It's been a bit since I'v posted, the CIM to be exact. Today was another rain run, but that just makes me a stronger runner. Just happy to be able to do this. My miles have been getting very consistent between my short and long runs, and happy about that. Plus I'm signed up for Ann Arbor on 3/22 and Mt. Hood on 6/27, my goal is to get Pittsburgh in there on 5/03.
I ended 2019 with the most miles I've ever turned in and a PR, so I'm going to carry that forward. And in January I'm feeling good and staying healthy, so using that momentum too. Looking for a productive 2020, and to see where running takes me.
It's been a week since I completed the CIM in Sacramento... and it was amazing. I signed up for this purely because I was late in attempting to register for Eria PA, but sometimes fate (if there is a thing) has other plans. As I write this I have the flu, so I'll try and keep my thoughts coherent as much as possible. Where to start?
I started at a much slower pace and at somehow I started way in the back of the field, so catching my desired pace group was a challenge. I wanted to run with the 3:45:00 group and try and make my way to the 3:40:00 group if possible. At mile 6 I reached the first group and felt the effort put forth to find them was decent, so the game plan was 'stick with them'... and I pulled away. I think it was at mile 10 I caught the 3:40:00 group and kept the same mindset, and then I again slowly pulled away. With this in mind I fully expected one of these groups to pass me during the dreaded 'wall' around mile 22. But this did not happen.
The strategy that I should have employed during the monumental a month earlier was being used to great effect on this day. My pace was nice, the temps were amazing even with the slight rain showers that would pass through, and that crowd so caring and supportive. Another two key elements were my hydration and gel pack schedule, both of which have been tuned in at last. By mile 20 I went into conservative running mode and backed off expecting things to slowly fall apart. But they didn't.
As much as my legs were beginning to feel it, I still had the strength to power forward, the only real issue was the arch and heel of left foot. Other than that I was moving with confidence. My slowest mile was at 24, and was a 9:17, my only nine minute mile. In the end I ran a PR in a big way, by about 10 minutes. I still have a lot of work to do before I get my BQ, but this run did wonders for my confidence. The sunglasses hid my tears of joy as I claimed my medal, and now more than ever I'm looking forward to the work ahead of me in 2020.
On Saturday I has the pleasure of participating in the CNO Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis, and finished my 13th 26.2 to boot in about 3 years. I've had to take a few days to wrap my head around the results. I did not PR as I had intended, but I did run my fasted marathon of the year so far. I took 26:10 off of the Mt Hood marathon in June and am moving the needle in the right direction again.
And it was a cold one as well, at start the temps were 26 degrees and the wind made it feel like 18. Last year it was 32 with zero wind and I comfortably wore shorts, not this time. But the lack of performance really falls on me. I entered this run without a single leg issue, I was well rested, and fully hydrated. In the past I've read horror stories of runners altering their diet routine in the 24 hours before a marathon and paying the price. I did just that thinking it would help, and it had the opposite effect. Lesson learned and I won't be doing that again, I'll stick to my previous plans.
That being said I do have one more marathon before the end of the year, the California International Marathon on December 8th. I can't imagine the temps being the challenge that they were in Indy, and looking forward to being in shorts again. Also looking forward to running for the first time in California, and gettin a new PR as well.
I'm one week into the 'tapering' before a marathon and I look both ways as I type this... I feel pretty good. Yesterday was a rainy 12.25 miles and a nice challenge. It had been quite a while since I've had a long run in those conditions, having water logged shoes can be a treat. But there is something to be said about being out in the elements, even in the rain and yes, snow.
My goal this weekend was to simply slow down, this idea worked well on Saturday, but less so in the sunny conditions of Sunday. Somehow mile 6 on my run today came in at 7:09, and I even took a ten second walk as I started that last mile. Yet my legs just feel spot on right now. I'll need this as my next marathon is in 13 days and I have to close out 2019 with two strong runs. This must happen.
As I close out a very busy September I'm reflecting on the stresses and the missed running, and also shocked at the miles I was able to work in. The negatives were the simply awful bipolar bout I fought for several weeks this month. I get a bad episode about once a year and I was due. But instead of lasting for months (on average 3-4), this lasted about two weeks and started to let up. I attribute running to this, it just works for me. Work also required longer shifts and some weekend shifts, so getting in the long runs was a challenge. Plus the band I play in was very busy with gigs and rehearsals this month... which that is a positive.
The positives are I was able to keep my performance on the continued upswing since August. The bipolar struggle from the beginning of the month is left in the dust. Last week I got in a really cool 4 mile trail run with two others. I picked up a new pair of shoes (see below). And...
I'm going into October healthy and focused on the Monumental Marathon on November 9th in Indianapolis. After that off to California for a run on December 9th. So basically September was rough, but I've survived worse and I will always prevail.
It's been quite a while since I've posted, so here's the skinny. During the entire month of August my entire focus was mileage and a 'comeback' To repair my knee and my spirit. I'm happy to report that both are doing fine and I ended the month of August with 108.51 miles. Not too shabby for a dreadful July and a stress fracture. Today I handed in 14.62 miles on a beautify September morning and just grateful for the ability to run once more.
Too (and this week) I've been fighting some bipolar issues, the worst I've experienced in quite a bit, but running has really helped... at least more so today. I know this is no miracle drug, but it's not a drug. This works for me and makes this all manageable. Also I know that these issues and flare ups will only last a short time compared to the months they used to hang around. And all I can do and want to do it run, it works and is a blessing. The next two marathons are on the radar and I'm looking forward to handing in some strong end of year performances.
