It's been a long time, but, frankly, it has taken me a long time to recover from MDI—both physically and mentally. It wasn't until this week that I was psychologically ready to run. I just wasn't feeling it. Something flipped this week, and I needed to get out there. Not so fast, my friend...
Originally, I had given myself a maximum of three weeks post-MDI to start training in earnest, but 5 days post-race, I became really worried. I walked around Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park a fair amount the day after the race and put in a 3-mile shuffle on Tuesday. My legs were tired, tight and sore, but I felt much better for it. A day off followed by a really, easy 5-mile trail run on Thursday on which I was no longer sore, but definitely leg weary. No surprises, thus far. However, when I woke on Friday morning my right knee was killing me. Specifically, just below my knee on the inside of my leg—the top of my tibia. I immediately thought the worst, and after no improvement on two subsequent runs, I went to see Julia for a massage and some piece of mind. She assured me that it was just tightness, and I would indeed survive. With a little more of my own research and tons of input from friends on Facebook, I knew I was looking at possibly pes anserine bursitis at worst or the beginnings of it at best. Knowing that my hamstrings are generally tight and started bugging me only 10 miles into the marathon combined with Julia's moderate shock at their tightness, I knew they were to blame. So, with a combination of focused stretching, icing and ibuprofen, things are looking up. And, honestly, another thing that's helped: running. I think getting some blood flowing through everything has really helped, and as long as I don't stress out my hamstrings, it shouldn't get any worse.
In the three weeks following MDI, I only managed a total of 45 miles, but it was probably enough. It did take me the full three weeks to get back on track, and I'm not out of the woods yet. I did get a solid week this week, and my thoughts have squarely turned to the Lookout Mountain 50, just 5 weeks away...
Onto the numbers...
11/6, Sunday: 5.5 - 45:12, River N Back. D has done this loop a bunch, and she suggested I give it a try. I liked it as it has a good mix of singletrack and wide trails. Just another terrific option from our doorstep. Run felt good, and I could tell I had flipped the switch into "training mode."
11/7, Monday: 8 - 59:58, Meadow Cross. I wanted to do something slightly snappy, and this loop was perfect. The 7:30/mile average felt very comfortable the entire way, and even had to reel it in on a few occasions. It was a good sign that my legs were completely recovered. I started feeling my knee only two miles into the run, but it never got any worse and would even dissipate periodically. Good sign. With a quarter mile to go, I admittedly picked it up to be certain I'd sneak under the hour mark. Really pleased with this run.
11/8, Tuesday: 6.5 - 58:08, Mt. Ararat x13. Looking to get back into real training, I opted for a return to Mt. Ararat hill "repeats." They're not true repeats since I don't run them hard, but I don't back off either. I managed to keep each lap of the mountain to under 4:00, which is a good benchmark. (I have three different laps I run in succession with distances varying from .35 to .45.) It was great to get back to climbing, and my knee wasn't an issue. Two confidence boosting runs back-to-back.
11/9, Wednesday: 5.5 - 47:26, River N Back w/ D. We took advantage of rare coinciding schedules to get out for a run together. Great easy run and my knee felt fine. Not a bad way to spend the morning.
11/10, Thursday: Off - planned
11/11, Friday: 11.11 - 1:39:24, Pineland with Jamie. Jamie concocted the idea to run 11.11 miles on 11/11/11 starting at 11:11:11am. And, that's just what we did. Real easy tour of Pineland on a dreary day. We spent the entire run talking about past races and future race plans. Many of the world's problems were solved. Barely noticed my kneed at all. Great run.
11/12, Saturday: 5 - 39:16, Highland Green. Easy tour of the neighborhood. Legs were a bit tired following my longest run post-marathon, but nothing to complain about. Knee was fine. All systems go.
With Lookout Mountain looming, the focus will be getting my long runs in over the coming weeks. I know I won't be as prepared as I could be, but my confidence is building. I'm not the slightest bit worried about the time or distance, but I'd prefer not to travel to Tennessee and come away disappointed. I have a lot of things in my favor and am looking forward to my 50-mile debut.