This week was supposed to be a week where I recover from the 30 miler and taper for the 50. It turned out to be an injury week. My last run was Tuesday morning, a nice 4 miler before work. Later in the afternoon I attempted a mountain bike ride on the trails in Manchester, FOMBA. What a great trail system except that I crashed a few times and had issues clipping out, and injured my left knee.
There was a lot icing and ibuprofen, and perhaps a bit of despair this week. I foam rolled more than I ever have in my life; maybe twice a day. I started swimming on Friday, and on Saturday ended up joining a lane of master swimmers at the Y. That was fun. It seemed by the end of day Saturday it was about 70% healed. I did every type of activity I could except running. On Sunday afternoon I even went on a bike ride on the QR. After 9 months of no biking and swimming, it felt great to be in the aero bars and swim in the pool.
Sunday was the highlight of the week. I supported Alex at his mountain bike race. I’ve learned how to be an excellent sherpa from Than so it was fun to figure out where he would come out of the woods for a photo op and to cheer him on to Top 10 results. Woo Hoo. After all the races I’ve done and knowing how important it is to hear someone cheering for me, it is truly so fun to do it for people I care about. The mountain biking crowd is so different from Ironman and Ultra running. The race venue was at a park in southeastern Massachusetts, a place I’ve never been and it was great to get out of dodge.
Monday – May 20 – 6 days until race day. 50 Miles. This is my B race. Race 3 of 5 of the dream year. I’m ready. I’m focused. Mark is pacing me and we are celebrating his birthday. Yeah May, Yeah 50 Miles. Yeah to doing things you’ve never done before and crushing it!
My knee is still inflamed and sore but getting better after crashing on a mountain bike Tuesday night. It was my first time on a mountain bike since 2014, and my first time riding trails in New Hampshire after biking in Arizona and Colorado. In retrospect, I probably should not have biked so close to race day but I chose adventure instead of caution.
I’m a pretty cautions person when it comes to choosing to turn back so I can live another day in the mountains. But I really didn’t think mountain biking would be dangerous. I love mountain biking and just laughing as I speed down hills and sweat going up the hills in the woods. It’s so much like skiing in that you are in the moment and not thinking about anything else. Whereas with running you are thinking of everything. When you get that chance to ride in a place you’ve never been with a fun, hot mountain bike racer, you take it. Ha! Crashing on roots and rocks, while not ideal, is part of the adventure. I forgot that.
But alas, I’ve been here before. Not really thinking of the outcomes but taking the adventure because I wanted to do something new or different. It’s why I took a job in Concord and moved here in 2017. It’s why I took risks in relationships and signing up for a race I wasn’t sure I could do.
It’s about the adventure.
I’m trying not to despair as I sit on my sofa on a rainy Friday morning contemplating the next few days. While I can’t run and can barely walk, it’s going to be okay. My race is 8 days away and I can’t even taper. The worse case scenario: I don’t make it to the start line. The best case scenario: my knee heals and I make it 50 miles on May 26. So for the next few days I will swim, stretch, foam roll, walk and do the elliptical at the Y.
May 26 is just a race. It’s not the end of the world. [read out loud and repeat]
This is the second recovery week since I started training. What a strange week this has been.
As a recovery week, the mileage during this week was really low and I took a few more days off due to knee pain. I think I figured out what happened with my knee: the fall, over use, stress and putting on too many miles. I’m following a plan that has gradual mileage increases but it still wrecked my body. I think, too, that I stopped weight training and that didn’t help. I did everything right this week, well, maybe not everything right but I iced, rested, elevated and got my legs stronger. Since I had pain in the adductors weeks leading up to the knee injury, I think that part of the knee pain was coming from the weak adductors.
Now, I will get back to weight training and do my core exercises every day. I remember reading that the most important think about ultra running is arriving to the start healthy and injury free. The miles have been a struggle on my aging body and now I understand that I have to do everything I knew I had to do to stay healthy and injury free.
I will do yoga a few times a week and weight training. I will hike and run at night.
Next week is Week 19 – the biggest week yet.
I’m excited for the week and to be strong and healthy.
This week so far, unfortunately has been all about knee pain. I had extreme left knee pain after a four mile run on Wednesday. I purposely took Monday and Tuesday off to give my knee a break but it still hurt to run 4 miles. Then, post-run my knee hurt when walking on even ground and gradual downhills. Climbing stairs and going uphill doesn’t cause any pain. I went to my doctor and she referred me to an ortho doc. Who knows when that appointment will happen. However, today, Thursday after 30 minutes on the elliptical, 750 stairs and weight training the knee seems better; not so much pain. The big test will be Friday, tomorrow.
Jaybird headphone review – I love the headphones and the wireless technology. I particularly liked them while on the stair master and walking around the weight room while listening to music.
Forerunner 35 – I have hooked it up with my phone and all my stats appear in the app. I know steps, heart rate all day long, how long I slept, average resting heart rate and the best thing – the watch vibrates with a message – MOVE – and forces me to get up and walk around when I’m still for an hour. I know it’s trendy to track steps and I’ve never been into it, but now see how addictive getting a lot of steps each day and reaching goals can be. I have a 50,000 step goal each day.
I’m hoping the next few days will be good training days. The weather has been cold and windy but at least no snow. Just hoping ice on the trails melts soon – I need vertical!
After tweaking my calf this past weekend and knowing that I had to take care of it right so that I don’t miss anymore training I followed the advice of the massage therapist: RICE + Epsom Salt bath.
Two nights in a row of ice, stretching, foam rolling and then a hot, Epsom salt bath has cured my muscle strain. It is 100% back to normal; no pain, no more hobbling around.
While there is no scientific evidence that that epsom salt really works, it may just be the relaxing hot bath that did the trick. I’m not sure. But one thing for sure, as I get older I need to do more work to stay injury free and that includes foam rolling, stretching, weights and core work. It takes more time but I willing to do what it takes to prepare for 100 miles. 157 days until race day.