Saturday, March 10, 2012

Countdown to Eugene & on the bench again

Is it possible to have a marathon training cycle without drama? I would like to know.

This update is being posted because.......
I said I would post an update.

A few weeks ago things were really going well. We got sick, I took time off to get better-a couple of days. Then I hit it hard again. Not to make up missed mileage, just to pick up where I left off. I left off just before another week of 100% of my planned peak- 80 miles. I got in 75 last week, but ended it with a sore knee.

I am not really sure what the knee issue is. What I do know is:
  • It is above my kneecap and on the inside edge. I saw my massage therapist Wednesday (Carol Duncan is a HUGE blessing). She thinks it might have to do with an  adductor.She showed me some stretches I haven't been doing and worked some knots out of my calves, hammies, adductors, etc.
  • It gets better when I don't run. I can run for a while with it only having a little discomfort, but when I hit about 6 miles it starts to get worse.
  • I am going to take more time off for this to get better. I am NOT a "time off" kind of runner. This is a huge test for me right now. I love a good taper, mind you, but I like it after a good training cycle.
There are seven more weeks to this training plan...Jack Daniels Plan A. Doubles are underlined.  I believe I front-loaded my weeks too much and put too high of a mileage goal for myself. My biggest question while making this plan was how to schedule my long runs. Many weeks had no exact mileage for the Q1 run. It is recommended in "Running Formula" to keep long runs under 2.5 hours; however, I had no problem with going well over 3 hours when training in 2010 with a 60 mile peak.

Processing it all and questioning things (Physical)
I have a lot of thoughts on how, and why, things like this are happening. It's been a year since I have had a running injury of any kind.

Following Daniel's training principles have helped me to recover from my Boston training injury a year ago, and run almost all PR races in the last 12 months.  It is frustrating to get to a peak point in training for a marathon, but not to be able to continue on with the plan- as planned. It leaves me with questions:
  • Each time I get injured, it's on the right leg.Why? Is there something off balance with my right foot/leg? I think this is very possible. I have been looking at/reading about foot types and gait, arches, etc..
  • Did I just set my peak too high for miles? This could also be the reason. I had hoped that with several weeks in the 70 mile range before the speed work started, I could shoot for 80 as a peak. Looking back now, there was no ground for this. I had a few 70 mile weeks before the training cycle, but not with any speed work. Adding speed work with new mileage is a great recipe for disaster. Hopefully I have learned my lesson here. Going from 70 MPW to 80 is a 10 mile jump,  Daniels suggests you try increasing by 10 miles/week only after successfully staying at the lower MPW for three weeks. I was following his "plan A"- but probably violating the principles by setting too high of a mileage goal.
  • Will I have time to recover and still race Eugene well? I have no idea here. But recover, I must. My last marathon training cycle / injury was a good lesson to me in the value of patience. If I only take a week off here, even 10 days, I might stand a chance at Eugene. I did take off about 3 weeks last year for that injury (peroneal tendon?) and went on to race a PR. We'll see how things go.  Eugene is an AMAZING course. It's a course I know. Anything is possible there. I am staying positive. Trying to. And trying not to think about running.
The mental/spiritual side
On a spiritual level, I have been doing much reflecting about why I am injured again during marathon training.  You might think I am a nut case. You are probably correct. I am spilling my guts here anyway.

It should be no secret that I would really like to run a fast marathon, (By fast, I mean that I would like to beat the calculator predictions based off of my performance at other race distances). I think, yet again, that God is trying to speak to my heart in a way He KNOWS He will get through. He has my attention here. Running is my way of coping with problems in life. It is also my way of seeing success when I am not victorious in other areas of my life.

God is showing me that He offers something better than running. His heart's desire is for me to find JOY in serving Him, and in having my heart in line with His. But what is my heart's desire, really?

Sometimes I would like to press a button and just not care about running at all. But other times, like right now, I would like to just put on my shoes and go for a slow, easy 20 miler. I can unplug my brain when I run- or focus it very intently on what my body is doing and what pace I am going. That's a nice place to be.

So, I know what God wants from me in all this.
He wants my heart to match His. And that's a lot harder to do than any marathon.

Today I am thankful for:
A bit less laundry
Walking without pain...having my legs and an able body
Grace and forgiveness
Healing from illness and my kids' recovery from poison oak- learning how allergic they are to it.
My parents and in laws, sister and brother-in-laws
the Bible
Some quiet time to think and write


    1. Thanks for sharing! I needed to read this today! I can totally relate! I am scheduled to run a 1/2 next Sunday. I had completed all of my long runs & speed/tempo runs and after a couple of easy 4 mile runs this week I started having knee issues. I had bursitis in the same knee last year and feel like that is what is starting again. It just really sucks that I have felt so good and had some great runs and thought I was so ready to meet my goal!

