Monday, July 21, 2008

Back to the Grind

I am now officially back from vacation, and after more than two weeks of being in a house full of 10-plus people, I arrived home all by myself last night. Other than a whining cat, no one bothered me about anything, and I just zoned out watching a dumb movie and taking a few passes over my foam roller. It was heavenly.

Because we were away this past weekend, I missed my running club's home race, which was bittersweet, since I wish I could have participated, though given my current pathetic state I don't think I could have matched last year's time 34:00+ for 5 miles. I struggled through a slow 4-miler in Maine on Saturday, in unbelievable humidity at 8:00 a.m. Then I managed 11 miles yesterday, again in intensely humid conditions. Though I tend to find running shirtless to be a bit inelegant, I did ditch my shirt at the midway point of each run this weekend. The Asics tech fabric simply wasn't up to the task (at mile 5.5 yesterday, I rang the shirt out and it was still full of moisture). I do wish I'd been able to weigh myself before and after yesterday's run, since I'm not sure I've sweat that much since I used to play summer league soccer on the occasional 100-degree day.

Running-wise, I'm in a tough spot right now. I'm feeling "off", with a tight back, weak/tight/sore hip flexors and numbness in my left leg. Yesterday was the 12-weeks-until-the-Chicago-Marathon mark, and I'm resolved to train simply to finish it and - hopefully - improve incrementally on my Vermont time, perhaps dipping under 3:40. Assuming that I do not qualify for Boston (a safe assumption), I think I will skip a spring marathon and try to re-group for another stab next fall. I feel like I need a running miracle, where my body settles into training without the various limiting factors which have dogged me since mid-April, when I stupidly did too much speedwork in less than two weeks and have not really run well since, suffering gluteal soreness, multiple other hip issues, throwing out my back and now experiencing lingering sciatica.

I did run 35 miles last week without completely crumbling, but I feel tired and tight on every run, and generally need to stop every couple of miles - even on shorter runs - to stretch and gather my wits about me. Heat and hills only make it worse. I will see my PT and chiropractor this week, so I hope they can help, and that getting back into yoga will also make a difference.

At this point, I also fear that I will perform very poorly in two upcoming races: the Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth, Maine and a large local 5K which means a lot to the guy who organizes our corporate team (and who runs a sub-18:00 5K at age 54 and happens to be my boss). I had hoped to be in a position to flirt with sub-19:00, but will be lucky to be able to break 21:00 if my hips, back and left leg do not feel better and I can't get in some speedwork (without hurting myself) before race day.

Tomorrow I will start on Pfitzinger's 12-week, 55 mile-max plan, and hope that it's enough (with the residual fitness that's trapped in my body) to get to Chicago in reasonable shape, even that means nowhere near Boston qualifying shape.


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