I feel like I have hit an all-time low with regards to my running. I never have felt so physically out of shape and so emotionally discouraged about running until this injury. I ended up taking five weeks off with a few run attempts here and there because my physical therapist had cleared me to run and the runs were pain free. But looking at the big picture, it was five weeks with no "real" training. I spent some time swimming and some time on the elliptical, but not nearly enough to maintain what I had built up over the past year of consistent 50-60 mile weeks.
I have been running pain-free for a week now, and each run has made me feel winded, even at a 10:00 pace. I get minor aches in my legs that I think are just from not having run in so long. I am too afraid to check my heart rate, but I feel like I am exerting an 8:45 effort to run a 10:00 pace. Everyone is telling me that I will get it back quickly, but that's hard for me to imagine. Especially since I need to build up gradually and I won't even see a 50-mile week until mid-December. I signed up for five personal training sessions at my gym to work on my strength in the hopes of improving overall fitness-- not just running fitness.
Regarding my BQ hopes. . . Plan "A" was to run the Hartford Marathon in October of 2008 but I got really sick for five weeks and I wasn't able to run it. During those five weeks, however, I was able to do some running and once I recovered, I was able to resume 50-60 MPW without having to build back up.
Plan "B" was to run a 3:40 at the RnR Arizona Marathon in January. However, it was a high of 85 degrees that day and I wasn't acclimated to any kind of heat in the middle of the winter. I mainted my goal pace until the halfway point and then it was over for me and I had my worst marathon experience ever. Plan "C" was to get the BQ at the New Jersey Marathon in May of this year. However, a combination of hypothermia from the pouring rain and not having enough rest did me in. I think it was mainly the hypothermia, though.
Plan "D" was to qualify at the Toronto Waterfront marathon a few weeks ago, with a "backup" plan "E" of the Memphis marathon in December in case Toronto didn't go as planned. The foot injury came at the worst possible time and sidelined me from Toronto and made it impossible to train properly for Memphis. The best I can hope for is to have a decent half marathon in Memphis (not a PR) and to get the BQ in March at the Shamrock marathon in Virginia Beach. I have to wait 23 more weeks to even make another attempt.
My spirit is really drained from all of this. I've had so many strong training cycles and something always comes along to mess up my BQ. I felt like I have had the fitness level to qualify for Boston for the past year, and yet I haven't managed to run a marathon that wasn't sabataged by weather or illness or injury. My half marathon from March and my VO2 max test, and my training all indicate that I could have run a 3:35 or faster in Toronto.
I'm happy for all of my friends who have been setting PRs left and right this year, but at the same time, it just frustrates me even further because I have only had one good race in 2009, with many, many, outstanding training runs. Now that the fall racing season has kicked into high gear, I am seeing so many people run amazing races, and I am not even able to participate. I know that if I did, I would run some of my slowest times ever. I have to keep reminding myself that my day will come, but I am getting so discouraged that I am starting to think that training doesn't even matter. Maybe I am just not "meant" to qualify for Boston.