Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ghost in the Shin

On a comments thread linked to Joseph's blog recently, there was some talk on running slowly. All of us egomaniac competitive types think, oh like 8:00's or MAYBE 9:00/mile, right? Wrong according to some. Mrp told me that one of his running pals who regularly runs marathons in the 2:30's runs recovery runs well over 10:00/mile. I thought he was exaggerating, but apparently 12:00 is a perfectly normal pace for some very accomplished runners. Who knew? While I can't quite run 12:00/mile I have run two runs really close to 10:00 recently. And it felt kind of good. One was on the treadmill and I vanely covered the monitor with a towel--I have a reputation to uphold! Not really, but with a marathon looming in three days, allow me to be a little big-headed. Thanks.

Then the next morning, my legs felt tired and tight, and again with the marathon looming in three days (four days as of that particular run), I decided what the hey, just trot the 6 miles. So I did. I felt much looser at the end of the run and I just stretched my hammies and my piriformises (i?) which have been giving me the most problems and went on my merry way to the hair salon for my bridal hair and make-up trial. (I used to find this stuff nauseating and cheesy as hell, but I have since relented and am actually enjoying this most girly time of my life. It's a refreshing change.) While I was sitting in the weird spinny chair with the black cape over me and as the hairdresser prattled on about homecoming hairdos, I suddenly noticed an ache at the bottom of my shin. The hell? I blew it off and continued basking in my pre-bridal girly bliss. When I was finally done and rose from the chair, I realized the shin was quite sore.

I iced it when I got home and felt pretty fine as mrp and I ran all over nearby country roads as our photographer shot engagement shots of us. I bought a cheap off the rack simple wedding gown, threw on a black belt to make it not so wedding gown and completed the look with running shoes. Since the dress was so long on me anyway, I figured my little niggle could use the extra cushioning. Plus, even if the sneaks did make it on camera, that might be kind of cute. After our photo session, it was pretty sore. So, I iced it again. I was now, of course, worried it was a career-ending stress fracture. I fretted and fretted as I ran my finger along my shin bone. But on further inspection, I realized it was just soft-tissue. As I massaged a little muscle anterior to the bone, it was tender--the bone itself was fine. I massaged it pretty good and iced it one more time before bed. When I woke up this morning it was still a little sore but as I've been up and about it's been feeling better and better. I actually have a scheduled day off today, my first since 7/1/07! So, I can rest it up and hopefully it will be fine for my short runs tomorrow.

Since my weekly mileage has plunged into the not very high land of taperville, my butt's been tight, my hammies have bugged me, my adductors are tight (probably from being too old to piggy back ride), and of course now the shin niggle from heck. All of this while running about half my peak weakly mileage. It's just funny how the old bod hardly complains then and you give it a little break and suddenly it acts like a spoiled brat! It's also funny that now that my mind is ready my body needs a chance to freak out a little. Hopefully, both will behave for me in three days.


Quinto Sol said...

Salty, I feel so anxious about YOUR race... almost as if 'I' was running it myself.

I am hoping those stiff/tight muscles loosen up and your sore chin heals.

I am quite confident that you will break three...

Jim said...

How exciting that the marathon is now just TWO days away. Good Luck and Go 'Git 'Em!.

And speaking of shins and music.....(I love the Foo)....I'm really psyched about tommorow night's Shins concert in Raleigh. Been listening to them almost non-stop for the past three weeks to get ready.

I'll be eager for the post-race report.

E-Speed said...

I swear lately my back off weeks are the ones where I feel like shit. But I think it is normal. I think when we recover we actually feel the things we are recovering from. You probably had these aches all along but your immune system/adrenaline were in high gear so you didn't notice. Your adrenaline will be sky high Sunday and I know you won't feel any niggles!

Joseph P. Wood said...

You know, I think those 12:00 comments that Aba made, IMHO, are kind of misleading. Yes, the Japanese do those runs to start of a training cycle, but they're also putting in INSANE amounts of volume from the getgo. Moreover, after a few weeks, they do also have higher end aerobic running + those slow runs.

Moreover, if you're talking about the bulk of training systems--Ethiopians, Portugese, etc.--the recvoery runs are vital, and they are run butt ass slow. However, while the Japanese have larger % of their overall volume at these slower paces (because they're putting in those 150-175 mile weeks), you also have Kenyans and Americans like Sell who are putting in slightly less volume BUT also doing more high end aerobic running as their base work.

I know which way Aba--and many runners who I greatly respect--lean on this, but I also know there are other ways to skin a cat. There's even debate within Lydiard camps themselves on this.

As for me, it doesn't matter what the pace is: if my mind and body seem to be in more of state of anxiety/malaise, it's time to back down. Conversely, if I'm peak shape, there are still plenty of times where my second run of the day is butt-ass slow--9:30-11:00 miles.