It figures that after blogging last week about how great things are going this month I had to finish the month with a thud! This past week was to be an easy week with a shorter long run of 10 miles to give my body a break. What could go wrong?I spent the week doing easy short runs on the roads. Thursday and Friday were too hectic with birthday party preparation to run. That also means I didn't do any stretching either! Oops! Wait, not just oops, more like DOH! I ran Saturday at the end of the day after all the party guests were gone, just an easy 3 around the hood. Sunday my left IT band felt a hair tight and was a bit worried about that for my planned 10 miles in the afternoon. You'd think this might prompt me to stretch some earlier in the day. Nope. I chose to snuggle on the couch with my jack russell terrier and a book. Really, who can resist a snuggle fest on a Sunday morning? Not me!
I met with the Carolina Trail Runner Meet Up group for two laps around Francis Beatty Park's mountain bike trails in the afternoon. First lap was great. The worry over the left IT band was for naught, felt completely fine. I didn't try to keep up with the fast guys on the first loop but did allow myself to push it a hair and was keeping a nice pace. Then we met back in the parking lot to pick up more members for a second lap. This time there was another runner that would be a back of the packer so I slowed down and stuck with her since I'd already done a lap at a good pace. A little over half way around the second loop I felt tightness in my right IT band. Crud! This is not cool. This trail system isn't the kind that I could hop off the trail easily and get back to my car so I pressed on. I stopped once to stretch and that seemed to make it happy for a bit. But I had to call it quits around 9.75 miles, about half a mile from the end of the loop. It was clear running any more at that point would be detrimental to my IT band. Fortunately the girl I was running with was nice enough to walk it in with me even though I offered for her to leave me. (Gotta love trail runners! Such an awesome bunch.)
Today my IT band feels sore. I've already stretched once and will do so again later. I'm dreading telling my PT tomorrow but I guess it's better that this happen while I still have PT available. (Good news about PT, I found out I have 20 sessions for this year so I'm still covered by insurance. Whew!) I'm guessing I'll need a few days off and may need to re-evaluate my goals.
Luckily I haven't signed up for any half marathons yet. I'm hoping to get my IT band happy again and alternate my long runs to look like this: week 1: 8-9 miles, week 2: 10-12, week 3: 13-14, then back to week one. I just want to stay healthy and be able to run. I need to stop dreaming of long miles. It is clear my body isn't ready for it. It may take another year to get there, if ever. It is better to keep it shorter if that means I get to run. It's so hard not to dream of the glory of long races. It's the ultras that get all the glory and coverage on the trail blogs and in the trail magazines. But I need to make myself immune to the lure and be happy with shorter and faster. It seems in road running it's mostly about the speed, at least it is with my road running friends. But on trails people focus on the distance not speed for glory. Time for me to look into the glory of speed again, but on the trails. I'd still like to pick a few half marathons for the year to do. But, I may look at the shorter local races again to put on my schedule and focus a bit more on speed vs long distance in my training.
I like fast and I like going long too so it's an inner battle I deal with. One of my wise trail buddies said last night when I told her I'd keep my long runs to 14 miles at the most, "14 miles is a good distance. Not too long but long enough to stretch the legs and clear the mind." She is correct and I will still have the energy plus time left to enjoy the day. Once you start to get past 14 miles it starts to eat up your day and energy. It's also depressing to have all the set backs so I may as well stay with what my body is comfortable with to keep my mental health in order as well.
If I start to get cocky and start dreaming of longer distances in the near future I need someone to smack me upside the head with reality! Please help keep me in line!