Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Plan "F"

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 maintained 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 sabotaged 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.


  1. I can't imagine how hard this is. I join everyone else in saying that you will recover from this. Hang in there.

  2. ((((Elizabeth))))

    All right, cliched but true: if you've hit your low, then there's nowhere to go but up. A week of pain-free running is fantastic news. I know exactly how you feel with the 8:45 effort/10:00 pace. It WILL come back. You can do this.

  3. After the jaw surgery, I didn't think I'd be able to run again. I was in the same position as you are, relatively speaking (Of course, I won't be as fast as you are when I get back to it and didn't have as strong a base as you do.). I was surprised by how quickly the turn came when the runs stopped being all hard work and started to feel easy enough to ramp up the pace. Last night I ran 2.8 miles in 25 minutes, which is a huge improvement for me. I know you'll get there, but waiting to be ready to run and take back your fitness is frustrating. Keep doing what you can and trust that it will come back when you're ready. We're all rooting for you!!

  4. I just wanted to tell you that you aren't allow. Every runner will hit those down points of injury or a streak of bad races. I know, it really stinks. Just hold out hope that this will pass. Keep looking towards that future- it's bright for you!

  5. You'll get there. One day not too long after you start back up, it'll be like "poof" and your easy pace and HR will be right were it was.

  6. Sending you healthy vibes, darlin'. I agree with Mir, nowhere but up from here. Of course you're meant to BQ, just having some incredibly difficult tests of will first. Keep the chin up, those 10:00s will turn into 9:30s will turn into 9:00s will turn into... Won't take that long, I just know it. Hugs.

  7. Sorry to hear about your struggles, but you can run now and are moving forward. At least you are still able to use one letter to categorize your BQ attempt. I'm at A-L for my sub 3.

    You have the right idea about avoiding the heart rate monitor. I wouldn't wear it again until you are enjoying and feeling good about your running.

    Good luck Elizabeth!

  8. I can completely understand your plight. I was hoping to qualify for Boston this year, and truly thought that I had it in the bag at the end of this summer. Unfortunately, I have been sick since the middle of August, and for about 2 months, every time I started to run, it would just ruin my immune system again. What was my 8 min/mile pace, has now turned into a 10-10:30 min/mile pace at the same HR. 12 weeks of averaging 50+ mpw has all gone down the drain. All of my buddies (that I was as fast as or faster) have qualified for Boston, and I have dropped off by close to 2 min/mile. Reading your blog today has made me realize that I'm not the only one, and I want to encourage you that things will get better in time... and hopefully when the day comes that we qualify for Boston, it will be that much sweeter. Good luck with your comeback.