Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Walk in the Park

Back in the fall I had pretty much decided that I wasn’t going to train outdoors through the winter. I was going to complete the Goofy Challenge and then take some down time, maybe run a spring half marathon.

I bowed to peer pressure. My friends were trying a new training program. Everyone was excited to resume training. Some of them were running the Toronto GoodLife Marathon with its new spring date. I desperately wanted to rerun that course, getting a do-over was my sweet revenge.

I came back from Orlando invigorated and jumped right back in to training. Everything was going well; I took it easy at the beginning. Long runs in the cold were fun, but the winter just wouldn’t end. It stayed cold, really cold, then cold and damp. Long runs got longer, I got slower and discouraged. I skipped workouts, went to the gym, and did my own thing.

Around the Bay was a disappointment. The weather never got any better in April, and I felt worse in the cold. I’m not sure which hurt more, my body or my head. I was struggling on every long run, over and over I would tell myself, “Your done kid.” I had to shut down a 35km training run at 26km when my knee hurt too much to continue. Walking back to my vehicle, I had lots of time to think. The walk was familiar; it was the same place I had to walk when I injured myself in July 2009. Due to a problem with my left hamstring, I lost the summer of training, my first attempt at a 15km race and any hope of my first half marathon that fall. It was the same knee and the same type of pain. Déjà vu all over again.

Back in the fall, Bob had opined “I AM NOT A MARATHONER”. There are many times I feel the same way. This training cycle, I wasn’t as prepared to commit and while I can’t really say that I over extended myself, I certainly feel like I over did it.

I did the right thing shutting down the run when my knee hurt. Luckily, I escaped repeating that injury. I’m still struggling with an annoying problem with my piriformis irritating my sciatic nerve. It’s at it's worst when it’s cold and damp.

Going into May, I’ve made a couple of decisions.

First of all I will not be running the Toronto GoodLife Marathon. I have come to terms with how I’m feeling. I won’t attempt pushing myself beyond 30 kilometers, and I refuse to walk through another event if I can help it.

While I feel that a marathon is out of the question, I don’t feel the same about stepping down to the half marathon. In fact, while I suspect that a PR is out of reach, I’m confident that on a good day I might make a respectable showing.

And since you can’t have enough cotton t-shirts or expensive training runs, I registered for the Forest City Road Races Half Marathon this weekend. I’ve run the route a couple of times now in training, nothing too treacherous. So, off I go on a moderately expensive training run this Sunday. Given my rather uncooperative hips and hamstrings, I’m not sure what I’m actually capable of achieving. In my head, I’m thinking 1:50. Seeing as most of my training runs have been struggles to maintain a 5:30min/km a 5:12 pace seems sluggish enough. A year ago, I bumbled across the finish line with 4:59 pace in my first half so really, what’s the fuss all about?


My head is telling me, I can’t do this and my body is listening. Or is it the other way around? I don’t know anymore. Either way, I’m telling them both that May 16th is rest day. Time to give them both a well deserved break.

Maybe we’ll go for a walk in the park. Just for old time’s sake.


Katie said...

it sounds like you are making good decisions. i've also been dealing with the sciatic nerve irritation and it is no fun!

Jeff said...

No fun and it's seriously affectly my ability to enjoy bike porn.