Pre-Race Relaxing

The weather is gorgeous here in Fairfield, Connecticut and it’s supposed to be similar tomorrow morning — high 50s and ocean-breezy. Much nicer than when I ran this race last year and it was in the mid-80s by when I finished.

Last year, this half marathon was my first half marathon ever, and I had a fabulous race. I’d only been running about 5 months and used the Jeff Galloway run/walk method to cross the finish line in 2:06. My goal time had been 2:15, so I was understandably thrilled.

I’m so happy the weather will be good tomorrow because my hip is questionable. Any day I run on it, I have trouble walking on it later in the day. By morning, it’s usually better but still twingy. The first 3 miles of my training runs have been difficult, but usually it gets a little looser at that point. However, I know it’s affected my gait because my cadence has shot up from an 196 SPM (strides per minute for the non-runners, which is the number of times your feet hit the ground) to 211 my last run. My stride has shortened, probably to minimize the impact on the injured side, and my turnover has increased to compensate. Additionally, I can feel my ankles working differently and getting more tired than usual.

The race course has roughly four hills, two of which are short but steep. I’m more concerned about the down hill because that seemed to be what wrecked me during the Runner’s World race two weeks ago. I need to be very conscious of my stride going down to ensure I don’t do more harm to my body.

Both my trainer and chiropractor think the injury is in my adductor muscle. However, the problem probably stems from a combination of piriformis and psoas tightness. We’re still working on resolving the issue, but since I’ve been a dumbass and racing so much, we’ve held off on strength exercises so I won’t be too tired to race. Which is why it’s good that I’m taking a break from racing after the 4-miler on July 4 (which I’ll punt if I need to). I think my body is trying to tell me it needs a bit of a rest. Damn being in my 40s.

I even turned down an opportunity to run on a Ragnar Adirondack team because it falls too closely to my fall marathon. I just think running around at night isn’t a great way to get to the Baystate start healthy. I’m sad about this because Ragnar is on my race bucket list. Another year.

I’m so happy that I’m staying at my mother-in-law’s this weekend. It’s ally’s great to hang out at her homes. I totally lucked out in the in-law department.

Besides, what could be more lovely than the view here to get me in the zone? Her house is about a mile from the race start/finish, so I’ll just walk there in the morning. It’s a really great course that goes by the beach and through some swank neighborhoods. The fire department even puts out sprinklers, which last year I took full advantage. A lot of the spectators put out their own hoses as well.

So, I’m not sure what’s going to happen tomorrow, but I’m going to try to enjoy the day and my sixth half marathon.

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The Timing of Fall Qualifying Races & the Boston Marathon

/author/dancingmyself/20140613_114541_42341908.jpgI surely have a screw loose in my head because I am considering running the Boston Marathon with a charity in 2015.

While I fully plan to make my second BQ attempt at the Baystate Marathon in October, there is a pretty good chance that the 2015 Boston Marathon will already be full before I even run my race. Which would mean putting off my entry until 2016.

Now that I’ve got two marathons under my belt and have run up Heartbreak Hill twice, I have to admit I’m feeling kind of old for this shit. I love training and actually enjoyed my high mileage weeks, but I don’t honestly know how kind it would be to put myself through multitudes of marathons as I approach the second half of my 40s.

Surprisingly, I’ve felt harder hit by the effects of three races in a weekend than I did by either marathon, although I won’t discount cumulative fatigue. Since March 2, I’ve run two marathons, two half marathons, two 10ks and two 5ks. I PR’d in 5 of those, even if they were rather ugly PRs.

/author/dancingmyself/20140613_120227_43347441.jpgOn my schedule, I have two half marathons and one 4-miler coming up between June 23 & July 13. I think I’m going to hold off on more races until my marathon after that. I want to give myself the best shot at running a 3:55 or better marathon in October.

My personal trainer Mike has plans to get me stronger and faster than ever, and I think it’ll be easier to get effective crosstraining if I’m not constantly racing and having to revise workouts to accommodate that. For instance, this week instead of doing agility training, we did dynamic stretching because my hip is kind of wrecked from the elevation changes in the Newton hills. My chiropractor said I jammed my thigh bone up into my hip in the descents. Not cool. I’m guessing weaker glutes are to blame, and to work on those optimally, I need to not be banging them up more as I strengthen them.

