I put away a 21-mile run last week. My total mileage for the week was 25, so obviously my marathon plan is not the typical plan at this point. Race day is only a few weeks away, and I knew that if I could get a 20-miler in I would know I was capable of/ready for the challenge of Disney. I did two things this past week that I should not have done. The first was that I more than doubled my long run from the week before, which was a doubling of the week before it. My long runs over those three weeks were 7, 12, and 21, a far cry from the ten percent rule of mileage increases from week to week. Given that my heel has caused me so much grief and kept me from logging the kind of miles I needed to, I had to test my body, and doubling my long run each week over three weeks was what I came up with. I knew I would be running in shoes so I had some comfort there. I knew I would not destroy my feet because the shoes would help them do their job as well as protect them. I assumed that my legs had the strength in them to cover the miles without putting me at risk, and I had the cardio to handle the task. My only real concern was that my legs had not faced anything over 12 miles, and that was the week before so I had no baseline for recovery and soreness. I also really did not know if my legs were strong enough to handle the 21 miles as I was really only guessing.
The second thing I did wrong was take a running buddy with me who should not have been out there. I asked my running partner Sam if he wanted to run part of it with me, and he volunteered to do the whole thing. Now Sam has never run that far, and his previous best with me was ten miles about three or four weeks prior, so this was not his best decision. I made a halfhearted effort to talk him out of it, but the truth was I knew I would not be able to, and I liked the idea of company. Sadly around mile 15 I left Sam behind to find out around mile 16 another runner found him rolling around on the paved trail flopping like a beached whale with a twitching leg! Around mile 10 he started having cramps in his right quad, and six miles later those cramps were basically attacking him everywhere. After I finished I spotted him 30 minutes, and then I went back for him with my truck. I found him wandering along the sidewalk looking like a zombie. It wasn’t my finest moment as a coach/friend, but he wanted to do it, and I did all I could to get him there before we decided that it was best for me to leave him behind. Sam’s a trooper who has an amazing ability to will his body to accomplish things against all odds. He also has a new-found respect for distance running and has promised me that he will never “disrespect running like that again.”
You really shouldn’t just jump off the couch and run 20 miles, even if that’s sort of what I was doing. For the sake of repeating it, I do not condone any part of what Sam and I did. It was extremely dangerous and dumb, and I would never have someone try it. With that said I ran with relative ease that day and had marginal soreness after (especially on stairs) but felt fine the next day. I’m ready for Disney. I have more running to do before race day, but it’s all pretty much taper from here on out. This all has me feeling good about my chances to finish and have fun. Sure, I’m bothered by an injury, but I’ve found ways to manage it, and I think that’s what really matters at this point.
I mentioned in my last update that I had a doctor’s appointment to have my heel checked out. Due to scheduling changes I was unable to see the doc like I planned, but through emails we’ve come to some conclusions. First he recommends I run in shoes, preferably nothing thinner than my racing flats from Inov-8. To be honest, I’m still thinking about whether or not I’ll honor that request. My heel has gotten worse, but switching to more conventional shoes has helped ease the pain a lot, which is a great thing. I will need to have my heel fixed, but I might not have to have surgery as there are new techniques that are non-invasive. I will look into all of those things after Disney and get myself back to doing what I enjoy the most, which is running, but in something a little less cushioned.