Okay, so, this summer has been…we’ll say…interesting for me in the fitness department, to say the least. At least when it comes to running. Starting back in like March, shortly after I ran the Army Marathon, I found myself not wanting to hit the longer distances with my runs. In March, April, and May I had an extremely difficult time hitting my 100 miles per month goal. What was going on? I was having the urge in the back of my mind to take a break. But I still had races to run that I had registered for and paid my fees for. I didn’t want to DNF (did not finish), let alone DNS (did not start). Besides, sometimes when you ignore something long enough it actually DOES go away. Well, this urge was apparently not one of those things.
In June, I sort of started my break by cutting back to just 2 runs a week. Then, it dropped to just 1 run a week. After I ran the Orange Leaf Half in mid-July, the break was full on. I didn’t run at all for 3 weeks. But I took that time to start working other forms of exercise into my weekly routine. I started cycling 1-2 times a week, hitting the gym 2-3 times a week, doing a workout DVD once a week, walking, and doing kettlebell workouts. After 3 weeks of that, I started adding running back in. I mean, I did have a mid-November marathon to train for. 12 weeks to train wasn’t ideal, but it was better than not even trying. It definitely wouldn’t get me a PR, but I had abandoned all time goals other than just finish (and have FUN!) for the remainder of 2015.
So, after a 3 week break, I started running 3, 4, 6 miles a couple times a week. I had a bunch of virtual race medals hanging out on my desk waiting for me to earn them, so I focused on achieving that at first. Then I found out about a new trail that opened up in my area and I set my sights on running that! And it was a fantastic run. I never, ever worry about pace on a trail run, I just run it for the experience and the fun and the use of different stabilizing muscles. Trail runs are more therapeutic than regular runs, in my opinion.
A few days after running that trail, I was doing my Tuesday morning walking that goes before and after the therapy appointment I have those mornings. I was walking extra that day because I had signed up for a virtual 5k race for the National Park Service’s 99th birthday/anniversary and it was on that day, so I wanted to do it that day. The only problem was I didn’t wake up in time to RUN the 5k, so I decided to make sure I at least walked it. I ended up walking 4 miles total (but stopped at the 5k mark to take note of my time at that point so I could report that to the virtual race’s website) and when I was almost done with the 4 miles, I was walking on the sidewalk, down a hill and paying more attention to my surroundings and not so much about where my feet were going. MISTAKE! I ended up stepping of a curb that I didn’t realize was there and rolled my ankle. It hurt so bad that I actually thought it was broken because I also couldn’t put any weight on it right after it happened.
I immediately found a place to sit down. I felt around on my ankle to see if I could feel any bulges or protrusions (checking for broken bones or torn tendons/ligaments) and found nothing. After a few minutes of sitting there, it felt alright to walk on. I finished up the walk but was limping. I worked as normally as I could that day. The nurse gave me an ice pack and wrapped my ankle for me.
Anyway, I’ve gone into detail about this injury HERE if you’re interested and haven’t read about it yet.
As many of you may know, I’m registered for the South Padre Island Marathon and it happens on November 14th. If when I go for my follow up appointment with my doctor on September 10th and he takes me off of restricted duty at work and says I can start running (slowly and carefully and no trails, of course), that leaves me with just 2 months and 4 days to train. For a M-A-R-A-T-H-O-N. That is not even remotely ideal. That’s half of the shortest training cycle recommended. Just 8.5 weeks. I have had a lot of anxiety about this. How am I possibly going to train for a marathon in just 8 weeks???
After a lot of thought, I came up with a plan. This plan is contingent on me not having to wear the boot after the 10th. I will run and I will run slow. I will build my long run each week up to as long as I can before race day. If I start my long runs at 8 miles and then break the rule of 10% and add 2 miles to my long run each week, my long run the Saturday before the marathon will be 22 miles. Or I can start my long run at 6 miles and have a final long run of 20 miles. Either of these would work. I have fully accepted that there will be walking in this marathon. A lot of walking. Good thing they will have 20 selfie stations for me to focus on! I checked the time limit and it’s 7 hours. Even with a lot of walking, I can totally finish in under 7 hours. A 15:50 min/mi pace would have me finish at 6:55:00. So, my goal for the race is to keep it at 15:00 min/mi or less overall average. I’m going to run my training runs around 12:00 min/mi just to keep it easy and comfortable and as safe as possible for my ankle.
To continue the discussion on how this has been an interesting summer for me, I would like to talk about swimming! I have adopted the idea of completing a triathlon next year as my 2016 fitness goal! I’m looking at this stint in the boot as the perfect opportunity to start training for the swim portion of the triathlon. My doctor said I could swim, so that’s what I’ve started doing. I think it will help strengthen my ankle too, plus it’s 100% no impact and a full body workout and excellent cardio. Other than running, swimming is the best exercise you can do, really. I recently re-signed up with 24 Hour Fitness so I’ll be able to hit the pool after every gym workout!