Sunday, January 4, 2009

Running with Discomfort

Triathletes are pretty adept at training and racing with an injury. Remember that sciatic problem from way back in March of 2008? Well, it turns out that it's not my sciatic but rather a very tight hamstring. And since the 50K two weeks ago (maybe it wasn't a good idea to bump my mileage from 14 miles to 22 miles to 32 miles in a 4-week period), this tight hamstring has now spread to my quad and calf resulting in patello-femoral syndrome, a fancy word for knee pain. My knee hurts everyday but all this falls under discomfort, something we as athletes know well. Some days it feels less like discomfort and more like pain. During a couple of runs, it hurt so bad I felt like I was going to throw up, a pain reflex unknown to me until these past two weeks. I wake up at least once a night because my glute muscle is locking up on me. I couldn't get comfortable in my seat while watching the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, it didn't help that the movie was 2 hours and 48 minutes. But I managed to hit most of my key workouts as I prepare for the Rock 'n Roll Arizona marathon in two weeks. I am now officially in taper mode. If I had a coach, he would have told me to just take time off and rest and do the race on the training I was able to get in pre-injury. But since I don't have a coach, I am doing what every other obsessive/compulsive triathlete would do, try and train through it. My goal was just to make it to yesterday's long run of 20+ miles (14+ miles at 7:00-7:30 pace with the last 10K on the track at marathon pace between 6:30-6:45). I've been doing most of my training geared toward finishing the last 10K really strong. One skill I've acquired training this way is the ability to hit my pace regardless of my form. I've hit 6:30 miles at the end of my run with no knee lift, hands up into my armpits, landing like I have lead in my shoes, and about as erect as if I was running into a 100+ mile headwind. It may not look pretty, but I'm gonna hit my pace that last 10K in two weeks!

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