OK, so this is really late. As in I promised this report 3 weeks ago, but alas, it's not one I'm excited to write. Therefore, I will keep it brief.
Nashville was amazing. I loved the city. I loved that at 10 a.m. you could go downtown and every bar. EVERY SINGLE ONE would have live music. all day. all night. all live. It was just so cool. I'm not a huge country music fan, but for the past 2 months I've been listening to the country stations on my satellite radio for my drive into work. You see, I really was prepared for this race (at least 6 weeks out). I even wanted to be prepared for the post-race living it up, so I could sing along.
We, our Team in Training group from CT, arrived in Nashville on Thursday for the Saturday race. We had a fun time at the expo. I got a spi-belt knock off and a t-shirt from Brooks that says I heart Nashville, but the heart is a group of runners. I had such a great time getting to know the group of TNT members. We hadn't really trained in the same locations but got along right from the start. I'm looking forward to meeting up with them all again soon.
On Friday we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame. This was really exciting, because really so many people got their start in Nashville. Many of them by playing at those bars I mentioned earlier. We were on our feet a big longer than I would have wanted to, but I was not counting on much from my legs in the race the next day.
Although I had had a great, fantastic, fabulous, dare I say perfect training cycle for the first 12 weeks, the last 6 panned out differently. (particularly the last 4) I had trained through one of the worst winters in CT. I hit MP run after MP run. I had my tempo runs down and had some awesome LD runs. Everything was going better than I could have dreamed. 6 weeks out, I hit a 18 miler with an 8:20 pace and I was practically writing my BQ blog post in my head.
Then my leg started to act funky. It started right at the end of my peak week. It didn't hurt, but it just wouldn't move the same way I wanted it to. My pace slowed, but it was peak week after all. My 23 miler went off without a hitch and I was ready for 2 more weeks before taper. But my leg only got worse. Soon my hip was just plain painful when I ran. I pushed through it and ended up doing a 17 miler the next weekend; right on schedule. I split that run 7 miles easy then a 10.5 mile race (on the hiliest course I've seen). This might have been a bad decision. My purple age group award, though awesome, was not worth what happened next.
I'm not convinced the race was the end of this cycle for me, because I think the damage was already done. However, that ended up being my last long run before the race. I just couldn't bear the pain I'd feel when I was running. I think I totalled about 70 more miles in the next 4 weeks, taking the week before the race completely off. I decided not to decide whether to do the full or the half until I toed the line at the start.
My legs hurt at mile one, but really my hip felt fine throughout the race. My coach would later note that I was favoring it like crazy, but I honestly didn't notice. At mile 9, I decided I would stick with the full. I was going very slow, but faster than I had been able to do in a long time. I was enjoying myself and the TEAM atmosphere. Plus it was my first BIG race and that was exciting too.
Mile 17 was a long, long long, uphill. It was gradual, but tough. In my mind I was using this race as a training run for Vermont City, so I figured about 20 miles of running would be a sufficient training run. After that hill I started a sort of run/walk method. I would run 4-5 songs then walk 1. I usually ended up not walking the whole song, because something would get me excited: a downhill, another TEAM member, etc.
I honestly did enjoy myself on this run, but was completely humbled by my time of 4:39. This is the same time I had for my first marathon 7 years ago. The marathon where I had not trained at all except for by using the eliptical for hours at a time. The marathon where I had run maybe one time a week, my longest run being an estimated 15 miles (but I was not measuring mileage at that point). The marathon where I didn't know about nutrition, or hydrating or any of those things (not to mention tempo runs, MP runs, etc.) It was certainly a hard dose of reality for me. Especially after such a great training cycle.
However, I figured, I'd get back on the horse and nail the Vermont City Marathon. However, the hip, though it didn't hurt during the race, was worse anytime I tried to run afterwards. Vermont is out, it just wouldn't be smart or fun to pull it off. I went to the ortho and had an MRI. I'll get the results on Monday. Though I don't think it's anything major, I'm almost scared to find out that it's nothing. Could all this just be in my head?
In the meantime, I've been swimming again and I'll be biking tomorrow. I've gotten back into spinning more than once a week and I've been making the most of this all. But, I miss running!!!
Sorry this race report went way off on a tangent...