      1. I wish I knew who you are, but thanks for leaving the comment. I hope your knee gets better quickly.

    2. Oh, Raina,
      You know I would gladly let you borrow my R leg....
      I am so saddened about your little bump here but am so proud of what a good coach you are to yourself, taking time off, testing the knee, and taking time off again. I think you know my take on injuries. I think there are so many factors that play a part into whether one gets injured or not, luck being one of them. I don't like the blaming of the self philosophy, although I do like the lessons that come from being injured, and the growing that comes from it (I have learned so much about myself and my needs with every injury, honestly!). I don't think you did anything wrong here. I think you have been very careful with your training all along - only 2 key workouts a week, careful assessment of your body, etc. The only hypothesis I have is that perhaps when you were sick, the body just could not heal the micro tears as it was focused on getting you feeling better, and your vulnerability at the time, the R knee, got injured. It may also be that your R side is more vulnerable; same here, by the way, and I worked on that mostly with strength and balance drills (one leg balance on body ball or a pillow). Still, I don't believe you did anything wrong here, Raina. We all like to find a cause for something like an injury, it feeds our sense of control (particularly for us runners!). But sometimes there is not one reason, one cause, but a conglomeration of little causes that come together, simply by chance. I have no doubt that if you get back out there in 7 days or less you are going to beat the calculators and get a huge PR. I think you will PR no matter what, even if you take 3 weeks off, but I agree it would be a smaller PR. OK< longest comment here, keep your spirits up and do LOTS of nice things for yourself, spoil yourself a little, buy some Brooks, whatever it takes. You are one strong and tough runner/woman and I have such admiration and love for you!

      1. Thanks so much for your thoughts here, AM.

        I am not self blaming. Just analyzing. :)
        I don't think I am being punished for doing things wrong either...I just think that God wants something better for me. Keeping my spirits up! I need to edit and put in my gratitude list.

    3. So sorry to hear about the knee! You should still be proud of all the good runs you put in. These things are never expected or easy, but we do heal, learn, and live to run another day. I've finally learned to use setbacks not as a time to try and "fix" what went wrong, but use as learning experiences and gain perspective from them.

      A marathon PR is yours, regardless if now or later:)

    4. As a fellow Christian, I'm going to throw out an opinion here. Sometimes things happen in our lives and have NO IDEA why. I don't think God always puts these things in our path as "tests" or "punishments", but I do think that with each obstacle, we have the opportunity to grow or learn in some way (no matter of how sucky or painful the situation might be).

      That idea mixed with the general peaks and valleys of distance running could be the "reason" you are dealing with this injury.

      I'm really sorry you are dealing with this. In my opinion, you still have the training base to run a FAST marathon. Keep the faith and follow the orders of the doctor. Very soon this will be just another valley among many peaks. :)

    5. UGH...I've tried 3 times to comment and it keeps pulling it out. Let's see if this one works...I keep forgetting what I wrote!!

      first of all...your right side? Do you possibly have a leg length difference? I do, and it has wreaked havoc on me when running. I wear a heel lift and have to do specific stretches and strengthening exercises to help avoid other aches and pains...the knee being one of them...just a thought.

      However, I am sorry your knee is hurting...injuries just better way of putting it! Quite frankly, their timing sucks as well. time off sounds like the most knowledgable thing to do, however I know that isn't your personality...

      god does work in mysterious ways, and if we could ever figure out WHY he does this...well, then we wouldn't work so hard for him, or ourselves would we? You have a HUGE heart Raina, and I believe god sees this in you as well...maybe he needs you to slow down and take this time for yourself to that he can allow your body to get you where you want to go...and witness you setting that PR feeling strong, healthy and peaceful...

      Feel better;) I will keep you in my thoughts for a speedy recovery!

      1. Thanks for the thoughts. :) The leg-length thing has been something I have considered a possibility too.

    6. Ugh, it's hard to wait out injuries. Hoping you heal quickly! And too bad about that poison oak - no fun, either!

    7. I'm so sorry about your injury! Boo. You have a beautiful way of looking at it though. I like always returning to gratitude during times like this. I do this too, and I use it to thank God even more for His blessings. In the end, I always return to how it's just running. It doesn't define who we are.

