January Jogging (The path back from injury)

Stonehenge trail run. Historical plaques were a good excuse to stop and stretch

Stonehenge trail run. Historical plaques were a good excuse to stop and stretch

January has been a slow month, quite literally. The first week began with a few stiff miles. I hate the word jogging but I probably was…jogging. Some ITB pain I first felt in my right knee back in mid-December was just not going away. Luckily I had some nice places to run to kick off the New Year; Big Ben, Stonehenge and my old stomping ground of the North Downs in Surrey. But all in all I wasn’t happy. My mileage was down (about 15 miles total up to January 12th), my ITB hurt and quality Boston training weeks were now being missed.

Just like being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes; I had a choice to make. I could keep sulking about it or get healthy. My Trigger Point Performance Therapy foam roller and The Stick became my best friends!

Trigger Point foam roller - ITB's nemesis!

Trigger Point foam roller – ITB’s nemesis!

A combination of self-therapy, rest days and very very slow running of very short distances were  the turning point. Rest is such an important component of training. Clearly, I didn’t respect it post California International Marathon and my first attempt of starting Boston training. I only took a 10 day break (running with Scott Jurek on day 5 of my break doesn’t count because it’s Scott Jurek; true story!).

When Saturday January 19th rolled around, I should have been doing what 99% of other Boston runners were doing; running long. But I wasn’t ready. I played it smart (you decide) and took the weight off my feet. I dusted off the cob webs from a bike disguised as a clothes dryer and cycled up to Nyack from NYC and back with Rui and Mike which totaled about 60 miles. Zero knee pain, great endurance workout (even I did suck climbing hills). Perfect.

The highlight of 60 miles on the bike? Stopping for coffee and muffins at Nyack.

The highlight of 60 miles on the bike? Stopping for coffee and muffins at Nyack.

On Sunday, my goal was to attempt my first double digits run (10 miles). But then you bump into Chris Solarz on the bridle path of Central Park and your plan goes out the window. The plan goes even better. We caught up on life and knocked out 12 miles without even thinking about it. Goal, most definitely accomplished (plus 2 miles).

From there on, it’s been steady running all the way. Nothing fancy. 55 miles for the week. And although I was not doing any speed work or hitting high mileage, my knee pain faded and my confidence soared.

On Tuesday, I met up with my Boston training partner, Gary Berard to tackle our first speed workout for Boston (yes, 11 weeks out and we were going for our first speed workout!) Luckily we both have miles in our legs from 2012 and should still be able to achieve decent results come April 15th. We ran our workout that included 7x 1 mile repeats at a good pace. We followed the workout and executed it perfectly. I logged the workout into my new companion; Training Peaks and analysed it. Heart rate too high for pace but now I’m just getting picky. I am grateful just to be running right now!

Data data data.

My new tool; data data data.

On now to February. It’s a complete understatement to say I’m excited. More miles, more speed and I’ve even added some more races to my calendar. A couple of 20-milers; Martha’s Vineyard and NJ Trail Series Frozen Febapple on the trails. I’m happy that I’m talking numbers again regarding running rather than letters (such as ITB) explaining why I’m not.

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