State of Running – August Edition (What a Difference a Year Makes)

It’s a bit late but it does not mean that I have not been thinking about where I am running wise.  As I type this I am less than 30 days from the Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon (or Lehigh Marathon as I call it).

I have been training hard – and if all goes according to plan- I will have run 67 miles this past week.

Training for a September marathon is such a different beast.  My  3 previous marathons have taken place in November (see recap here) meaning that I was not “peaking” until September, when the weather is a bit less soupy.  BUT I made the decision and now I am starting to visualize the starting line more and more as the days go by.

As my miles have increased it has also given me a chance reflect on where I am 30 days out from the Lehigh Marathon and where I was 30 days out from the New York City Marathon last year.  It has made me realize – what a difference a year makes.

If you told me a year ago that I would be running a fall marathon, I would have said you were crazy but I have goals and this marathon fit in with them perfectly.

A jumble of emotions has been coursing through me, I have tried many times to write this post but has just become a lot of run on sentences.  So – I think it is best if this month’s “State of Running” post is presented in bullet form.

So, without further ado…

Lehigh Marathon

  • Last Year – I was dealing with a major bout of Plantar Fascitis to the point where I was in physical therapy 3x a week.  From the moment I got out of bed, each step I took  was sore and painful.  I was still running 60 miles a week BUT wearing sneakers ALL.THE.TIME.  I was doing all that I could to “manage” my condition but could never alleviate the pain.
  • This Year – Plantar Fascitis still flares up from time to time BUT I am in PT only 1x per week to keep the soreness and pain at bay.  More importantly – I am walking without any pain/discomfort or soreness.  I still wear supportive shoes and avoid flip flops.
  • Last Year – Runner’s Knee flared up around September/October.  My knees were taped my quality workouts and I even taped both of them prior to running New York.  I smelled like a mixture of Tiger Balm and Biofreeze for the last month as I tried to find some relief.
  • This Year – No Runners Knee (SHHHH- I am afraid if I say it too loud it will come back.) BUT really – a combination of increasing my mileage slowly (thanks Coach James), making sure I recover correctly and NOT racing a lot this summer has really helped me both build a base and  keep me injury free.  I also think that the inclusion of strength work (especially for my glutes and hips) as I returned to running has helped as well.
  • Last Year – Large jump in mileage in a short period of time that I don’t think my body got used to.  I remember being tired all the time and never felt that I truly recovered.  I never told my coach (thinking this was a part of marathon training) but my coach never asked me as well.
  • This Year – I have had a more manageable mileage build.  Yes – I am running 60ish miles a week now but that has been building since February when I started working with Coach James.  The slow progression (sometimes much slower than I would have liked) was smart (although I hate to admit it) and has kept me sane and healthy
  • Last Year – Week day easy 10 miles runs (always done before work) that became monotonous.
  • This Year – I am still running some week day 10 milers but Coach James has broken them down so that I am still running 10-11 miles on some week days but 3/4 are done before work and the remain 1/4 of the workout is done when I get home.  This has helped me remain less cranky (although Mark would have to confirm this) and helped me get “comfortable” running on tired legs.  Something I am sure I will be thankful for at miles 20-26.2
  • Last Year – I can’t be sure but according to my clothes I think I was a good 5-10 pounds heavier.  Yes – I am on the tall side but extra weight is still extra weight that can slow any runner down.
  • This Year – My clothes that were tight last year fit better.  I believe this is due to marathon mileage but also some changes I have made in my diet.  Less dairy (good-bye greek yogurt; hello daily egg whites).  A daily shake on my way to work (before breakfast).  More fish (especially salmon) and complex carbs at dinner and the return of salads  for lunch.  I have to give a big shout-out to Mark who started championing the lunch time salad push.  His weekly chicken meal prep has made it easier to put together a salad each day.  That does not mean I have given up beer and frozen yogurt – I have just lessened my consumption.
  • Last Year – Yes I did have a coach but looking back he did not initiate conversations throughout training and really left me floundering at the end of my training cycle. Give me a plan and I will follow it BUT not having a coach reach out and ask me how I am doing was more of a problem than I realized at the time.  It was only four days before the New York City Marathon that he called me and “sort of” gave me a plan to execute.  It’s probably one of the reasons why I did not feel confident come race day.
  • This Year – Constant and continual communication with my Coach as well as several “off the ledge” talks which have really helped me mentally.  Mark is a great sounding board but sometimes you need a Coach to lay out the big picture for you  – he might be faster than me but the trials and tribulations of training are the same no matter the pace.  His level headedness and willingness to take me on when I was not even running over the winter AND his confidence and pure love of running has been great.  Don’t get me wrong – this plan is challenging but I have “enjoyed” it (thus far), and I have no doubt that I will have a race plan more then a couple of days out from September 11th.

On Ward and Up Ward!


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