4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Archive for October 2011

No Ironman 70.3 Poconos for me :(

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Today was supposed to be the day that I raced my first half ironman, but that was unfortunately not meant to be.

It all started two weeks ago, the day of the Yonkers Half Marathon.  In what was to be my final real training session, I rode my bike to Yonkers, ran the race and then rode my bike home.  In total, it was 38 miles on the bike, plus a hilly half marathon.  It was the perfect tuneup for what would be a hilly race in the Poconos.  I thought it all went well, and while the 2:17 half marathon was slower than I wanted, I was very satisfied.

Then the next day, I noticed my mid back was a little tight.  In what was a lack of judgement, (very clear in hindsight) I played softball that night, and aggravated my back even more.  At that point I was not concerned because it was mid back, which in my experience feels better after a couple of days, and is a much more mild injury than straining the lower back or the neck/shoulders.

And so I rested for a couple of days, and by Thursday my back was feeling better.  On that day, however, my left eyelid swelled something fierce, and I took it as a sign to take a couple of more days off.  That coincided with a road trip to Syracuse.  On Friday I spent hours in the car, first taking a side trip to Utica to see the Distance Running Hall of Fame (small, but very cool), driving home to NY, and then driving to my house in NJ.  I believe all the time in the car re-aggravated my mid back again, which started bothering me again on Saturday.  I again wasn’t too worried as it was mid-back and I was sure it would feel better within a couple more days.

On Sunday, it was feeling better and I started planning how I would spend my last week of training before the race.  However, during the night, I felt I strained it a bit again.  On Monday I stayed home from work as a precaution, and the extra time in bed really helped a lot and by Monday night it felt fully better.

Now I was getting really worried that I wouldn’t be able to race.  In my despiration, I decided to push myself hard on Tuesday.  The point being that if I strained it again then I knew I could not hold up for 70.3 miles and would skip the race.  However, if I felt good after working myself hard on Tuesday, then I would pronounce myself fit to race.

Tuesday morning I ran 4 miles and felt great.  Well, the run was rough but that was because it was super humid that day and it was my first run in 9 days.  However, I was very encouraged.  Tuesday night I got on my bike for about 45 minutes, and again felt good.  I thought I was good to go.

The proverbial ‘turning point of the game’ occured on Wednesday morning, when awkwardly sitting on my bed, I felt the muscle in my lower back go.  When the muscle in the lower back gets strained, in means immobility and pain for 2 days, and then another week plus before I’m able to run again.  I know the drill well, because I do this every 2 years or so.  The last time was just after the NYC Triathlon in 2009, over 2 years ago.

And so, my dream of my first half ironman was over.  Yes I was sad and bummed out about it, however, I know it is for the best.  Due to my hip/groin injury, I missed 3 months of training and so I knew I was not in the shape I wanted to be to run this race.  It is not the kind of race you want to go in without full preparation.  Also, I’ve been blessed to have run 15 marathons and raced 8 triathlons, and in the grand scheme of things, missing one is not a big deal.

So today, instead of racing, I spent the day hobbling around and getting a preview of what it will be like to move around when I’m in my 80’s.  Yes, I may be hobbling around now, but next week I’ll start running again, I will run a marathon in Dec (my sights are set on Rehoboth Beach), and I will be healthy enough next year that I will be able to toe the line for my first 70.3.


Written by SCL

October 2, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Posted in injury

September 2011 in Review

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Running – 52.2 miles over 9 runs.  Sept saw a steady progression in training until the bottom fell out in my final preparation for Ironman 70.3 Poconos.  During the month, I finally felt like I was healthy, for the first time in a long time.  I started building the distance as well, with runs of 9.6 and 13.1 miles.  I also competed in 3 races.  The only thing I was unhappy with was my speed.  I’m accostomed to running 5k races in 25-27 minutes, and half marathons in the 2:00-2:05 range, and my races this month were well below.  However, there is good reason for this (recovering from injury), and I know my times will come down next year, once I start speed work again.

Races – 3 (East River Park 5k – 29:56; War at the Shore Triathlon – 2:20:24; Yonkers Half Marathon – 2:17:10)

Biking – 79.5 miles 4 rides.  Good quality rides, and again, good progression in preparing for my race.  Ultimately, I believe it was biking home after the Yonkers Half Marathon that initially aggravated my back, and ultimately causing severe injury.

Swims – 4

Gym workouts – 0

Softball – 1 (win!  And first time I felt healthy in softball all year, due to the hard work I did with my personal trainer to heal my hip / groin / glute)

Injuries – My hip/groin/glute issue is almost all gone!  I worked with a personal trainer all summer, and those injuries are slowly diminishing.  As a result, my running this month was completely pain free!  My downfall though was my back, which started acting up the day after the Yonkers Half Marathon, and ended with a severe lower back muscle spasm earlier this week that ended any hope I had of competing in Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains.

Sicknesses – 0

Weight – Down slightly, but honestly, I didn’t take enough measurements during the month to properly compare it to prior months.

Written by SCL

October 2, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Posted in Month End Summary