Week 15 - Chicago Marathon Training

Well, I'm not sure there could be a worse start to marathon training than the last two weeks I've had. Last week I did 25 miles, and this week I made it to 29. Seriously? Yes. WTF?

My first run back on Tuesday was legit. I did 8 miles, felt great, went a little bit too fast, but still kept it at an easy pace. The next day, I was supposed to do a 12 mile progression run. When I woke up that morning, my ankles were killing me when I got out of bed. It felt like I sprained them. I've struggled with weakness in my ankles since training for the LA Marathon in February, but this was weird. It hurt to stand when I got out of bed. I adjusted my paces for the 12 miler, only expecting to get down to a 7:30 at the end instead of 7:00 pace. Within the first 2 miles, my ankles felt a bit better and warmed up, but then I cramped up at mile 4 and stopped to stretch my side. I was clearly dehydrated and it only got worse as the run went on. I decided it wasn't my day and that I would just do a 5.5 mile easy run. I'd push my 12 to the following day.

Fullerton Loop Trail

My ankles were still sore and I was supposed to have my physical therapy consultation on Thursday, so I thought I'd have a chance to get feedback and advice on how to fix the issue for some piece of mind before I ran that evening. Unfortunately, the physical therapist that was supposed to see me was sick that day, so I had to reschedule. I went out for the same run. 12 miles. I turned back at mile 1.5 and ran back on the grass on the bluff.

At this point, I was mortified. I had only gotten in 16 miles when I was supposed to be at 25, and I was feeling worse every day. The next day was supposed to be a 7 mile aerobic run. I woke up to do it in the morning so that I'd have more time to recover for my long run on Saturday. I was able to do 6 miles, but had to stop twice. I began to feel the way I did when I was training for Big Sur and I was anemic. I wanted to cry on every run and stopped every few miles because I felt like I couldn't breath. I was able to breath fine now, but it felt like my body was going to break instead.

I woke up with intention on Saturday morning. Intention to go out and at least do 10 easy miles, but hopefully 13. I made it less than half a mile before I turned around and walked home. Embarrassed, but not on the brink of tears like when I was training for Big Sur. It felt like I was doing something really wrong to my body rather than my body betraying me. I also hated running in this moment. I came home and did a kettle bell workout so I could break a sweat.

My only hope was my trail run on Sunday. It was hot and I tried really hard to get up early, but I haven't slept more than 7 hours since I got back from my trip, so its been a struggle to get up every day. I made it to the trail at 7:30 and wasn't really sure how to make my way around the entire loop (12 miles all the way around - Fullerton Loop Trail). There's lots of side trails and optional paths with one larger outer loop. It connects through neighborhoods at certain points, so its easy to get lost. I ended up making my way for a total of 8.5 miles. I was beat up at the end too. It was much easier and more pleasant to run on the softer trails than the concrete I'm used to, but the pain in my ankles wasn't completely gone. I ran into a nice man, Yaya, who also happened to be a run coach. It was clear he was well known on this trail as multiple people stopped to say hello to him while we were chatting. I told him about my ankle pain and he suggested it may be the start of shin splints. He gave me some menthol pads to wear on my ankle when I run again and stressed the importance of stretching. I'm terrible at making time for stretching and now it's biting me in the butt.

I'm feeling lost and uncertain of how to move forward. I've been rethinking my game plan. I know I can still make my way up to 70 miles, but not in the same fashion as my original plan. My schedule for next week is toned down quite a bit. Most paces are easy, but I've scheduled 2 speed workouts. My first goal is to get in the miles so my legs can get used to it. The second is to nail each workout.

Week 15 Schedule:

I'm going to focus on stretching and recovery, strengthening my ankles and my entire body, in addition to the miles.  I'm also going to focus on food. I ate so terribly when I was in Delaware and it carried over into last week when I had no time to meal prep. I want to avoid any issues with anemia again and am not sure if maybe my body is having a hard time recovering and feeling good because of what I'm eating. My friend, Jessica Craig, is a certified nutritionist and has been running for years. She gave me a list of recovery foods to use over the next few weeks. I'm going to document everything I eat and when so she can determine where I'm going wrong or how I can improve. I'll be sharing what works for me and what doesn't in the coming weeks.

I hope your training went well this past week!