Monday, January 9, 2012

Training log - Week ending 1/08/12

This week was 25.5 miles of “real running”, “47 miles” pool running, and “18 miles” on the arc-trainer plus 2500 yards of swimming breathing drills -- training log is here.

Heh.  What a week.  The good news is that the shin is improving; the bad is that I had a most trying week, full of calamities that were at least partially of my own making.  I don't completely blame myself, but the fact is that the stresses of the past few months and weeks have been catching up with me, and I'm frazzled to the point where I'm doing silly things like leaving my bag on the front seat of my car.

Even more frustrating is the "will I/won't I" thing I'm going through with regard to the Houston Half Marathon, which is this coming Sunday.  I had really been looking forward to this trip -- meet up with lots of online friends who I rarely (or never) see in person; watch the Olympic Marathon Trials on Saturday; run a fast half-marathon on Sunday.  But, I'm leaning (sometimes strongly, sometimes weakly) towards not going.

Essentially, I've got some inflammation of my left tibialis anterior muscle going on -- the result of stupidly tying my shoe too tight (as you can see the tendon associated with the muscle runs over the front of the ankle and then across the foot -- crank your shoe way too tight and it binds the tendon and places additional stress on the muscle).  I've done this one before, and it's always cleared up with a few days of easy running.  This time however, despite being supercareful and taking 5 days of no running the inflammation persisted and even worsened a bit.  It's steadily improved this week (I've been running carefully on it) but is still a question mark.

The inflammation is in much part due to a bad cycle -- the muscle swelled in a location on the lower shin where it's essentially landlocked by the tibia bone, other muscle, and fascia.  So, there's no room for it to swell, so it gets squeezed and irritated, which means that it swells more, and....

What I ran in on Sunday --
hot pink compression socks and baby blue shorts
to complete the picture.  No shame.
I've been working with a PT, and following his instructions regarding a combination of continued activity, epsom salts, elevation whenever not in use, and horrid compression socks (the picture to the left doesn't capture just how bright the socks are).  And it's been improving.  The elevation is especially key -- as my PT explained to me, he wasn't concerned with my running some on it as much as he was concerned with the percentage of my day that was spent with my shin below my heart, encouraging fluid build up in that area.

This was really brought home to me on Wednesday, when I had to spend about 4 hours either on my feet or sitting in a chair with my leg not elevated as I tried to replace stolen phone, rent a loaner car, etc.  That was by far the worst day for the shin - it was fairly stiff and noticeably sore by the end of the day.  In contrast, a fairly hard Sunday "long run" (10 miles of easy running, then finishing with a progressively harder 50 minute effort on the arc-trainer) was no issue -- the leg looked better on Monday morning (post long run) than it did on Friday.

Thus, my conundrum with traveling to Houston this coming weekend.  It seems like the leg would most likely hold up for the race, and I don't believe I've lost much fitness these past 2 weeks.  On the other hand, running the Houston half is not so important to me that I'm willing to risk any further injury, or screwing up my planned spring races.  My coach is advising me not to run it for this reason, and that carries a lot of weight.

And, of more concern than the running is the toll that the travel would take on me.  Due to crappy circulation, my legs swell whenever I fly (even with compression socks) and I'm very concerned that two flights in 3 days plus being on my feet all day at the airport, in the expo, and watching the trials will set my shin's recovery back weeks.

And then there's the fact that I'd have to wear pink compression socks, combined with my red team sportsbra, if I raced.  Even I have my pride.

So, I go back and forth.  I decide not to do it, and then I run 10 miles on the shin, feel good, and wonder why the heck I'm not running my goal race.  Heck, at its very worst (after 4 hours of standing on it) it's only hurt about a "3" on a scale of 1-10.   And generally, it's just stiff and a bit sore when the ankle's flexed the right way.  It's really not the sort of pain or discomfort that would result in most people skipping a goal race.

 And then I remember that I am absolutely terrified of having to miss a month plus of workouts, or not run to my potential in my spring races. 

But then I'm also curious -- how fast can I run a half marathon off of 3 weeks of minimal slow running plus tons of cross training.

Ah well.  I still have a few days to decide.


Monday: In the morning, strength training (focused mostly on core) and injury prevention exercises, plus an easy 6 miles on the towpath (8:14 pace) and then  by 65 minutes of easy pool-running for “6.5 miles.”

Tuesday: In the morning, 4 miles easy on the track (8:05 pace), followed by a pool-running workout (10x3:00 hard, 1:00 easy), and then PT for A.R.T. and dry needling.

Wednesday: In the morning, a progressive 80 minute effort on the arc-trainer that I would equate to an 11 mile progression run. Middle of day spent on progression frustration workout (trying to replace phone, get car fixed, etc).  In the evening,70 minutes of beltless pool-running for "7 miles."

Thursday: In the morning, 1000 yards of swimming breathing drills and then 70 minutes of beltless pool-running for "7 miles", followed by upper body and core strength work, plus injury prevention exercises.   Foam-rolling at night.

Friday: In the morning, 5 miles easy on the track (8:01 pace), followed by a pool-running workout (10x3:00 hard, 1:00 easy), and then PT for A.R.T. and dry needling.

Saturday: In the morning, 1500 yards of swimming breathing drills and then 80 minutes of beltless pool-running for "8 miles."  Weights in the evening.

Sunday: A “hybrid long run” – first 10 easy miles (8:00 pace) and then 50 minutes on the arc-trainer at a progressively harder effort to simulate our fast finish long runs (equivalent to 7 miles)  Followed with a shakeout 15 minutes of pool-running for "1.5" miles, and then hot yoga at night.


  1. Oooof. These kinds of decisions are tough, and I'm ill-equipped to offer any unsolicited advice. I hope that it heals quickly either way.

  2. If you race, you NEED to wear the pink socks, red sports bra, and perhaps some neon green/orange shorts. Klassy.

  3. The socks aren't horrid. I actually really love them! As for the clashing, embrace it.

  4. I agree, I love the socks and love Beth's idea! (I also know you secretly long for my arm warmers!)

    Seriously, I know the indecision you face, hope whatever you decide, it works out best!

  5. It's a tough call but luckily you have a few more days to decide. You could also start the race and be ok with DNFing if the shin hurt. Hope it heals ASAP!

  6. Tough to decide on the race- but I would still go on the trip even if u decide not to race. Im assuming flight and hotel are payed for, I mean, it would be amazing to watch the olympic trials (!!) and hang with friends.
    Maybe some absolute rest, aka vacation, will do a calf good.

    In any case, I hope it worls out for the best!! gd luck!!

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