Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wake me up when September ends

Last September I wasn't able to run because I was sick with some sort of virus for weeks on end. After sweating it out in the heat all summer, I always look forward to fall running and the dramatic drop in my times due to cooler weather. However, last September and this September I wasn't able to enjoy it.

My foot injury has turned out to be pretty serious. I had to take three solid weeks off of running and then ease back into it with extremely slow jogging sessions with walk breaks interspersed. There's no evidence that it's a stress fracture because they usually don't show up on x-rays. But my doctor and my physical therapist agree that I have (had?) a stress fracture of the 5th metarsal. Any running that I do for the next 2-3 weeks is not going to improve or even maintain the fitness I had built up over the summer. It's just going to be very slow jogging with low mileage while my foot re-adjusts to running. I'll have to supplement it with swimming and the elliptical machine in order to maintain some semblance of fitness. It's frustrating because I can't be in the pool or on the elliptical for nearly as long as I can run. I have a knee issue that flares up if I do the elliptical more than three times per week.

I feel like I'm never going to get to Boston. I've been working at this for so long and I feel like I'm doing everything right. No dramatic increases in mileage, stretching, taking rest days, not going too fast on my easy days, etc. I even invested in a coach to ensure that I was training at the proper level. And this time I even had a "backup plan" in case Toronto didn't work out. I'm running the Memphis marathon on December 5, but now it looks like I won't be able to train hard enough or long enough for a BQ. I feel like it's hanging over my head. I feel like I just need to get my Boston qualifying time so I can move on to other goals (both running and non-running). I know I can do it, it's just a matter of not getting injured or sick or hypothermia or heat exhaustion.

I hadn't even really thought about my racing schedule for 2010 because I wanted to see if I was going to BQ or not. Now that I know that I'm not going to BQ in Toronto, I think I have a plan for the next year.
- November 14: Richmond Half Marathon. I have no idea what my goal will be. It all depends on how soon I can resume my normal training regime. I might be lucky just to go sub-1:50.
- December 5: St. Jude Memphis Marathon. My company is sponsoring this marathon and I will be manning our booth at the Expo. I'm also raising money for St. Jude-- you can donate here. I don't expect a BQ, but I am hoping for a PR of some sort. Anything under 3:50 would be great. If I'm not feeling like it's going to be a PR, it will be a "fun run" which I'll take very slowly.
- March 20, 2010: Shamrock Marathon. This will be my BQ attempt. I ran my best (not fastest) marathon there in 2008 and my best half marathon there in 2009. It's a "lucky" course and it's almost impossible for it to be too hot that time of year.
- September 2010: I really do want to run the Toronto Waterfront marathon, so I plan on doing it again next fall. I'll try to BQ if I wasn't able to get it in March.
- November 2010: I am going to enter myself into the lottery for the NYC marathon. If I get in, it will be a fun run, with Toronto Waterfront as the race I run for time. If I don't get in, I might run it for charity.

Maybe a BQ is possible in December. I'm not going to rule it out completely. But I need to focus on healing my foot, and I am less likely to do that if I think that I need to BQ in 10 weeks. If I really allow my foot time to heal, I will only have 6-7 weeks of solid training, and I doubt I will get back to where I was pre-injury with such little time.

2009 has been a great year of training. I was on track for record yearly mileage and I ran my fastest training runs ever. I've only had one good race, though. Just one! I remember back when I first started running, I was having good races left and right. And now, I am working MUCH harder in my training, and ending up with just one good race for the year.