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.


  1. I know this is tough, but I'm proud of you for putting your health first. You have been working so hard for your BQ that I have no doubt it will happen, maybe when you least expect it. You've got a solid plan for 2010 and I hope it all comes to fruition! I had been planning to stop running marathons, but so many people have dropped out of 2009's NYC, that I'm still planning to run it in 2010 and have already qualified. See you there, but, hopefully, before then, too!

  2. You have the right idea of just concentrating on getting healthy and not worrying about time goals or anything. I would say don't give it a thought at all, see how the half goes in November, and go from there.

    Your fitness may have taken a hit but it is not gone. I'm really interested to see how you do--be a phoenix, rise again!

  3. Thanks George and Miranda. Patience is not one of my virtues, so I really feel like I am being "tested" here. I think I am going to get an MRI because my foot suddenly started hurting again today out of nowhere, and I haven't run in two days.

  4. So so frustrating this running/injury thing.

    Sorry to hear you were sick too. Ugh.

    I hope your 5th meta heals up quickly(I had to go look that up to find out where it was). Your plan for next year looks good.

  5. I know the injury has been very difficult. It seems like you've been doing all the right things. I hope 2010 is a much better, injury-free year.

  6. Hang in there, I understand about thinking that the BQ goal is hanging over ones head!