Much has happened since the last time I posted. Marathon training has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. (seriously, does anyone ever have a flawless marathon training cycle? If so, are you a wizard?) A few weeks ago I ran a seemingly harmless 5K. It was a fun race with a beautiful course. Sadly for me two miles of the course were on a rocky trail and had sharp turns. I wore the wrong footwear and paid for it, waking up the next day with an inflamed posterior tibialis. Being the person that I am, I was convinced I had another fracture and handled it calmly and patiently (just kidding, there was much internal screaming going on).
Luckily I was able to get an appointment that next Monday at Direct Performance here in Virginia Beach. Steven and Jake were wonderful and worked on the muscle with metal tools for a bit, then like a very unhealthy individual, I begged them to give me needles, as in; dry needling. This was my first experience with this type of therapy and I wasn’t expecting much but as soon as the first needle was inserted I could feel it working. It’s hard to describe, painful but a really good pain. Like the muscle was contracting and then relaxing without any help from me. Later that afternoon the entire area was sore to the touch but 36 hours later, I felt great, not perfect, but much better. Sorry if you are squeamish but I thought the picture below would give friends a good idea of the process.
At this point the Crawling Crab Half Marathon had been postponed because of Hurricane Joaquin. Thanks to all the hardwork by the J&A Racing staff and the many wonderful volunteers and vendors, it was rescheduled for the following weekend after this injury popped up and I was heart broken even thinking I might miss it. It’s a favorite race of mine and I really did not want to go into the Philadelphia Marathon without a half marathon under my belt for this cycle…so we decided to go for it. The taper was untraditional but with all that had gone on, mentally I was ready. The thought of not running scared me so much that I no longer was afraid or concerned about if I could run fast or win. I just wanted to run! You never know how much you want something until you almost lose it.
Race morning I warmed up with some old friends and new ones. I wore trainers instead of racing flats (which I have never done in a race before) and while I could feel some soreness in my lower calf, there was no real pain. A friend, Michael Leech, and I discussed trying to run close or just under 1:20. The temperature was perfect but there was some wind so we wanted to start the first mile conservative then ease into it. The first mile felt great at 6:16 and then immediately Michael and the other two male runners I was with dropped the pace to 5:58. We’ve been working on making 6:00 pace feel comfortable for me so while my mind was a little panicked thinking we may be a bit too ambitious, I reminded myself to settle in and work it. Once I relaxed, it felt amazing. I felt like our feet barely touched the ground and our little pack stayed together until mile 5. Michael went ahead and the another man (who I do not know) fell behind, so I was on my own for almost the entire rest of the race. I NEVER allow myself to think about running 13.1 miles or 26.2 on marathon day. I always break up the course and focus on getting to the next goal point. After we got to mile 5, I focused on getting to mile 10. At 10, I knew I was feeling good enough to have a strong day. I hit 10 at 1:01 and change, thinking I still had a good shot at sub 1:20. The headwind had started hitting about a half a mile (or mile?) before but I still felt strong. You can tell from my splits though that I started to fade. I caught back up to Michael the last mile and and we went back and forth a bit before he beat me to the finish line. I was SO thankful for his steady pacing early in the race.
So even though I didn’t hit sub 1:20 like I was hoping for, I set a course PR of 1:21:06 and came in first female and fifth overall. I ran a high 1:21 in 2013 before I ran the Philadelphia Marathon so finishing faster was a huge confidence booster for me. I’m definitely not out of the woods with the posterior tibilalis pain but at least I know my fitness is in a good place. The muscle did not hurt at all during the race or the following day, so that was another big mental booster. I’m SO glad I decided to run Crawlin Crab and I’m so thankful for Direct Performance for putting me back together again so quickly. Here are some pics from race day-
Thank you all for reading if you’ve made it this far. If you are interested in reading an awesome recap (way better than mine!), my friend Kevin had a huge PR at the Twin Cities Marathon and wrote about his experience while running with the female elite leaders for a good portion of the race. I loved this recap so thought you all might like it too. Here it is- Kevin Granato TCM Race Report.
Wishing all my friends racing this weekend at the Marine Corps Marathon and elsewhere an amazing race!! Next up I have the Wicked 10K on Halloween. I hope to see many of you there! Happy Training!!