly as bad as it was a couple weeks ago. My 70-minute run today went very well – probably my best run since Easter – even though I changed it up and ran a fairly hilly route a little faster than the “no faster than” pace I’ve been assigned. My fingers are crossed that my hip flexor continues to feel better so I can run the Borgess Half Marathon next weekend and try to get my Bayshore training somewhat back on track.

Today was a great day to be out on the Paint Creek Trail.

I hope your running and other workouts have been going well!

Questions:
Have you raced recently? If so, how did the race(s) go?

Do you have any races coming up? If so, how is your training going?

Have you ever raced a longer race (half marathon or longer) after having your training limited? If so, how much did it affect your race results?

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8 Responses to The Good and the Bad

  1. Ali Mc says:

    I am so beyond excited about your first marathon and your awesome shoes. I have no help for you. I can’t even push myself to run a mile. I suck

    • Matt says:

      Thanks, Ali. By the way, you do NOT suck!! It isn’t easy coming back from injuries, and if I hadn’t already signed up for the marathon (had to register in early December before it sold out) I would probably have just taken a few weeks off from running. I know you want to get back to racing very soon, but make sure you don’t push it too much while you’re recovering!

  2. E-Run says:

    Good Luck. Listen to your coach!!! I race marathons in the ST’s also. I’ve been dreaming for a few years for a non-posted ST.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks, and I will definitely listen to my coach! She has been great, and has helped me a LOT. I know she’ll have me as ready as I can be for Bayshore, even if my original goal has to be adjusted.

      I was a little hesitant about getting the ST because I don’t need the posting, but they seem like very good shoes and I’m looking forward to wearing them a lot more once my hip flexor is healed. I’ve been running in the Launch while I heal because the Launch is more cushioned. A non-posted version of the ST would be great!

  3. Becki says:

    Molly ran NYCM in the ST and she is the biggest underpronator I know. The posting is really minimal…I wouldn’t be surprised if most neutral everyday trainers have more inherent stability to them than the ST does.

    I think it’s rare, if not completely unheard of, for a training cycle to go exactly as planned without interruption. What separates good athletes from the rest is knowing how to handle the setbacks.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for the ST info, Becki. It helps to know that the posting is minimal and doesn’t give the shoe a bunch of extra stability that I don’t really want or need. And I certainly can’t argue with Molly’s NYCM results in them.

      As far as the setbacks go, it’s one of those things where I’m much too slow to really have anything on the line. The setbacks only affect my personal goals, and they don’t prevent me from getting a certain place in the race or keep me from qualifying for anything. I think I’m learning how to deal with the setbacks, but I can only imagine how difficult it must be for the better runners who have placements, qualifications, and/or money on the line. I’m just trying to make the best of my limited training now, and I’ve accepted that my original time goals are out the window. Even without the time goals, I’ll figure out a way to determine if the race was a success or not. :)

      • Becki says:

        It doesn’t sound like you missed out on that much training. I had a freak bout of plantar fasciitis before a half-marathon in ’09…missed the last week of training, did a couple miles the day before the race to test it, then ran a PR and won the race the following day. Be realistic about your goals and adjust them as necessary, but don’t just throw in the towel on your original goals if you missed a week of training or so. You don’t lose anything in a week, and it’s possible the rest might actually help, especially if you needed it. Joan Samuelson had arthroscopic knee surgery 17 days before the ’84 Olympic Trials…and as you may know, she won both the Trials and Olympics that year.

        • Matt says:

          Thanks for the advice, Becki (as always). It’s awesome that you were able to overcome the plantar fasciitis to win the half and set a PR. Wow – I didn’t realize Joan Samuelson had her knee scoped that close to the 1984 Trials!

          My biggest concern about the missed training isn’t the actual time I missed (I think I really did need the rest). It’s that I missed a key long run and a couple of workouts, and have been limited to timed runs at an easy/comfortable pace ever since I resumed running (no workouts or tempo runs). The half I ran last weekend was by far the longest I’ve run since Easter. I felt good, but the pace was pretty slow. I have a two-hour run on Saturday and about an hour run on Sunday, and I hope to have a better idea of my goals and expectations after those runs.

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