Sometimes plans change. This week I made the decision to switch my marathon. I was originally planning to do the Philadelphia marathon in November, but I realized that it just wasn’t the right choice for me for a number of reasons. The first and biggest reason is the way my knee/IT Band/fibula is handling the increase of mileage I’ve been given. My PT slashed my mileage for June and the beginning of July, and we have been increasing it the last few weeks. I don’t like how sore it has been, particularly after longer runs. The idea of working towards 20 mile long runs right now has me nervous, and I’d be heading in that direction in just a few weeks. I’m not sure I’m ready for that.
I also had been watching the excitement building for the Disney marathon weekend registration and was sad about not being apart of it. I’ve done that marathon the last two years, and have also done it during the first year of Dopey. It’s by far my favorite marathon, and I realized that if I decided to register for that marathon instead, then I could have extra time to prepare and rehab my leg prior to training. The cost was also actually cheaper for me to travel to Disney to do that marathon than it would be for me to go to Philadelphia. So on Thursday at noon, I hurried to register. The registration process was pretty frustrating as the new system RunDisney has in place wasn’t prepared to handle the onslaught of eager runners, and this resulted in a number of issues. People were being kicked out of the process, placed in queues for hours, charged twice, and some not knowing if they were even registered. In the end I was able to get my husband and friend registered for the half (her first RunDisney event!), and I registered myself for the marathon. After I received my registration confirmation I knew it was the right decision. I am looking forward to the extra training time, the money I’d save, and of course, running in Disney, my favorite place!
My training this week was also a bit all over the place. I decided this week that I was going to run three races this week, which was put into the original schedule. I wanted to do a trail race as well, but my PT was against it. I continued to plea for it and eventually decided that I would run it anyways (disclaimer- listen to your doctors, don’t be like me!). I had never done a trail race and I would have friends there, plus my family was going to travel to Ellicottville to see the village. I finally told my PT I was going to do it, and he attempted a new taping method to try and keep my IT and fibula happy, which actually might have helped a bit. Thursday’s race resulted in some pain, but I was not bad after the other three races that I was taped up for. This is huge as I have tried other taping methods in the past that haven’t seemed to do much. I’m hopeful that it might help and will try taping it for my 10 and 9 milers this week.
Monday: 3 miles
This run was nice and easy. I decided to stick to the treadmill to help with pounding issues. I was still beat from the heat and pounding of my 15k run on Saturday and with 10 slated for the next day, I figured that would be the smartest choice.
Tuesday: 10 miles
This was my first double digit run after the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Women’s half marathons at the beginning of June. I was super nervous about it, but it ended up going way better than I had hoped! It helped that the temperature was a little lower and humidity was down, but I averaged almost a full minute lower per mile than Saturday’s long run disaster.
Wednesday: 1 mile
To maintain my run streak I ran just one mile. It was easy paced and I worked on form.
Thursday: 4 mile race
My goal was to run a PR. I had run a 30:06 a few years ago, and I achieved that goal by running a 29:10! I was pretty psyched to run that fast on a hot night. I also came in as third overall female and second in my age group.
Friday: 5k race that ended up being 3.4
Some issues on the course lead to roughly three different course lengths. Some runners ran under 5k, some hit the 5k, some went over. When I realized that I was running longer than a 5k and that other people were running a shorter course, I definitely gave up a bit. It was hard to push when you didn’t really know how far you were going to be running. However despite the fact that I ran long, I was still able to snag first in my age group. The award was a cool bowl with the race on it and first place. It was also another hot night.
Saturday: 5k race
We thought this one was going to be a cooler race, however temps were near the 80’s and it was full sun at race start. I loved the Christmas theme of the race, and participants dressed appropriately. I was excited to win my age group and place third overall female, even though I struggled to maintain pace during the run. I think racing three days in a row was taking its toll.
Sunday: Supposed to do 8, was rebellious and did a 4.6 mile trail race
I had always said I didn’t want to do a trail race, but as people predicted, I finally decided to give it a try. Apparently I picked a difficult course to start on. It was the EVL 4, and it took place at a ski resort, where you ran up the mountain for roughly 1.5 miles, before you hit some technical terrain as you wove around a single track in the woods. Then you did switch backs down the mountain heading towards the finish. The post race party was fun, with food and beer from 42 North. All finishers of the 4 and 9 mile races received an awesome finisher medal and then top three in ten year age groups received a pint glass with the race logo on it.
My experience was interesting. In the first 1.5 miles I noticed some fibula pain, so I ended up walking some of the uphill because I was nervous that this was happening at the start of the race. My PT’s warning of trails not being good for my fibula issues was echoing through my head. Once we finished the climb and got to the technical part I felt a little better, until I made a wrong turn. The course was well marked, but I was so concerned about my footing, that I missed an arrow and went off on my own. I ended up in a huge mud bank, because of course we had our first major rain in weeks the night before, and the mud bank decided it wanted my shoe, ripping it off while I was running. I had to go back and pry it out of the mud and then go and try to find the correct path. Luckily I hadn’t ventured off too far, and was able to get back into the race. I also had two instances where I nearly fell, but managed to save both at the very last second, avoiding slamming into the ground. I enjoyed the switch backs, and was able to make up ground, though a few times I felt like I was being pulled sideways down the mountain. I was definitely relieved when I saw the finish line and was able to zip across it. I was already feeling muscle fatigue in my hips and quads from using stabilizing muscles I don’t need when road racing! I was pretty shocked when I found out I still placed second in my age group, despite all of my issues, and I placed seventh female overall.
Everyone started talking to me about future trail races, but I am going to go back to listening to my PT and putting them on hold. I am glad I decided to do it. It was a different experience and I did enjoy the challenge and my mishaps definitely made me laugh, but I can see why my PT was so concerned about the races and will wait until I get permission to do another one.