I seriously feel like I'm going to need therapy to get through this training cycle. After the major low of last week's track workout, I rebounded with a fabulous tempo run and an even better 20-miler. Life was good, I was feeling confident, and my mojo had returned.
Then, before the endorphin rush from the 20 had even worn off, I was back down in the dumps, as I felt the effects of those 20 miles on my aching hamstrings and piriformis and hip flexors.
It was enough back and forth in one week to practically induce whiplash - and I'm only on week THREE of my training!!!! I still have 13 more weeks of this to get through!
Taking a deep breath, though, and absorbing the conclusions that I will take away from the crazy ups and downs of this past week -
1. Just because one track workout sucks, it does not mean that I've suddenly lost my ability to run faster. (Yes, this one is painfully obvious, but when you're in the midst of marathon training and not thinking clearly, it bears repeating)
2. I still love tempo runs. I mean, I hate tempo runs, because they are so very tough - but I love tempo runs because I feel like such a badass when I finish one.
3. I need to be more careful planning my long run routes. I was only supposed to run 17 miles on Sunday ('only' 17 - ha!), but I miscalculated, and as I was heading back toward home, I realized that my 17 was going to be more like 18, and possibly even 19. For a moment, I considered calling Scott to come get me when I got to 17, but I was feeling better than I have EVER felt during a 20-mile run. It felt as close to effortless as running 20 miles can feel. I was happy, I was sticking to my goal pace, nothing was hurting, and I felt like it was all just clicking so perfectly. So instead of calling for a ride, I decided to make it an 'accidental' 20-miler. If I was going to run 19, I might as well run 20. It was definitely the right choice - those last 3 miles were my fastest of the entire run.
4. Foam rolling and stretching really, really works. My hamstrings, piriformis, etc. felt a little achy and tight during the last few miles of the 20, but not too bad. But later on that night, I had serious concerns about whether or not I'd even be able to run on Tuesday, never mind do the track workout I had planned. And Monday brought more of the same - not just discomfort, but pain. Bad pain. So I rolled, and rolled, and rolled some more. And I stretched. And I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. And when I woke up this morning, I felt 100% better. Nothing hurt at all today - not before my speed workout, not during, and not after. Yippeeeeee!!!!!!!!!
5. A little fear is a good thing. I was very afraid to do today's speed workout. Even though I had just had two fantastic runs, they weren't speed workouts, and my mind just kept going back to how awful I felt trying to do those intervals last week - and failing miserably. I couldn't fail this week. So I got on the treadmill, where I knew I could just set it to the pace I needed to run, and I would have no choice but to keep up. And it worked. 5 x 1,000 at 6:29 pace. I had to dig deep for the 5th one, but I did it. A few minutes of pain was so much easier to handle than the feelings of failure I experienced last week.
The 6th and final conclusion - I remain cautiously optimistic that whatever is going on with my body can be overcome through an aggressive program of PT and massage and TLC. The fact that I was able, on my own, to 'fix' the areas that were hurting so badly on Sunday night and Monday gives me hope that if I have some professional assistance, I can manage this and still be able to complete my training the way I want to.
Orthopedist appointment is next week, and I have several weeks of PT appointments lined up already.
Now I just need someone to help me maintain some semblance of sanity as this crazy journey continues. 12.5 weeks to go.....