Back to the title of this post: once upon a time, the Baystate Marathon was at a prime time to qualify for the following spring Boston Marathon. But then the BAA moved the registration window to September.

I found this on the front page of the Baystate Marathon’s website:

Can I run the 2015 Boston Marathon if I qualify at the 2014 Baystate?

There is no easy answer to that question. Before 2010 the answer was always yes. In 2010 you may recall the BAA had serious problems with their registration system. In reaction (in our opinion over-reaction) they shifted the opening of registration to September. So now it depends on how quickly they sell out. This past year was well over subscribed and sold out before Baystate. In 2012 it closed two days before Baystate.

We have lobbied (and so have many inside the BAA) for registration to be pushed back until after the fall marathons. So far we have not been successful. But we continue to hope the BAA will make the adjustment, not just for Baystate, but for Philly, Chicago, Marine Corp, New York and all the other great fall marathons. You can help to [sic] asking the BAA to move the opening of registration until after Thanksgiving.

Now, wouldn’t it be nice for all of us running Philly, Chicago, New York and MCM if this timeframe could be changed?

I plan to look into who to contact at BAA to put in my two cents.

Meanwhile, I’ve started looking into charities to run for. I think the easiest option for me would be to run for MS because both my father-in-law and sister-in-law had/have the disease and our family already donates to the cause, so why not donate it through me raising awareness. The other possible charity is the New England Aquarium, which is near and dear to my childlike heart. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a marine biologist until I realized I didn’t really like biology class. But I still love sea creatures, especially turtles, sharks and seals. Hmm, maybe that’s why I put up with my swimming husband smelling like whatever he just swam in. Which is not always a good thing (Lee River in Cork, Ireland, I am talking to you. Ew.).

A part of me feels a little like I am giving up on an actual qualifying time, which given how my training went, should not be an issue if I can manage to not have GI problems. However, as anyone who’s run a distance race knows, it is a big IF as things happen and races don’t usually go perfectly despite a zillion contingency plans. This post is just what’s going through my head right now as I nurse my hip back to health and I try to not use running as a torture device on my body and mind.

Therefore, someone please remind me that I am trying to be sane about my racing because I keep eyeing a 10k for tomorrow morning in my usual running route. Bad idea. Even as I write this post, I am sitting on a heating pad and trying to buck myself up for a 60 minute run knowing that my last three runs have been uncomfortable and slow. But, sure, a race in the morning sounds like a swell idea.

Try, Try Again

20140321-203402.jpgMy support team has been tattling on me.

My husband and my chiropractor are apparently upset on my behalf about my calf strain injury brought on by an excessive personal training session last month, and they’ve been talking to other people about it. I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, it’s great to have people looking out for me. On the other, it’s not my intention to get my ex-trainer in trouble even if she was negligent in her training of me.

But one upside is that I think I may have a new personal trainer. This one is also at the Y, but at a different branch (good so that I don’t have to run into the old trainer while with a new one – awkward, although my husband says it’d be “her own damn fault”). I talked with him on the phone today, and I liked what he had to say. In retrospect, I realized that the ex-trainer didn’t do an assessment with me when I first started with her, but this trainer and my first (still much missed) trainer do this with their new clients. I probably should’ve been concerned over that too.

The new guy knows a bit about my situation from my chiropractor, and he made a point of telling me that the workouts during marathon training would be set up to support the training, not to escalate new muscle work. From what my chiro told me, this guy was also shocked that the ex-trainer had me doing aggressive workouts just days before a marathon.

Fingers crossed. I see him Wednesday morning.

In running news, I had a terrific tempo run this week. I ran 12 miles total, with 5 tempo miles at an average 7:44 pace. By far my fastest tempo run. I was actually surprised it felt so good.

I’ve got a 5k in three weeks, a half marathon (the Nike Women’s Half in DC) in 5 weeks and then the Providence full marathon in six weeks. I’m excited but also scared silly. The roads are still sucky here, and I’ve not logged nearly as many road miles as I’d like. I hope this changes soon. It’s funny, though, in many ways I feel no more or less scared than I did this time last year as I approached my very first race.