Today was only 4 miles… but today was important. As you may know or remember I unknowingly went into went into the Mt. Hood marathon on June 29th with a stress fracture that only became a huge problem at mile 16 during a hard strike. I was told to not run until the first week of August, so I went against the doctor’s orders and ran only 15 miles in July. Yesterday was just 3 and today 4, but the first back to back runs since June. What I feared has come true, that my conditioning is pretty much lost at this point, but the very very very positive thing is my fibula is on the mend and not showing any pain an hour after the run. Basically I'm back.
It feels like I'm back to square one. I've been spending the month not running and I feel the void in my life big time. It turns out the stress fracture was a lot worse than I thought, and the only cure is to just stop running. Of course loosing conditioning is a major concern, as well as the much much bigger issue... my bipolar. Without running I've really felt it creeping back into my life, like an adversary that gets the upper hand in this competition. I know I've been a bit short, and also I've been taking things way too personal in my life. On top of that I've been even more withdrawn from society.
Tonight I successfully completed a slow, but very much needed 3 miles. I did a small ramp up to this the night before last with a simple and easy 1 mile run. Got back from that and experienced zero pain, so I rested a night and decided to go for it. And I'm glad I did. The big gamble would be if I started to hurt within an hour of completion, or even during. It's been 3 hours and so far so good. The only noticeable issue is the cardiovascular loss, I can tell I've slipped. On the plus side my legs felt great and I'll take that.
From here on out I plan on more slow and short runs, not putting too much pressure on myself to pull off a 16/4 mile weekend spilt or 35-40 mile weeks. I know I'll get my mojo back, the important thing is to continue to take it easy with the runs. And another plus is I've signed up for 2 more marathons before the end off the year. 11/09 in Indianapolis for the Monumental Marathon, and then 12/08 in California for the California International Marathon. I'll be smart with my training and keep pushing towards the horizon because I'm still on a mission.
I've been away prepping and getting focused. On June 29th I ran the Mt. Hood marathon, and suffered a setback. Let me first say the organizers for the Mt. Hood marathon did a great job, and the scenery was amazing. My only complaint would be with some of the motorist rocketing by, the course occupied a popular highway and I understand the traffic challenges. I do not understand people and their lack of consideration for those running down the mountain, but I digress.
I went into this run with a knee issue that I refused to call an 'injury'. In doing so I felt gave me a psychological advantage over the pain and the situation. As in Monty Python, 'Just a flesh wound' sort of thing. I had my strategy in place once the gun went off and I stuck to it. I managed my strides and my pace, kept tabs on how I was landing to avoid 'hard strikes', and watched my breathing. I found my 'zone' as I adjusted my stride on the lesser inclines and in general felt great. My half-marathon pace was a 1:33:53, or a 7:10/mile pace, way beyond the 7:30 pace I wanted. I was holding this pace until mile 16, then all plans collapsed. And hey, this a full and not a half anyway.
As the shoulder of the road narrowed runners were forced into lines, and my left foot found a divot in a rumble strip. I produced a 'very hard' strike with a slight twist, and that was all she wrote. I immediately felt the pain in my knee escalate, but in my mind I simply said to push on. It was then I started my limp run style and saw my pace time go out the window. at mile 19 I watched the pace group that I needed to stay in front of to BQ pass me by, and that broke my heart. No matter how hard I tried I could not hang with that group. An aid station worker noticed my struggle and asked if I needed a ride back to the finish line, I respectfully thanked him and said 'I can get myself back.' And that's what I did, I refused to stop no matter what. And I did, be it a really awful time.
It's been a over a week since that run and I've been mentally dealing with the setback, trying to plan my next move, and desperately wanting to run again. In 2019 I've turned in some amazing miles and times, but on marathon day I simply fall apart. Will I stop and give up? That is a resounding 'Hell no'. I'm seeing my chances for a 2020 Boston fade fast, and again that's more heartbreak to deal with. I've heard this can be a long process, no one ever said it would be easy, and if they did I would know it was a lie. The third anniversary of my first marathon is in November, and one lesson running has me is to simply keep going. And that's what I will do.
Today I only ran 16.5 miles. It was one of those runs where it dawned on my of how much work I've been doing, and it left me wondering 'am I doing enough?' Lately I've been purposely overtraining on 95% of all my runs, always tacking on extra miles and that sort of thing. Which is great, except when you really start to 'feel' it in a bad way. Last year on this day I was at the starting line for the Utah Valley marathon just doing a test run. I wanted to get an idea of the incline for the run on the following morning. With the injuries I had dealt with in 2018 I really hadn't done the miles needed to run a BQ. But I tried anyway, even a bit cocky about it. As you probably know the course kicked my ass all the way through the valley. It was humbling, I had not done my fair share of work.
Three weeks from now I'll have finished the Mt. Hood marathon in Oregon. One thing I can say is I've put in the miles for this one, but instead of being confident, I'm actually scared. Maybe I'm frightened of high expectation clashing with the restrictions of my own abilities. Maybe I'm just putting too much pressure on me. Or maybe my body is just plain exhausted at this point. Right now I'm 103.78 miles ahead of where I was on this day last year, and I have to account that I started the year with a 36 mile deficit by the end January. I only turned in 62 miles compared to 98 in 2018, my flu was awful.
I know I'll still go out and do my scheduled 7 miles tomorrow and honestly be grateful for it. And I'll take a rest day on Monday and go to band practice, and be grateful for that as well. My goal is to keep on running and start to taper down for the next three weeks, as well as mentally prepare for what I must do in Oregon.
Ryan (That's me)
Runner, writer, and a survivor. It's all about living the life you want and helping each other along the way.