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Sunday Long Run 8

Road to Boston SLR 8

After running a water stop for SLR 7, I jumped back into running the Road to Boston SLR 8.

The Road to Boston goes through Injuryville

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Many runners get some sort of an injury while training for a marathon.

Running a marathon is a big under-taking and if you don’t prepare properly there is usually hell to pay on Marathon day. Once committed to running 26.2 miles there isn’t much that will stop most runners. Even pain.

I can’t say that I’ve ever run a marathon that didn’t involve pain at some point. Even the elite runners will tell you that.

The idea behind training and putting in those grueling training miles is to push the pain point out as many miles as you can into the race.

Over the years I’ve solved most of the things that can go wrong during the actual marathon, but I have not found a fool-proof way to avoid injuries.

Running Road to Boston SLR 8

The pain in my knee changed recently, so I cut back all running last week and only ran the Super Sunday 5K with the running club. My knee felt fine the entire race.

But I know that long distances and down-hills will beat the shit out of my left knee. And this week’s run was both hilly and 18.1 miles! 

Since this is my twentieth rodeo, I know what to do when the bull throws me into the dirt.

So I went into today’s run with caution and low expectations.

I didn’t know if I’d make it out of the parking lot, to the first water stop or by some miracle, the entire route.

Starting the Road to Boston SLR 8

Sunday Long Run 8 with the Melrose Running Club. Road to Boston SLR 8

Kneeling for this photo was a little painful for all of us. Not too many youngsters in this group.

As we ran out of the parking lot I took it really slow, around a 12 minute pace.

Even after stretching, my knee was tight. But I was pretty sure that it would loosen up after a bit of running. And that’s what happened.

I didn’t feel like sprinting, but I was pretty sure I would make it to our first water stop.

The segment to Breakheart Reservation I ran mostly with Bobby Taylor and Joe Winslow. They were looking to run 10+ minute miles which was fine with me. But, we had to intentionally do that. We’d get talking, I’d check my watch and we would be running 9:20.

2023 SLR 8 Course Map, 2023 Boston Marathon training

Just before mile three we reached the road into Breakheart. It seemed to come up quickly and I was grateful for that.

After the water stop most people went left to get the hills over with. A bunch of us went right to run them old school.

As we went around the loop we got to see everyone else coming from the other direction.

I was able to maintain my speed pretty well going up the hills. But going down had to be controlled.

People think running down hill is easy, or easier. But it involves a lot of pounding and that usually gets your quads or knees.

On a steep decline you can kind of get out of control, go to fast and really slam your legs. It’s not good.

I found my self extending my right leg and holding my left leg back so as to minimize the impact on my left knee. It’s generally not a good idea to alter your stride like that, but I was only doing it on the downhills.

Finishing the Road to Boston SLR 8

We finished the loop in the parking lot back at Water Stop 1.

I knew that the longer I staid the tighter my knee would get. So I took a cup of Gatorade and cut the conversation short.

Joe Winslow and I made our way down the park road and turned right onto the Fellsway. He was doing okay and was nice enough to hang back and keep me company.

At the next corner, at mile seven, we took a right onto Main Street in Saugus.

This is a long, mostly uphill, slog to Wakefield High and our next water stop.

Joe and I have daughters in their twenties, so we always have plenty to talk about. It was fun.

In the parking lot of Wakefield High I decided to cut the run short. We were just short of mile nine and I knew that 18 miles was not in the cards.

Joe was going to run long so I headed out to my short cut. Dan Slattery was also going to cut it short and headed out a minute or so after I did.

All the way up Farm Road in Wakefield I expected Dan to catch up to me, but he didn’t catch me until Water Stop 4 at Nick’s Pizza.

My knee was aching at level 2-3 now and I knew that hanging around was not going to help.

Just like the previous water stop, the first 10-20 steps were painful. The promise of less pain was the only way to keep going, and we were headed for another freaking hill!

Dan and I ran in the last three miles or so pretty much together. When he picked up the pace at times, I just let him go. As he said, it was really about getting in the time on my feet.

As we got into down town Melrose he went ahead and at 12.6 miles I decided to walk. Even that hurt!

We chatted a bit in the parking lot and headed our separate ways. A run well done.

Run well my Friends,

Andy


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5 responses to “Road to Boston SLR 8”

  1. Catrina Avatar

    Well done on the 13 miles! Good that your knee held up for the greater part.
    No doubt you’re already seeing a physio and doing all the recommended strength exercises.
    I’m dealing with Achilles pain and it’s very similar to your knee…. I’m fine for a while and then the pain kicks in.

    All the best with your Boston training! You will do well on the day, I’m sure!!

    1. OmniRunner Avatar

      I tried to treat my Achilles on my own, but it took physical therapy to get better.
      You should have a PT do an assessment for you. Even if you don’t sign up for treatment, they will give you a few things to work on at home.

  2. unironedman Avatar

    Sometimes stopping is the worst thing! I’ve learned to keep going now, unless I absolutely can’t go on.

    N.B. not a qualified medical practitioner 😉

    1. OmniRunner Avatar

      You are right.
      During a race I don’t stop.
      I’ve gotten pretty good at grabbing a cup and taking a drink while jogging through a water stop.
      Training is different, but I’ve run past my friends at a water stop a few times over the years. Just to create more of a race environment.

      Even if everything feels good, your muscles will still tighten up when you stop.

  3. […] 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. […]

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