      I, too, would often like to just press a button and not care about running, especially when I have to get up at 4:30 am (tomorrow) to get in my 18 miles so that I can go watch my son's state champpionship meet. Would be so much easier to just sleep in, have breakfast with the fam and not worry about getting back in time to head straight off to warm-ups.

      Feel better soon!

    8. So many challenges but I have no doubt that you will have a wonderful race. I love your perspective on spirituality and running. We are gifted with healthy bodies, God rejoices in our efforts!

    9. I encourage you to research the following pairs of runners and find what each pair has in common and how they differ:
      1. Grete Waitz/Joan Benoit Samuelson
      2. Sebastian Coe/Peter Snell
      3. Desiree Davila/Lauren Fleshman
      4. Brian Sell/Dathan Ritzenhein
      I believe your answers lie in four of those runners, and my answers lie in the other four.

      Also, you speak often about the magic/miracle of Eugene 2010; I think there is something there that you are missing (I am refering to one of Noakes' Laws of Training).

      I know I am being a little cryptic, but I think if you are meant to know, then you'll find similar solutions to what I'm seeing in your updates. I just hope you are healthy and ready to go for Pre 10k 2012. :)

      1. Grete Waitz and Sebastian Coe were fast athletes that needed very little training to get in race performance shape and/or keep improving, (comparatively) they would do less volume and more speed (I believe the story goes that Grete had never run longer than like 5 or so kilos before doing her first NYCM and winning it).

        Peter Snell was a big runner that needed huge volume and lots of track workouts to stay in form. Davila and Sell are other runners who also benefited from a long consistent training at high volume with a bunch of speed, but it is something they worked at for 4, 5 and 6 years after college running.

        Lauren Fleshman is a runner that has had to learn to get the most out of the least amount of volume - mixing in a lot of cross training and other activities while keeping her total volume low and yet still pretty quick. Ritzenhien is similar to Fleshman in that he trains really quickly. When some runners can only complete 1 or 2 complete training cycles, Dathan may go through 3 or 4. He doesn't need very much time to work up to his racing form.

        I think all those runners have taken Noakes Law of Running that says "maximize the greatest amount of results on the least amount of training." I'm thinking two things: 1) find a regular training intensity that you can do ad nauseum year round, that doesn't wear you out, but not necessarily making any improvements. If you find that that volume/intensity you have too much time on your hands, then use that extra time to take long hikes with the hubby, take the kids to the beach more often, etc. 2) when you decide "hey there's a race I want to see if I can go really fast" just pick a small window 5-6 weeks to increase intensity/volume slightly to get race sharp, race for a few weekends and then go back to that nice comfortable training level you can do ad nauseum.

        But anyway, I think the most important discovery I have made is really paying attention to other runners and how they have empirically fine-tuned training cycles, volumes, intensities to their prior experiences and performances. So, really I don't give a darn about those two things I listed, but I do think those 8 runners I mentioned would be really worth getting to understand more.

        On a personal note: I am trying to slowly increase my leg speed but kinda wonder if I'll ever be able to run 16 200s at or under 38 seconds. I'm not giving up, I'm sure my leg speed will come around....but its hard sometimes :).

    10. Hey girl. You know, you've been so careful and thoughtful about your training. And it has gone SO've got a ton of great workouts banked. I'm praying that this knee thing is going to simmer down with a little rest and you'll be back out there to get that PR. God wants us to use our gifts. I believe this strongly. You've obviously been given the gift to run and when you are racing and running and sharing with all of us, I believe with every bone in my body that you are reflecting God's love and doing what he wants for use our gifts and find joy in him through them. From what I know about myself as a runner, when I am using my body and really running strong I feel better in other areas of my life...including faith. So, I get that urge to just go run a slow 20 miles (even though I have no desires for that right this second. Ha!) While you heal, focus on all the other wonderful things you have been gifted with...I've seen first hand what a great mother you are to your boys and how you are as a friend. And I hope you also focus on how many people love yo too...I know you know this but so many of us are cheering for you Raina. You are an inspiration in many a mother, runner, woman of faith, etc. Oh, have you ever seen a sports chiropractor? I wish I could get you up here to see John. every two weeks when I go in, he has to adjust me because my right hip is rotated which causes all sorts of problems that would turn into injury if I didn't get readjusted. one leg is ALWAYs off a bit with length even though it gets better every time. He is really good at what he does and he finds where I'm hurting even though I didn't even know I was until he pokes around a bit. I wish you were closer! Love you Raina!

