Return to Racing

I am thrilled to report that this is the last post I will be making in the “Stress Fracture” category.  I wish I could post and say that this was the best race I’ve ever had.  I wish I could say that it felt effortless like most of the other (shorter-than-marathon distance) races I’ve run but my Mom taught not to lie.

The truth is that the race, the 2010 Rochester Half Marathon, was hard.  My goal was to break one hour and thirty minutes.  I haven’t been doing any real level of training due to the stress fracture.  Sure, I’ve logged almost 1,000 miles on the bike and spent some time in the pool but those activities are not running.  If you want to be good at running you need to run.  My race time for the Rochester Half in 2009 was 1:24:59 and remains my best race.  Just before the stress fracture I ran a 1:27 at Flower City.  Based on that and how I felt I thought 1:29 should be doable.  Alas it was not.

The first two miles I hit at about 6:55.  I hit one mile in 6:49.  Every other mile was above 7:00.  I was putting forth the effort but I just didn’t have any speed.  When I hit the mile markers the times I wanted to see just weren’t there.  It’s not like I wasn’t trying.

Around mile 9 I started having problems.  I needed to pee.  I contemplated dashing off into the bushes.  Peeing became the least of my worries as my guts thought that it would be a great time to expel their contents in both directions.  I had only 4 miles to go so I puckered up and kept going.  It was not pleasant.  I fully expect to see some horrid looks on my face in the race photos.

I finished in just under 1:33 nearly 8 minutes slower than last year.  I’ve racked my brain as to why this happened.  Maybe I didn’t rest enough?  I came out of recovery and jumped to nearly 40 miles per week for the two weeks before the race.  I ran a pretty hard 13 mile run just one week before the race.  Maybe if my guts had cooperated I would have run faster?  Or, probably, I overestimated my current ability and went out too fast suffering the consequences later in the race.

The truth is that it doesn’t really matter why I didn’t hit my goal.  What matters is that I now know my ability and I have to work hard and smart to return to my previous levels and then surpass them.  I will surpass them.  My motivation level is at an all time high which is my biggest asset and biggest liability.  I’m mentally ready to do the work but I keep trying to pile on too much too soon.

I had planned to skip running on Tuesday to help recover from the race.  I was so antsy to get out there that I chose to run 4 or 5 miles at recovery pace.  I got out there and my shins hurt a bit.  Instead of heading home early I did 5.  5 used to be barely worth the time.  These days 5 is a decent workout for me (and that makes me sad).  The next day I did another 5 and my shins felt better.  The day after that I did yet another 5 and my shins hurt more.  I want to train.  I want to run 12 miles each day at lunch.  I can’t do that when my shins feel like this.  So, once again, I’m sitting it out and waiting.  I’ll take today off.  I’ll probably skip my beloved long run on Sunday.  Next week will be the week…right?

My next race is Goofy’s Challenge at Disney World.  Goofy’s Challenge is half marathon on Saturday followed by a full marathon on Sunday.  I don’t know how to train for that or to treat that.  It’s not really a goal race.  My next true goal race will probably be Boston in April 2011.

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2 responses to “Return to Racing

  1. Hey congrats on getting over your injury!
    Just wondering how long you reckon before I could start back running. I have a grade 2 stress in my post tib. I know you’re not a a doctor but you’ve been through the rehab so I’d love to hear your opinion.
    Also, how much fitness do you think you lost?
    cheers

  2. Stan,

    It took about 8 weeks from diagnosis to when I started running again. After that it was 6 weeks of slowly ramping up mileage based on a Pftzinger “return to running” from stress fracture recovery plan. That’s a typical recovery. I know someone that hasn’t run in 12 weeks and still can not run. Her case may require surgery…

    I’d love to say that I didn’t lose much fitness but, truthfully, I lost quite a bit. I went from running a 3:09 (pre-injury) marathon to struggling to run a 1:31 half marathon (post-injury).

    If you keep up your fitness using pool running and other cross training you’ll do better than I did. I know people that have come back to have PRs immediately following a stress fracture!

    Best of luck to you!

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