Post Recovery: A Plan and a Stubbed Toe

Hi Friends –

I admit that I have been away from this blog for too long. No excuses, really, just focusing on recovering from the marathon and getting (somewhat expensive and overdue) things done that I put off while I was marathon training.

But, I’m back now, and ready to get started on the next phase of running for me which includes (bum da bum…) another marathon (sigh).

Yeah… that happened.

Before I go into what happened there and what I plan to do about it, let me address the Stubbed Toe part of the title today because I’m pretty annoyed about it. I freely admit that I don’t handle injury or illness well. I assume I can keep on doing what I do, just a bit slower, but I even get frustrated with slower. I strongly dislike having to sit out when I hurt myself, especially when I do something dumb. All that being said: what dumb thing did I do?

My kids have a wooden step stool that, for the most part, stays in the bathroom so they can wash their hands (I don’t think they need it any more, but they still use it and really like it, so I’ve kept it out for them to use). However, now that they are bigger and really want to do some things for themselves (which I wholly encourage), they occasionally move it from the bathroom to the kitchen to reach things in the cabinets. It has now become part of the scenery for me – I usually move it, but sometimes I forget until I need to get something and it is in my way. Last week, I was putting the groceries away – even placing some of the bags on it – and clipped my right pinky toe on the edge of the stool. Daaaaaayyyyymmm. That hurt. The thing of it is: the pain went away and I felt ok until the next morning when I jump out of bed like normal and yelped from the pain. I look down and the toe is swollen and it is black and blue around it… dang. I had rehearsals for a program I’m working on at work and had to dress up for it – only, I couldn’t even fit my foot into my “cute” shoes. After seeking advice from my friends (none of whom are doctors), I decided to tape that bad boy to its neighbor and wear my semi-cute (close toed) shoes all week. That seems to be working and it does feel better.

I tested my toe on Saturday by going for a swim. I didn’t want to try a run and ruin messing up the pledged mileage for Wear Blue Run to Remember Memorial Day Run, so I thought “swimming is less impact – I’ll try that”. Friends, the swim does have a smaller impact on some joints – that is true – but on fingers and toes there is a drag associated with the movements. I was able to overcome that by just swapping strokes every 50 meters. I planned for only 1/2 a mile, but when I got to 1/2 a mile, I felt so good that I just kept going. I ended up with a full mile and appropriately wiped out (…and hongry…). There wasn’t a safe piece of food in my house and I was asleep by around 9… and slept until about 9 the next morning. I even forgot to set the app that records my sleep because I was so tired that night. It was a good sleep, though, and I haven’t slept 12 hours straight since before kids.

Now… back to the marathon… If you read my post about the Rock and Roll Raleigh Marathon, you’ll know that I was happy with my time. I really was… conditionally. By “conditionally”, I mean, I use modifiers like “considering the heat” and “the course was really hilly…” and similar comments. While, yes, these things are factors, when you say them enough, they start to feel like excuses. If you are a runner, you understand what I mean. The thought process associated with this habit is not always a rational one, even for otherwise relatively rational people. I am a mostly rational person: I understand the terrain of the route was exceptionally hilly (I mean, how many times have I griped about that here?), and I get that it was hot… and humid, and sunny – which is draining. Let’s not even mention that it was my *first* marathon, so, despite all my preparation (and I believe I was very well prepared), there is something about the experience of it that makes a difference: actually going past that 22 miler is a huge deal.

All that being said: I also know I can do better. I’m not a perfectionist and I understand my limits, but I don’t think I’ve reached my limit yet. I’ve promised my friends and family that I’d only do 2 more in the short term to chase the Boston Qualifying time – if I don’t get it by the third one (at the moment, the third one I am targeting is the Tobacco Road Full next March if I don’t make BQ time with my next one this fall), I’ll scale back to one a year (because I like the additional mileage of the training) and just do them the best I can… maybe my BQ time will catch up to me in a few years – haha.

I do have a plan, folks. Throughout the last, I dunno, 4 miles or so of the marathon, I kept thinking “I wish I had done more mileage”. Yes, I know I just said I felt well prepared – and I was – but I think with more base miles, I might be able to handle the ‘end-of-race’ break down a little better. I was well prepared for a first marathon, but not as prepared for a marathon at the pace I wanted… not yet. I know those are the toughest miles, but at the pace I kept for the first 17 miles of the race, I didn’t have the stamina to keep it up past that. Again, I have no regrets about my training plan for the first time, but now with a bit of experience in my back pocket, I think I do need to be a little more aggressive with my training – and a *LOT* more disciplined about strength. I know I had it on my training plan each week here, but execution was easy to forget until I got around to updating the blog and realized I only did it once that week when I planned for three times. I’ll put it on my calendar this time so I get reminded to do it and do it while catching up on Doctor Who or maybe Sherlock – I do have the iPad for that purpose, after all.

As for the running part: I’m going to use the mileage and schedule from the 3:30 plan on RunKeeper – by the same author of the 3:45 plan I followed last time, but use the pace targets (or hopefully a tad faster) from the 3:45 plan. The 3:30 plan has 5 run days. The weeks I have my boys, my plan is to run all 5 days. The weeks the boys are with their dad, my plan is to swim the extra run day (which is actually between two speed days).  My thinking is that the swim day will provide me with the exertion (possibly a bit more) of the additional run, but be less impact and provide overall body conditioning I can’t get from a pure run. The run schedule should follow a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday schedule giving me only Thursday and Sunday off with the exception of the first week, and about 3 step back weeks (including the taper week). I’ll start the schedule the Monday after my half marathon at Hatfield McCoy (first half) in June (the 16th to be exact) and my target race is the Portland Marathon (yeah, in Oregon… on the other side of the country from me) on October 5. I have 3 opportunities to do a half marathon and knock out a state, provided I have the money for a trip – they are July 19, August 2, and Sept 20. Most likely candidate for a race will be September 20, though, as I’m not exactly excited about the prospect of running a half marathon in the middle of the summer… more to come on the race schedule, though.

Like last time, though, I will log my training here and share it with you because I tend to be better about following through with all my workouts, acknowledging my achievements, and identifying areas for improvement when I write it down.

Between now and June 16, though, I’ll post on my training and my climb back up to 30 mile weeks. Hopefully, starting today with 5 miles. (fingers crossed)

Happy Memorial Day and many, many thank yous to those who have served our country and those who support them.



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