So I sort of punked out on Week 12. And I made a rookie mistake. I tried to overdo it in Week 13 to make up for it. Which has lead me to a hip flexor strain injury. Which has me limping around my office like Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant Igor. Full disclosure, I hold a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and have never read Frankenstein, not even seen any movie based on it, so I don’t even know for sure if the doctor has an assistant named Igor who drags one leg around. But in any case, that’s where I’m at. I did some WebMD type sleuthing and for now am choosing to believe, based on my symptoms and the matching related causes, that it’s simply a strain from overdoing it on the mileage this past week and have come up with a plan adjustment for the final 5 weeks before my first marathon. We’ll get to that in a second. This was the plan:
Monday: Body Pump (planned) / 8 miles outside (actual)
Tuesday: 4 miles (planned) / Body Pump and 3 miles speedwork on treadmill (actual)
Wednesday: 9 miles (planned) / 9 miles outside (actual)
Thursday: 5 miles (planned) / Rest (actual – starting to feel the strain)
Friday: Rest (planned) / Rest (feeling better, wanted to make sure I was in prime shape for Saturday)
Saturday: 18 miles (planned) / 18 miles on W&OD trail
Sunday: Cross-training (planned) / Rest (actual – definitely injured)
So it was a 38 mile week including successfully completing my 18 mile long run in a decent (for me) long run pace. But at the cost of an injury.
I felt twingey in the hip before starting the run but thought it could be shaken out with a few miles. I got to the trail early, at 7:30am on Saturday, and it was still chilly out and the sun hadn’t even fully risen. So even with the twingey-ness, the first 5 miles of the run felt awesome. The first 6 or 7, really. It was about mile 8 I realized the twingey-ness was just getting worse. But I had chosen an out and back route, so the best I could do was cut the 18 miles short just by 2 miles because I had to get back to my car, 8 miles behind me, and I figured just for my mental confidence, do the extra 2, it’s not like 2 fewer miles was going to save whatever was happening.
Good strategy, Brooks. The sad thing is, I felt really strong and mentally in a great place for most of the run until my lower body just started giving out. Even my feet weren’t hurting. Just my hip and that translated into my lower back. My splits tell a pretty vivid story – started out around a 10:45 pace for most of the first 10 miles, and then by about mile 15, I was struggling to keep it around 12. I started out walking just 1 minute after every full mile, and by the end was walking for 3 minutes and shuffling (not really running) for 7.
BUT! I am staying optimistic. If this hip flexor can strengthen itself up (meaning if I strengthen it up) and I take good care of myself for the next 5 weeks, I’m feeling pretty confident after an 18 miler that I’ll feel good on race day. The mental focus was there. The lung capacity and endurance was there. Even the feet and calves and quads were there. It’s just this hip flexor.
So the plan is.
Inspired by Deena Kastor while watching Spirit of the Marathon (PS big ups to Ms. Kastor for breaking the Master’s record on the half marathon this weekend!), in addition to taking the week off running and icing my hip per what I’ve researched, I’m headed to my local county aquatic center to see what this deep water jogging thing is all about. In the aforementioned documentary, Deena Kastor fractures her foot while training for the 2005 Chicago Marathon, stays busy with the stationary bike and water jogging, and (spoiler alert) goes onto win the damn marathon. I’m going to do the water jogging thing, go to Body Pump and squat only my body weight, no bar, to build up my hip strength again, continue doing knee lifts as far as it’s comfortable, and see where I am at the end of the week.
I was supposed to run a half marathon this weekend as a check-in point to see where my long distance race pace is. I am hoping that I will be feeling 100% by Saturday, but instead of overdoing it with a half, maybe doing a 10K instead. So yes, Nashville is out. I won’t be doing the Women’s Running Series Nashville Half, but hopefully finding a decent 10K nearer by to at least enjoy fall race season before big marathon day, but not push it too hard.
I am a little concerned about how to go about rebuilding mileage after this week, though. Part of what caused my hip strain was doing too much this week after almost a week off. Do I ease in with some short runs, then a longer run? Do I go by my taper mileage just until marathon day? What’s the longest run I should do post-rest and ice week, pre-race, with just 4 weekends left til race weekend?
Any advice you have is MUCH appreciated!