This is it folks. Only two taper weeks remaining before the Pittsburgh Marathon. Other than a week I got the flu, and a week I had a lot of business related travel, I was very faithful to my planned schedule. I hope it was enough. Two things I know for sure: (1) it has been fun, but (2) I am so ready to take a little marathon-training break and switch to not having to do a super long run every weekend, at least for a little while.
I feel proud of my effort, but I don’t think it will be enough to qualify to Boston. I would have to run at a 7:00 pace, and I think 7:10 is a much more realistic expectation. We’ll see. I will wait until next week when my legs aren’t this sore to make a pace plan for race day.
Originally, it was supposed to be peak week. But, as usual, I had to make some adjustments along the way. With longer runs and bike rides, I haven’t had time to do as much strength work and swimming as before, which I guess it is ok at this point. Instead, I totalled close to 40 running miles, which is a lot for me. Also, I’m riding my bike everywhere now that the weather allows it.
I planned a half marathon for Tuesday and a 20+ miler for Sunday. In the end, I cut the half marathon short, and I dropped the + of my twenty miler stopping exactly when my Garmin read 20.00. As a result, I was half a mile short from doing my first ever 40 mile week. Still, I had some seriously good runs, and I am satisfied with my performance and proud of my effort.
Week 13 was as busy as it can be. But, at this point, cancelling my long run would have amounted to giving up a lot of my expectations and ruining a lot of my effort. So, I scheduled the run for the only time I could fit in in my schedule. I set up my alarm for 3:00, put on a reflective vest my wife got in Ikea, and I managed to finish my 19 miles before dawn. To be honest, I really enjoyed the last part of the run. As the sun was coming out and I was pushing the last two miles I felt like a breathing walking (running?) inspirational quote 🙂
1 year of progress
This is it, the longest run and the last really tough workout of the cycle. I’m happy I started early, because Spring suddenly arrived and the temperature was already in the high 70s by the end of my run. I felt strong for most of the run and I almost met my target time of 2 hours 30 minutes (I was short by less than 2 minutes).
The last two miles were extremely hard. So hard that I almost want to wonder whether I am ready to do 26 miles in two weeks. But I know I am, because this is not my first time around. Last year, two weeks before Pittsburgh, I did a 20 miler, almost like this one but with a couple of differences. Last year, my pace was 8:52 min/mile and not 7:32, and it was the last 4 miles that I struggled and not just the last 2. So, I know I’m ready ad excited to run Pittsburgh once again!!
A lot has happened since I last posted! Since I started physical therapy for my foot, I have been progressing quickly. My goal was to get to bike and run as quickly and sensibly as possible.
I was nervous about standing on the bike, since there is a segment of each revolution during which one foot is bearing all the weight. First, I tried an upright stationary bike with programmable workouts (not a spinning bike) during PT. That didn’t go so well… I could not get the resistance to go up high enough to support a real standing climb. So, I took it upon myself to try it on a spinning bike at a local YMCA. I did 8 minutes, then 10, then 15, and tried standing for bits in between. I started with regular training shoes, then my cycling shoes with SPD cleats. This progression built my confidence enough to try riding outside for the first time!
The ride was 7.3 miles at 12.3 miles an hour. It was the windiest ride I’ve ever been on, so I was uncomfortable, cold, and nervous. I broke off from the route Bruno had planned and cut it short a bit. Close to the end, my body had relaxed a bit and I remembered that I really love cycling. I’m excited to try again tomorrow! I’m not quite (mentally) ready to get on my road bike and clip in, and I have a feeling my foot will be ready faster than my head will be 🙂
On the running front, I told my physical therapist early this week I was ready to start running. I have been doing some stuff on the elliptical and some fast walking, and I felt it’s time. She had me try the treadmill and run at a comfortable pace, and I discovered it was actually less painful than walking! So, we’ve been upping the speed and distance since, and today I completed my first outdoor run of 1.83 miles!! I’m feeling very accomplished.
It is that stage of the training cycle with the really long, really hard runs. I am trying to allow enough rest for my legs to keep up, but this week I was too ambitious and had to cut my long run short. Still, I feel it was a productive week overall and I there is enough time left to get my legs ready for Pittsburgh.
Monday —Morning: 1.9k swimming workout. Afternoon: Les Mills Grit™ HIIT class
Exactly 1 day after my last post, I received very good news in my 12 week post-op appointment. The doctor and nurses were very pleased and impressed with my healing progress, and said I did not have to go back for THREE MONTHS!
Three months? Wait. What am I supposed to do until then? Can I walk barefoot? Can I drive? Can I ride? Can I run?
The first great news: Yes, I can drive again! Regarding physical activity, the doctor said I should not increase by more than 10% each week, and that I should not start training for a marathon. Not knowing quite what that meant, I asked for a physical therapy (PT) referral and started sessions last week.
In week 1 of PT, I have been given the following exercises:
Toe curls (trying to scrunch up a towel), 2×10 twice a day
Seated heel raises, 2×10 twice a day
Ankle rotation front and back, 2×10 twice a day
Ankle rotation side to side, 2×10 twice a day
The first couple of days of trying to move my toes caused some discomfort that I was not used to. My foot has not hurt since the second week after surgery and now the exercises make my toes hurt a bit. However, I can already feel how these exercises are helping me walk normally by letting my foot roll onto the toes, and the ankle rotation feels wonderful.
The other great thing about PT is that my I can begin trying out new exercises. I have been pretty consistent with my upper body weight training, but since last week I have incorporated squats (body weight), and brief elliptical and recumbent bike cardio sessions.
I’m incredibly pleased with my post-surgery state. I thought I would lose a lot more strength than I did. I think eating 40%+ protein has really helped maintain my muscle mass, despite the atrophy in my legs. I also started swim lessons and I love being able to work on my goal of becoming a triathlete even though my legs and feet are not ready yet.