Just a Little Test Jaunt

I woke this morning before my sleeping spouse or any of my five children had stirred. It’s Saturday and that’s my favorite running day of the week. Usually, I’m up before the sunshine and headed out to meet up with a group of my running gang in the Boise foothills. Not today, though. Since my 50 mile race, where the IT band misbehaved for the last 17 hours, I’ve only ran once — a 10 mile run with my friend Ryan while our families were camping together in the mountains. I had ended up having to walk the last few miles of that one, since the IT band was still cranky with me.  Then, I had the unfortunate incident with my desk chair breaking and the dramatic fall to the wooden floor on my lower back that sent me to the ER in severe pain. I’ve struggled with lower back pain and sciatica since that fall and had to take muscle relaxers and pain medication for the last two weeks.  It’s been a crazy month! In addition, my sprained ankle from early July still has not fully healed and my plantar faciitis in my right arch has been giving me trouble too. It seems I’ve been falling apart lately!

So, the calendar, where I like to give myself a colorful rubber stamp mark on the date each time I do a run (it’s that elementary teacher in my blood showing through again), shows that I’ve only ran or walked 5 x this entire month.  Last month there were only 3 days I did not run/bike or workout. I ran over 135 miles (low for me this time of year since I was trying to baby the sprained ankle), and biked 117 miles in July.   This month, it’s nearly the exact opposite due first to tapering for Wild Idaho 50 miler and then to my injuries.  I’m definitely eager to get back on the horse again and get back to my regular training and volume.

Every year, the fall racing season is my peak one. The fall marathon is always my crowning jewel — the thing I spend the entire rest of the year gearing up for.   This may be the first City of Trees Marathon since 2009 that I don’t even participate in. I’d hoped to break 4 hours this time. I ran it in 4:20 last year, holding the sub 4 pace for nearly 20 miles before fading. That time was still better than the year before where I’d ran the same course in 4:57, so I’ve felt pretty confident that as I grew in experience as a runner and trained harder, I would continue to improve my marathon times. I really think sub 4 is in within my grasp – or was — before the injuries.   Now, that I’ve lost some key weeks in my training, I’m really not confident at all.  I’ve got 6 weeks to the race. I’m still not fully recovered. It’s not looking good.

Today, I pulled on my bright pink running shorts and black tank, laced up the Asics and headed out for my first solo run since my 50 mile race 3 weeks ago. I was nervous. The doctor clearly gave me instructions NOT to run for 2 weeks after my chair accident (13 days ago) and only if I could do so without pain.  I was nervous about how my body would react. I tried a 4 mile walk a few days ago and my lower back just throbbed the next day from the effort.

Thankfully, today went a bit better.  I started out walking the first 1/3 mile to warm up the IT band and muscles since they’re out of practice. Then, very gently, I started jogging, noting that my right butt cheek did have a bit of pain (where the sciatica has been happening) but just a little discomfort, nothing too bad. I kept the pace really slow – like 13 min pace going over each achy body part and checking in with it and seeing how it was doing. My sprained ankle actually was pretty sore at the start, but once it warmed up I didn’t notice it at all. The IT band spoke up almost immediately, but kept it down to a dull roar.  It did not affect my gait or cause me to limp – just ached some. My lower back surprisingly felt fine! Yay! As long as I don’t have any inflammation by tomorrow morning, I think I’ll gradually start adding back my workouts and seeing how my body responds. I’m so eager to get back into the swing of things, but don’t want to rush my body before it’s ready. I’ll need to be patient as my friend, Ryan reminded me to be this week.  I’m not very good at that, so I’ll have to do my best.

Today’s stats: 2.37 miles. 12:25 pace. 29:28 total time. Felt: Ok

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