January was a successful month for running. Through Fall I managed to run about sixty miles each month. With a slight improvement each month through December.
In January I ran just over 91 miles. It wasn’t without aches and pains, but it was run with little doubt. I was confident as I pushed the mileage higher that I was on a trajectory towards a 100 mile month in February.
Even with the aches and pains, I showed up on Sunday and ran most of the miles. And I ran 4 to 6 miles Tuesday day night and a few times managed another 5 miler on Thursday or Friday night.
But on February 5th during our SLR 6 I ran into a problem. My knee has been bothering me for a while, but this time it felt different.
My Physical Therapist, Dr. Sarah Marchionne, at Fitzgerald Physical Therapy in Melrose checked my knee thoroughly. I was relieved when she said it was probably an over-use injury. This made sense since I had been ramping up the miles.
February 23 Running
The first run in February was The Sunday Long Run 6 which was a 16.5 course.
My knee had been bothering me from pushing it a little too much the week before. I was feeling strong, so I ran that way. During a few of my runs I even tossed in a few strides and they felt pretty good.
By the time I reached mile 10 of SLR 6, I knew it was a bad idea and run all 16.5 miles. Our next water stop was only 3.5 miles away and I figured I could get there without causing any permanent damage.
I knew exactly where I was going and what the hills were like. There were a few times when I had to walk and my Garmin flaked out on me.
When I look at the map for that run, Mile 11 is a little short, Mile 13 is missing and it looks like I ran well over 15 miles. But Garmin gives me 13.6 miles which I literally felt in my bones was the correct distance!
Not my first tough run of this training program but it felt like the toughest run. When I got to the next water stop, I got a ride from Bobby Taylor back to my car! At mile 10 I knew my PT would say, why did you keep running?
When I got into my car I felt like I had run 15+ miles.
As I was running in from Mile 10 I was thinking about what I would tell my PT. When did the pain begin? When did it get worse?
Would I be honest? Should I be? Would she be pissed or disappointed at my foolishness?
You can read about when the pain started in my Road to Boston SLR 6 post, so I wont re-hash it here.
Marathon Training Week 7
After my tough SLR 6, I took week 7 off and manned a water stop on Saturday.
The club ran the Super Sunday 5K and 10K on Sunday so we moved the long run to Saturday. Yes, a lot of people ran 14 miles on Saturday and many ran the 10K on Sunday.
I registered to run the 10K, but Saturday afternoon when I picked up my bib I switched to the 5K. My knee was still wonky and I didn’t want to push it.
My goal is to get to the starting line in some sort of running condition.
I started the Super Sunday 5K in the back and as we started out I just let people pass me. I had a compression sleeve on my knee and wanted to see how things went.
After about a half-mile I realized that me knee was fine, so I picked up my pace on First street and had a pretty good race. We had 42 club members run or volunteer at the race. And I think everyone had a good time.
I had a good 4.5 mile club run Tuesday night, had PT on Wednesday and ran a little over five miles Thursday night.
Marathon Training Week 8
Sunday Long Run for week 8 was an 18.1 mile course that I knew well. It is a long run and has plenty of hills, but the turns are easy to spot with few rotaries or 5 road intersections. I knew I wouldn’t get lost, but I was not sure how my knee would hold up.
On advice of Dr. Sarah I had been wearing a compression sleeve during my runs for the past few weeks. It did help my knee but I was still having that joint pain.
You can read in my blog post for week 8 that I decided to cut 18.1 miles down to 12.9. I even had to walk the last third of a mile.
That Tuesday night I ran a conservative out and back 4 miler with very few hills at an 11:10 pace. Really slow for me, but I needed to get in those miles.
We had some weather on Thursday which actually left snow and ice on the ground. I decided not to risk slipping on the ice and didn’t run Thursday night.
Marathon Training Week 9
For Sunday Long Run Number 9, we dropped down to 16 miles. In a marathon training program every two or three weeks you drop back on the miles to give your legs a bit of a break.
The week before I only ran 12.9 miles, so even 16 miles was a bump up for me. It’s like falling behind on a hike. When the group takes a break you’re still hiking up the trail. And when you finally reach them, they are ready to head out.
On Saturday I bought a Shock Doctor knee brace, Level 3. This sleeve straps to your calf and thigh and has hinges at the knee. Pretty heavy duty stuff and not something I ever dreamed I’d be wearing. Am I getting old?
It was painful from the first steps and early on I knew 16 miles was not in the cards for me that day. You can read the details in my week 9 post.
That Tuesday night I ran 4.3 miles with the club at a 10:30 pace. Not too bad and the knee brace seemed to make a difference. It was the last day of February and I wanted to hit 60 miles for the month. I ran 60.39 miles in February.
About 31 fewer miles than January and not the 100 miles I was shooting for. But sometimes you need to make adjustments if you want to keep on the road to The Boston Marathon.
Run well my Friends
4 thoughts on “23 and Me February”
Andy, your willingness to push through pain sounds so familiar! I think taking that week off was important, as is continuing to listen to your body (and your PT). But I sure understand why you’re giving it your all. Here’s hoping your knee decides to cooperate!
Thank you Jane.
Speaking for myself here, but as an exercise in self-care, sometimes we have to give the training a miss before a big event (and they don’t get much bigger than Boston!). But you have time and lots of hours in the legs, so I’d be saying rest up for a week or so, and if you get twitchy (which you will), then jump on a bike or get into the pool. You can’t run at all if you’re crocked! Best of luck.
My main goal is to get to the starting line, and in some sort of running condition.
If I’m broken, I won’t even get that far.
I’m doing much more strength training than I ever have. I’m hoping that will make a difference.
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