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.