In my last post, I discussed my new plan to slowly ramp up my running mileage. I had a nice 6 mile run on Friday where I actually decided to run over some rolling hills rather than walk up them, and I hit 6 miles with no pain. My achilles was slightly sore following this run, but a little massaging of the tendon relieved that almost instantly. Saturday morning and afternoon got away from me with various errands and tasks, so I decided to just go ahead and do another "long" run that evening--discarding my short, long, short pattern. This was a bad idea. My achilles tightened up after the first 4 miles of 6 total. I had to do some walk/jog intervals to get home in order to minimize the tightness and pain, which were both mild. Again, massaging the achilles helped, but I was still sore. I was really hoping that I would have one of those breakthrough runs where I was gamboling recklessly along the bike trail free of any tightness and pain. Saturday's 6 miler made me realize that I may have a longer row to hoe than I thought.
This sequence of events led me to the realization that I needed to make a tough decision. The easy part was deciding to throw in the towel on the Eugene Marathon, scheduled for May 2nd. The tough decision was whether or not to bag the idea of running a spring marathon altogether. I researched the hell out my options and came up short. There are some potentially fast races out there, but most of them occur too close to Eugene for me to feel confident in being able to ramp up. The reason I would try to run a marathon this spring would be to capitalize on the great fitness that I have (had?) before becoming injured. I finally realized that leaving the possibility of running another marathon hanging out there was causing me to make decisions that are not helping me heal.
Enter Plan B:
- take as long as it takes to get back to pain-free running,
- maintain my mad cross training regime,
- and start training for some speed!
The prospect of training for a fast 5k and/or 10k race is exciting to me. Aside from striving for PRs in these distances, I know that developing my speed will make me a faster marathoner. Right now, I'm tentatively thinking about a 10k race over Memorial Day weekend (heel healing dependent) and running at least the 5k in the National Masters' Championship Track Meet here in Sacramento in July 2010. I'd love to get my 10k time down into the low 36s and my 5k into the low 17s. Of course, I have to be careful with my training not to injure some other random body part in the process, but I feel like a slightly wiser runner at this point.
I am fired up about this focus for my future training. I assure you that I am cross training like an animal so that I can step back into my running, when my non-bionic tendon is ready and willing, with zeal and a renewed lust for this crazy sport of running. We can rebuild her.
P.S. My focus race for the fall will be Chicago.