Physical Therapy (aka the Marathon Dream Crusher)
I went to physical therapy. I wish I had gone sooner, or that I waited until after Chicago. The physical therapist, Elizabeth, told me not to run for 2 weeks to let my body reset. That puts me 13 weeks out from Chicago with barely a base to stand on. I know the PT is right. My body is in constant pain and I can't expect to run well in my current state. I feel like an 80 year old woman, not a 31 year old athlete.
My muscles are so tight that the pressure running is putting on my body has to be routed to places it shouldn't be. Because my feet and ankle muscles are in knots, every step I take while running can't be absorbed by my feet muscles and is then moved to other parts of my leg and hips which is why I have hip and back pain. My lack of stretching after my runs and workouts doesn't help either. Initial thoughts are NBD, right? At least I don't have a serious injury like plantar fasciitis or a fractured bone. But it hurts. Constantly. Nothing feels good.
For now, I'm able to cycle and swim as much as I want to keep my cardio up. We all know that cardio while cycling or swimming is not the same cardio as running. I did a cycle class last night and it felt easy on my lungs even though we did lots of intervals and sprints. I think I'll need to do 2 classes in a row to equal a 10-12 mile run. The struggle is real right now. I want to run forever. I don't want to run marathons forever, but while I'm running them, I want to be the best I can be.
I have lots of foot exercises and stretches to do daily to loosen my ankles and hips. I know that I can train for a marathon in 13 weeks, but I really want to try the high mileage plan I put together. It looks like I'll be limited to safely doing a 50-55 mile peak instead of the 70 miles I hoped for.
I'm struggling with purpose. I don't want to be in pain, but I think about what my life would be like without running. Without races, without a goal. But why do I keep doing this to myself if it hurts?
I want to be a better athlete, but I also struggle with age, which is generally just a number, but in running, it's a huge factor. There's tons of women in their 30's who are great, strong athletes. I think I have a lot left in me, and I'm looking to fix the bad habits I have now to reap the benefit of a long running life later on. Sometimes, I think that I only have a few more years left of racing hard at the marathon distance before I give it up. Other times, I think I have 10 years left. I just want to maximize what time I do have to be great at it.
I'm still planning on sharing my weekly training for Chicago, even if it just includes tons of cycling classes and yoga. I want to be accountable for my training and my healing process. I'm looking to build strength these next few weeks while I recover so I can remain strong through the remainder of this cycle.