Friday, October 19, 2012

Funny Thing Happened Along The Training Plan ...

My knee after my tumble.
Everything was going so well, so smoothly and the miles were piling up.I was closing in on a career-high monthly mileage total. Marathon training was going great. It was as if it was too good to be true.

Then reality hit, and it was too good to be true.

Actually, reality didn't hit. I hit ... the ground ... hard.

On August 25, I decided to take my marathon training to the trails. I was getting a little bored running on the roads, so I thought I'd mix things up on the trails. The plan was to get 20 miles in, but those plans got changed shortly have mile 3.

Things were going great. It was a comfortable morning, temps in the low 60s and the humidity was very tolerable for August. It was dark when I started at 5 a.m., so I was a headlamp. I wasn't going too fast because it was dark.

I was focusing on the trail to try not to trip and fall. But then, on my third loop around the trail, I was feeling comfortable about the trail. I got a little distracted and then ...


My foot caught a root and I went sliding along the trail.

At first, my injuries appeared superficial. A scraped up knee and elbow, and a sore wrist - apparently I tried to catch myself, but it happened so fast I don't remember.

After cleaning myself off, I continued to run. And everything seemed a-OK. But along mile 10, my right big toe started barking. I knew 20 miles were out of the question.

I finished 12 miles and headed home to ice.

(FLASHBACK: I broke my right big toe some 20 years ago, and every now and then it acts up.)

So, my fear was I had broken it again. At this point, I was EIGHT WEEKS AWAY from the 7 Bridges Marathon. A broke toe likely meant no running for 6-8 weeks, which meant NO MARATHON.

To say I was panicking would be an understatement.

That Monday (Aug. 27), I had it checked out with an athletic trainer at work, and THANKFULLY my toe was badly bruised. A week and a half of rehab, rest and no running, and I'd be back at it.

During this time, it was a great learning experience. I learned the joys of the spin bike and cross training. This really helped me to refocus on my training. I came back with a vengeance. Posted one of my best months ever in September. I ran 150-plus miles for the third time ever but averaged over 9 miles per run - clearly my best ever.

September ended with my final long run - a 22-miler with a time of 3:51 and an average of 10:23 per mile!

When it happened, I never thought I'd be thankful for an injury. But that bruised toe was a blessing in disguise.

And now I am two days away from the marathon, and I'm so looking forward to the journey.

Happy running!

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