Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slow Road Back

I'm unofficially back from vacation (at work for a couple of days, though still "off"), and though I had a glorious week away, I can't help but be bummed out and burdened by the current state of my running. I estimate that I've gained as much as 5 pounds since last training cycle, which is more a nuisance than a tragedy, but I find myself unwilling to curb my intake of indulgent food and snacks while running far less than I'd become accustomed to over the past six months or so.

The back pain subsided enough by July 4th, that I was able to run 4 laborious miles on Saturday the 5th. I added another 5 the next day, still slow, as the back pain was gone, but lingering sciatica made it feel like I was dragging my left leg along for the ride. I still have some numbness in that leg, and have some slight tightness in the back. I've managed two runs of over 8 miles in the past 3 weeks. Hardly an optimal marathon training plan.

I'm pretty much off of the Pfitzinger 18/55 plan, and am thinking of trying to jump into the 12/55 plan starting next week. This is a "rest week" under the 18/55, so if I can do that mileage and feel okay, I may be back in the saddle. It will certainly not be ideal in terms of getting to Chicago in prime shape, but if I can ease myself back into a good training groove, I'd be much happier than I have been since experiencing hip problems in mid-April.

I also KNOW that the reasonable thing to do is to take some time off, but I can't bear to let my Chicago registration and airfare vaporize. I also know that the chances of my running in Boston in 2009 (at least as a qualifier) become less and less as each sub-par training day passes.

A now-60-year-old colleague of mine ran a 2:49 to qualify for Boston when he was about my age, but he never ran it because he broke his leg skiing that winter and battled subsequent injuries and surgeries for the next 10 years, continuously pushing himself until he simply had to stop running. He told me to ask myself if I'd rather try to run Boston in 2009 at any cost, or if I'd like to be able to run it when I'm 45 or 50 or beyond. It's a perfectly valid question, but I seem unable to sacrifice the short term for the "big picture" right now. What I fear I am doing is entrenching myself in a downward spiral, where I'm slogging through unproductive miles with various physical and biomechanical problems, and, thus, at best I'm treading water (i.e., locking in a slow marathon pace) and at worst am causing more problems and risking greater injuries.

Who'd have thought that simply running could be so complicated?


1 comment:

Dad said...

Sorry to hear about the back and tough road back. I agree with going to 12/55 or the like. I was cruising on 18/70 and then had plantar fasciitis set in, cut back to 40 with 2 rest days in a week and now will use a Smart Coach plan, I alternated the weeks one with one rest day and one with two.