I truly cannot believe that I haven't written since MAY! Well, that right there is evidence of the reality of my athletic life right now. It has been, for the most part, nonexistent. I've done workouts here and there - and even a couple little races - but nothing at all near full strength/fitness. I just haven't gotten into any kind of rhythm. My triathlon goal is on hold until next summer due to injury/lack of motivation. I have dealt with hamstring pain/tightness for all of my running life and after running a 5K last spring I experienced some pretty severe lower back pain. I went to the orthopedist about these two issues - hamstrings and lower back - and left with a diagnosis of femoral acetabular impingement in BOTH hips. Awesome. I've never experienced hip pain before. (Tightness, yes, but what runner doesn't?) Apparently both of my hips are totally trashed. Sweet. I got cortisone injections on both sides and was on my way. I cannot really report whether they worked or not because I haven't truly tested them with any sort of regular training regimen. Hopefully that will change soon.
As mentioned above, I did do a couple of fun little races. The first was a Duathlon (IronGirl Bloomington, 2 mile run, 22 mile bike, 2 mile run) and the second was last week's Gobble Gallop, a 5K on Thanksgiving. Both were fun but by no means at any kind of full effort. I took them both easy, the Duathlon because it was my first multisport experience (loved it!) and the 5K because I am just not in shape to go fast. Both were a great time had with family and friends.
Here is me participating in my first multisport race, a duathlon!
Sometimes it truly is fun to just do these things because I can, and not because I am trying to prove/achieve something. Minus a horrible asthma attack (that landed me in the ER) during/after the Duathlon (caused by the cold temps), I really just enjoyed both events and loved having a casual/fun attitude about them. But I'd be lying if I said I was content to just participate. I am getting itchy. I want a little more. I need, well, a goal.
I have one. It's a bit lofty. And it's a bit against some of the things I've been saying over the past several months. But I am gonna do it. I think. I hope. I am going to run a very casual, no-frills trail marathon...
I was first introduced to this race in, I think, 2008 when my friend and ultramarathon veteran Melissa ran the race. She suggested I come out and "run her in" to the finish. (Basically, I parked at the finish and ran up the trail until I found her...then I ran with her to the finish.) I had already done my own workout that morning and was only planning to run about 5 miles total. We both had our cell phones so that she could get in touch with me and give me an estimate on when to get out there. She had initially planned to run the 50K (there is a 50K and a Marathon, both of which are longer than they say on this unmeasured course that changes from year to year - around 30 and 34 miles respectively) but called to tell me she was having a tough day and decided to do the marathon instead. Well, her day continued to be rough and I ended up running much more than I had planned! I think I ran over 10 miles...which was fine, but not what I was prepared for. But, I loved it. There were river crossings (I definitely got wet!) and it was a mildly technical, single-track course. But it was fun and I thought: that would be fun to do some day! I have been running trails more than roads recently and, well, even if I am not in prime marathon form by March, I think I can get myself fit enough to tough it out.
We'll see. I haven't run more than 6 miles since last spring. And really haven't done any truly long runs at all since the NYC Marathon last November. A year ago. Also, I have only sporadically done any strength/core training and, well, I have a few extra pounds that I could stand to shed before toeing a start line. But there's time. "You have 13 weeks!" Coach Wendy told me optimistically. She's always optimistic. And encouraging. And ambitious. And a risk-taker. So...here I am. I ran 6 miles a couple of weeks ago. This weekend I am going for 8. That is where this will start. We'll take it from there.
I am not, at least right now, training formally with Wendy (who, by the way, recently completed a PR Marathon and starts training for her first 50 miler in January.) (This will be her second ultra, she did a 60K last March.) But that doesn't mean that she's not assisting me. Like it or not, she fields texts from me frequently with questions and requests for advice/suggestions. And she always answers them. Until she indicates otherwise, I will continue abusing her...
That's it! I hope to keep up my swimming and cycling as much as I can indoors. I had initially thought about doing some more serious Tri training this winter...but it's just hard for me to totally focus on it without a race in the near future. I haven't really grasped the whole thing yet and, until I get a couple of races under my belt, I don't think I'll really understand what I need to work on. So for now, I will work on improving both sports and using them as cross training. The reality is, I love those trails. And running takes very little effort in the way of preparation/gear/planning. I can just go out and do it. The key, of course, is doing so. For now, that challenge is enough.