    11. This is a great post, even though this topic is probably one you wish you didn't have to address. I think there can be training without drama, although that may be somewhat rare. Even if we are injury free, there are the constant questions about the value of the training itself (at least for me). But I also really enjoy all of it, so I don't mind giving it extra thought when I need to.

      I hope that knee heals quickly. And I really like what you said about what God is teaching you in all of this. I see running as one of his great gifts to me, but I know sometimes I let it become more than it should be in my mind.

      Thanks for sharing!

    12. So, my friend. I've read this, every word, several times. I'm not going to say much today....I understand so many of your thoughts...You know many of my thoughts and I echo the sentiments of some very dear friends of yours above...much love to you Raina. You are in my thoughts a hundred times a day. I know about this button you've referenced. It doesn't work for people like us... Thank you for your willingness to share. I admire and respect you greatly for this. You know, it is easy to see one's success in running, its matter of fact. You are SO victorious in other aspects of your life but it is sometimes harder to really see this in the present. You are such a wonderful mother. You will be shown this for years and years as you watch your boys grow. You are also a wonderful teacher, a commited wife, a true friend, an ambassador of your faith.

      I'm babbling. I'm confident a little break to heal up the knee is going to do wonders!! Just a bump. Big PR on a refreshed body and mind coming soon:)

    13. I absolutely know what you mean about processing those times of injury and wondering what it is God is trying to teach us through it... hope your knee responds quickly to a little rest. It's so hard to be resting in a training cycle, especially with spring on its way!

    14. Beautiful post, Raina. Times when we face disappointment or worry are the times when God tells us to stay quiet and trust in Him. He has obviously given you a gift in your running talent, and you so wonderfully use it to His glory. I'm with Jenn...this is just a break in the action. A time to refocus, fine tune your training, and to trust. You'll do great at the marathon!!

    15. Thanks for taking the time to go through all that -- since this is my first experience with an injury, it helps me to read how people analyze what happens to their bodies in a training cycle -- to understand mine. This was wonder. But I'm very sorry you are hurt and will definitely hope that it is short lived and you can run Eugene the way you want too.

    16. Somehow I am just now getting to read this post and I'm glad I did! Your body may just need a little break from the high mileage. If it makes you feel any better- ALL of my weeks (with the exception of 1) were UNDER 60 miles a week for the last marathon training cycle for my 3:19 and 3:15 marathons. I ran one week of 65 miles but followed it with a week of 30. My body just needed to rest. God has taught me the most about running at the times when I have gone through some type of injury. I hope your body makes a full and speedy recovery so you can finish out this training cycle feeling strong and confident.

    17. Oh raina. I don't know what to say. I am just so sorry. I don't think your training looks like it was too much for you but what do I know?:( I think your decision to take 7-10 days is very smart. That is exactly what I would do too. Hard to do but yes your best chance to recover and hopefully you can still run a great marathon. Just another thought on the spiritual side of things: maybe the lord is trying to give you a chance to show forth your faith in him and see his power in his ability to help u through this injury and help u run a great marathon still. Keep praying for a miracle. The lord knows your heart and knows your desire to run and achieve your dreams. He loves you and wants to help you. Just another perspective. I know that whatever the lord is telling u in your heart though is between u and Him. Love u. Xxx

    18. I can relate but with me its my right forarm. I have a severe Tendon issue and i cant really rest it due to using my arms to get around just like a knee issue.It feels like needles are poking me at times and it makes Working out almost impossible but i just try and do what i can and stay positive during the ordeal.
      I have found no real medical treatment but rest and we all know that is pretty impossible for most of us.If i wanted to rest it i could but my life would just go around in a circle all day :)
      Raina i hope it all works out and you are able to make it to Eugene you have gave me alot of encourgement and help along the way..

    19. Oh no! I hope this is just a temporary setback and you get to run Eugene FAST as planned. I had a similar injury much closer to Eugene last year and a combination of pool running, lower mileage and intensity and KT tape allowed me to have a great race. Good luck!

    20. Unfortunately now I am an expert in knee problems. I felt pain since early december 2011 but it disappeared when I didn't run or after 20/25 minutes of running. The physio said: don't worry it only seems a tendon problem. Now I am into the troubles. I am sure that your knee is healthy but my advice is: do a magnetic resonance imaging, only to be sure that you are ok.

    21. Hope the knee is healing up. Those are some high mileage weeks! Nice work.


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