Monday, October 6, 2008

Weekly Training Update: Sep 29 - Oct 5

This week was a transition week for me as I returned from Las Vegas late Wednesday night. I did not run for the six days I was there so I figured I would just ease back into it by running a couple short runs before I attempted another long run on the weekend. On Thursday, I did my usual lunchtime 5.6 mile run around “pickle park” (use your imagination). I felt fine but a little sluggish due to the vacation layoff.

Thursday evening I went to The New England Running Company to get a new pair of shoes. Currently, I am training in Brooks Cascadia 3. Usually, when I find a shoe that works for me, I stick with it until it goes out of production. This time I broke my golden rule, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and went with a different shoe. It would soon be evident that this was a bad decision. My reason for changing shoes was to find one with more arch support than the Cascadias have. I thought this might help improve the plantar fascia discomfort I have been dealing with for over a year. I tried on a few pairs and took them on a short run in the parking lot. The Adidas Adizero XT’s felt the best of the bunch.
On Friday, I was back to “pickle park” for another easy run. This time I was wearing my new Adidas trainers. About 3 miles into the run I started to feel the symptoms associated with my sacroiliac joint subluxation. In simple terms, sacroiliac joint subluxation is a twisting of the pelvic joints due to weakness of the ligaments holding them in place. My usual symptons are low back pain, pain radiating into the groin, hip pain and throbbing in the grand toe of the foot. I got all of them, except the hip pain on this run. The symptoms worsened as the afternoon progressed. I was now regretting my decision to try a new shoe. I’ve had this problem with my pelvis since the early eighties and I pretty much know what is good for it and what is not. That’s why I was so pissed at myself for screwing around with new shoes. I applied ice a few times once I got home that evening and hoped I would be feeling better in the morning.

When I awoke on Saturday morning I felt about the same as yesterday but also had some added hip pain for good measure! I wasn’t sure if I should run or take the day off but I had made plans to do a long run with Brenda and Rob and had no way to contact them if I cancelled. I decided to go for the run and hope for the best. I packed up my gear and headed for Willowdale State Park in Ipswich.

I met Rob and Brenda at the fishing bridge at 7:30 am. This was much earlier than my usual 9 o’clock running time but Stonecat starts at 6:15 so I figured I’d better get use to it. Rob is a former college speedster getting back into the running scene after a longer than expected hiatus from the sport. He is preparing for the Cape Cod marathon in a few weeks and will also run the Stonecat marathon two weeks later. Oh yeah, he’s got the fever! You can check Rob’s training and thoughts on running and life at his blog, Tracks of a Trail Runner. Brenda is a five-time Ironman triathlon finisher and will be running the 50 miler at Stonecat in November. The two of them are familiar with the Willowdale trails and would be showing me some of the marathon course on the run.

It was cold standing around and I was ready to get started. I was looking forward to seeing what the terrain was like so I would know what to expect on race day. We headed off into the woods as a cold wind hit us in the face. None of us have ever run together before but it seemed that we were all on the same page with regards to pace. I was surprised by the lack of rocks and roots here. The trails were mostly double track with very good footing and not very hilly. It was much easier running here than at Breakheart Reservation or Lynn Woods.

The trail system in Willowdale is very confusing and I never had a good sense of where I was at any time. Fortunately, Rob and Brenda have run here a few times and we never got lost. We wandered around the woods not really concerned where we were going or how fast we would get there. The three of us just wanted to get some time on our feet and we didn’t want to do it alone. We talked about the usual stuff, training, racing, nutrition etc. but also education, careers, psychology and many other topics. The conversation continued through most of the run, even when we began to get a little tired near the end. I was surprise how quickly the four hours had passed and how easily the 21 miles were covered on this sunny and cool autumn morning. It was only when we finished running that I noticed my back and hip pain had diminished. Go figure! That was a good sign. I’m sure I will improve over the next few days and my training will continue uninterrupted.

This run was a great way to finish up the week.

Weekly re-cap:

Total miles: 35
Long run: 21
# of runs: 4
Avg. miles: 8.8
Trail miles: 60%

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