Exactly a month ago, I wrote about how I had decided to back off of my 5 days of running per week and return to the Run Less, Run Faster formula that got me my BQ.
Aches and pains had begun popping up all over, and I knew I was asking for trouble if I kept up the more-frequent running and added 18- and 20-mile long runs on top of it.
I even took two weeks off before I officially started my Boston training. It was tough to not run for two weeks, but I knew it was what I needed, so I committed myself to cross-training and lots of stretching and, since it was around the holidays, the time flew by.
Once I dove back into training again, I was reminded very quickly of how different it is to follow a 3-day plan like this. There are no 'easy runs or recovery runs - every workout counts. The paces and distances are very specific, and very challenging, and I had forgotten that that makes you feel a little nervous every time you head out for a run.
It's not necessarily a bad thing - being a little nervous, I think, is just a sign that I'm very driven and dedicated and willing to work hard to meet the goals I've set for myself.
It does take a little getting used to, though, and by the end of the 16 weeks, truthfully, it gets a little old. But in the beginning, it also adds a little excitement.
Unfortunately, though, the excitement has really been tempered this time, due to the nagging aches and twinges I've been feeling, almost right from the start of this training cycle.
First I had what felt like IT band issues - something I've never dealt with before, so I'm not even entirely sure that's what it was, but I think my self-diagnosis was probably correct - the main symptom was pain and tightness down the outer side of my left leg and knee. I spent a lot of quality time with my foam roller last week, and it really seems to have helped. The discomfort I had been feeling in that area is now nonexistent - even after a 15-miler on Sunday.
It's been replaced by another, more familiar one, though - the upper hamstring/piriformis/lower back issues I had at the end of my training for Gansett.
The obvious difference this time is that I'm at the beginning of my training cycle. Not a good place to be feeling aches and pains.
I went to the chiropractor this morning, and I have an appointment with the orthopedist in two weeks, and once I have a referral in hand, will be heading over to my physical therapist. I have a feeling I'm going to become a regular there in the coming weeks.
I'm not totally freaking out, but I am concerned. I don't feel like my race is in jeopardy. Obviously I can't say that with 100% certainty until I see the orthopedist, but I'm optimistic that I can still get through some semblance of training and prepare myself to run 26.2 miles in Boston on April 15.
But the thing is - I don't want to just run Boston. I want to run a PR - a big PR. And if I can't train for that PR, I'm not going to be able to run it.
If I've learned one thing, though, it's that I have to listen to what my body is telling me. Right now it's telling me to proceed with caution, so that's what I'm doing.
And in light of all this, I'm extremely glad that I scaled back to the 3-days-a-week plan, because I know full well that if I was trying to run 5 days a week right now, I'd be done for.
Keeping my fingers crossed that I can roll, stretch, adjust, and PT my way through this.
And on top of those concerns, I happened to have a completely, horrifically dismal track workout yesterday. I had 6 intervals to run, and I ran every single one of them a good 20 seconds slower than I was supposed to be running them.
I fought so hard to get my legs moving faster, but they just wouldn't cooperate. It was frustrating and demoralizing and depressing, and after the first few intervals, I kind of ignored my watch and just ran the best I could, knowing full well that it wasn't good enough. I figured that was better than quitting altogether.
It was one of the worst workouts I've had in a long, long time, and I had forgotten how bad it feels to fall so far behind where you want to be.
Nobody said this was going to be easy, though, and I'm sure that won't be the only crappy track workout I have.
And when it happens again, I'll do the same thing I did this time - wallow a bit, then move on and resolve to make the next one better. 13.5 weeks to go.
For more from Michelle, check out Me and the Boys, her blog.