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Flirting with Disaster…

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

I have been flirting with a couple random injuries.  The first occured on Sept. 13th during a planned 18 mile training run.  My training partner Nate and I took the subway up to Inwood Park in upper Manhattan and planned to run down the West Side Hwy and back over the Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn, Prospect Park.  The workout plan was 3 mile warmup, 4×5 min tempo, 1hr Run, 4×5 min tempo.

Well, since we were taking the subway up, I need my Metrocard (subway card) and I always take a little money in case something happens and I need a cab or some food.  So we meet at the subway station and I take off my shoe to retrieve my Metrocard, enter the station and replace my card and money back under my insole of my shoe.

At about mile 6 in the workout I felt a little pain on the top of my right foot, but thought nothing of it.  It resurfaced at about mile 12 and I thought it was just a normal running soreness, but by the time we stopped at mile 15 to cross the street it hurt a lot more.  I loosened up my shoelace and started across to the Brooklyn Bridge to start our second set of tempos, but the now sharper pain did not allow it.  I had to walk the bridge and skip the last 3 miles.

I went over the run in my head trying to figure out what caused this.  Maybe the trails at the beginning, maybe the rocky railroad tracks we had to run on for 3/4 of a mile when the trail ended, maybe overuse…and it finally dawned on me after some internet searching.  It must have been my shoelaces being too tight on my right foot.  How could this have happened?  I have never tied my shoelaces so tight a painful injury resulted, what did I do different?  Then I remembered.  I had my card and money in my right shoe.  I re-tied my shoe after getting on the subway and must have been a little more aggressive than my usual routine when lacing up.  So the result was a red lump on my “extensor flexor” the tendon on the top of my foot.

I started icing immediately, 15 minutes max, sometimes with an ice bag, sometimes with a ice water bucket.  I also purchased a slew of different anti-inflamatory creams.  I’d also heard of MSM and decided to get some in cream form to try.

I took the next 2 days off from running, continued icing 3x/day.  Ran 4 miles on the Wednesday following with some slight discomfort, but much less than I expected.  I found that if I unlaced my shoe 1 eyelet, there was no pressure on the tendon and I could run relatively pain free.  At this point, I’m so close to the marathon and even closer to the taper, I just want a few more quality workouts and long runs.

On Thursday I was able to run a solid workout of 1 hour run Easy, 6×5 min tempo, 15 min Easy.  Foot a little sore after but getting better.  Took Friday off and planned to run the Continental First Avenue Mile race on Saturday.  This may seem strange to do in the middle of marathon training but let me explain.  The following day (Sunday) run was planned to be 22 miles, so I wanted to re-test my carb load process, called the Western Australian carb loading, which is basically a 1 day carb load.  The key to it is a 3 minute hard effort before the 24 hours of carb loading.  So I was planning on using the mile as my hard effort.

I got a late start leaving my house and then the trains were messed up due to it being the weekend.  I didn’t have as much warmup time as I would have liked.  I jogged to the subway (3 minutes), then from the subway to the start (4 min), changed into my race shoes, did a few strides and stretched out.  Then it was time to line up for the 35-39 year old Males.  My ankle felt good warming up and I planned not to run at all if the ankle couldn’t handle the stride outs in warm up.  But it felt fine, I had the top eyelet unlaced again.

The gun went off and we were cranking down 1st Ave.  I went through 400m in 1:14, I wanted to hold that pace, after 400m there is a slight uphill and I settled in.  At about 750m I felt a slight twinge in my left groin and pulled up immediately and started to job back to the start to get my baggage.  On my way back I remembered we checked our bag on a bus and it would be at the finish.  Oh well!  I guess I will have to finish.  So I jogged ever so gingerly to the finish, clocking a 7:51 mile :), I did get a metallic water bottle for finishing.  I’m not sure it the groin was due to lack of warm up, running so fast, or fatigue from possibly favoring my right foot and putting more stress on my left side, maybe a combo of all of the above.  Whatever it was….DAMN IT!!  I do not need this to be happening right now, not with the marathon so close and being in such good shape.  I was having flashbacks to last year when after my 18 miler in Sept. my training essentially stopped due to an impending stress fracture.

I am determined not to let any setback deter my planning.  So, I continued with my carb loading process, drinking R4, Ensure, eating powerbars, bread, and intended to make an attempted at the planned 22miles the next day.

So, now I’m icing my groin and my foot, and I look like the walking wounded around my house.

Sunday, Sept 20th arrives and Nate and I are on our way to Central Park at 5:45 AM for the 7AM start time.  It is called the NYC marathon tune up, it is not actually a race but has the feel of a race with mile markers, water stops and about 3500 runners.  The course is 3 loops around the hilly Central Park. My goal was to treat the start very similar to the marathon and do only a very brief warm up since in the NYC marathon you have very little time to warm up, and any warm up you do get in is virtually wasted since you are standing in the corral and at the starting line for about 45 minutes.

Nate and I did about 5 minutes of warmup with some light stretching, my groin was sore even with light running so I told Nate, I may not complete the run if my leg get worse and I will text him if I drop out early, so as not to wait around for me.  Nate’s plan for the race was much different than mine, he wanted to run marathon pace which for him, is 6:50 pace.  I was just doing an easy pace long run at about 7:45 pace.

I really wanted to concentrate on going out slow.  The beginning of my marathon last year was way too fast.  I succeeded in going out in 7:48, then at around 2 miles I met up with another fellow Brooklyn Road Runner, Steve Remy, who was 30 days away from his Marine Corp marathon in DC.  His goal was 7:30 pace, so we worked down to the 7:30s and then by mile 8 I told him, I was easing back a bit and to go ahead.  My groin at this point is warmed up and while I feel it, it has gotten no worse, so I continue.

I went thru the half marathon in 1:38, feeling good, then the hills started to take their toll, and I kind of zoned out and stopped concentrating on my form and pace, and my pace crept up to the 7:50s.  Not good.  After some Shot Bloks I felt better and wanted to see how it felt to crank out some faster miles after 14 miles…the answer, pretty fantastic.  I averaged 7:20 for miles 15, 16, 17, and 18 and felt good doing it, tired, but good.  Good enough in fact to run 25 minutes after the 18 to get a total of 21 miles in.

By now it is raining steadily and the temp seems to be dropping to the low 60s.  I get changed and head home, very proud of my effort.

Took Monday the 21st off of running, did some lifting and cycling at the gym.  Tuesday 22nd is today and Nate and I ran 4 miles easy.  Groin is getting better, foot is at 90%.

There is a half marathon this Saturday in Central Park that I plan to run at Marathon Goal Pace of 6:50/mile, maybe a touch faster.

This run will be a key to my confidence.

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