2016 in Review & Looking Forward to 2017

I ran a total of 17 races in 2016: 1 marathon (DNF, 19.25 miles), 6 half marathons, 3 10Ks, 5 5Ks, and two random distances for a total of 159.2 miles. I ran 1,297 miles including training runs over the past year, which helped bring my 5K pace down by 2 minutes. I dealt with a couple of mostly minor injuries (including the never going away plantar fasciitis). Overall, I'm proud of what I pushed myself to achieve this past year.

For 2017, I only have two races planned: the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May and the Chicago Marathon in October. The Pittsburgh Half Marathon will mostly be an excuse to explore my new home city, so the Chicago Marathon is what I am going to put most of my focus toward. I know I can do better than I did in December if I stay healthy and train properly. Right now, I'm still focused on recovery. I'm doing pretty well, but I only ran 68 miles in January (plus the 3-6 I'll run today). I'll keep posting about progress and how training is going. I'm probably overdue a post on my experiences taking two months of spin classes...

On Injury And Illness

This past month has been a rough one. My plantar fasciitis flared up, I had a stressful week out of town where a friendship was ended, and I also got strep throat (complete with multi-day fever and severe headache). Needless to say, this has had a dramatic impact on my running. Last month (August), I ran a total of 175 miles. This month? 112 miles. And since I have to take two weeks off running to help my plantar fasciitis calm down and become less inflamed, that number is not going to be increasing. I almost feel a bit hopeless where that is concerned because what really irritates it is walking... and I have to walk commute. I can't stop walking every day unless I work from home every day, which is not possible right now. Anyway... here's how I'm getting through this:

  1. Lots of indoor cycling: I need to exercise and stay off my feet, so hopping on a bike is the best way. I haven't managed to get my heart rate up super high yet, but still working on it!
  2. Ice: I have used a frozen water bottle (roll out my feet and ice them at the same time!) and just plain old ice packs that I wrap on my feet. Helps tremendously.
  3. Rolling out my calves with my addaday roller: I got this gem at Ragnar New England and definitely one of my favorite purchases. It really helps me dig into my muscles like none of my other tools.
  4. Golf/lacrosse ball: I use a golf ball at home and a lacrosse ball at work... all rolling out, all the time!
  5. Ball Leg Curls: My hamstrings aren't quite as strong as they need to be, so I'm trying to take this time to do some strengthening exercises so I can come back even better. This particular one was recommended by my physical therapist.
  6. Planks: My core is strong... ish. Not strong enough and that actually does matter as a runner. It's not just your leg muscles that make a difference! Trying to do planks for about 3 min every day (1:30 per session).
  7. Food: Crappy two weeks mean I also was putting crap in my body. That ranged from too much bad food to not enough food to have any strength (thanks strep!). Going back to my two favorite Runner's World cookbooks, plus some other healthy basics. Gotta have good nutrients to recover and stay strong!

I hope no one else is in my shit-tastic situation, but if you are, you don't have to despair. Just switch it up a bit and take care of yourself.

Recovery

My blog has been pretty quiet because I haven't really had much to report. I went to Crossfit last week, but I mostly rowed a lot and did a ton of substitutions to go easy on my knees. This week, I'm trying to get back into it. Today I did the following WOD as prescribed and completed 237 total reps:

Tabata 16
(:20 on :10 off)

Box jumps (24/20)
Sit ups
Wall balls
Burpees

As for running, I've got a gait analysis scheduled for Saturday so I can make sure that I'm running correctly. I've also been reading a lot and I think I need to stop being focused on my time and just enjoy my runs. With that in mind, I went on a 6 mile run yesterday, switched up my intervals to 3:1, and slowed down significantly. It went pretty well, but my knee still started hurting around mile 4. I definitely need to get over this hump and get back into actually having enjoyable runs.