Setbacks and Successes
I’ve been diligently tracking my half marathon training on DailyMile.com. It is definitely a motivating tool for me. I love looking at the little graphs and stats – it’s all so simple and pretty.
So when something comes up that throws off my planned runs, the first thing I think about is how ugly that big gap in my DailyMile graph is going to look. Last week I encountered my first major training setback and it absolutely killed me to see that void in my DailyMile stats. What kind of setback you ask? The dreaded INJURY.
It all began on a routine 3 mile run on a not so routine course – a local park. I found out about this 6pm group run on one of the message boards for my training team and since the pace seemed right I decided to give it a whirl. Part of the actual 1/2 course goes through this park so I wanted to get to know the area. And even better, this park is about a mile from my house so if it was nice and safe I planned to go back alone. What better way to test the waters than with a group run?!
My friend Sarah and I joined one other lady for the run (everyone else was out of town last week apparently) and we began the easy 1.5 mile loop with the guidance of our new friend. Everything seemed to be awesome at first – the trail was paved and wide, there was plenty of shade from the 93 degree heat, and it was relatively flat. However not 5 minutes into the ride we were startled to hear the abrupt yells of a massive pack of cyclists. As they made their presence known we darted to the side of the road to let them pass. They came within what felt like inches of hitting us and flew by at a ridiculous speed. We were all taken aback by this sudden onslaught of 50 or so cyclists but we went about our merry way. Around mile 1 we passed a lady who seemed to be waiting for the cyclists – she was stationed at a sharp turn and was looking up the road. We asked her if she knew who the cyclists were and she said it was just a weekly training race – no biggie.
We continued around our loop without a care in the world and felt great. The pack passed us another time and we were easily able to move out of the way. Around mile 2.5 we heard them come around again and moved to the side. They passed us again without incident, but as we were about to run back onto the road two straggler bikes came zooming up, yelling to make themselves known. We were on a very wide straight-away and yet these two idiots decided it would be a good idea to come as close to us as possible and nearly ran us off the road. They were going fast and we were not expecting them – I quickly looked over my shoulder out of pure instinct as they rushed passed and I managed to stumble into a ditch and roll my ankle. Pain shot up my leg and I knew instantly that there was no way I’d be able to continue my run. I was super pissed, not only at the bikers but also because my training had been going SO WELL up until that point. We ended up cutting our run a half a mile short and I had to hobble back to the car. IT SUCKED.
We were all pretty mad. There was no reason those two cyclists had to come so close to us. We were on a very straight and wide part of the trail and they had plenty of space. I ended up going home and using my amazing Google skills to track down the person in charge of the weekly ride. I found his name and sent him a nice yet forward email. My bottom line was that we are all athletes and everyone deserves a safe place to train! He emailed me back later that night and was very nice about the whole incident. He apologized and asked if I could remember what the two cyclists were wearing. He mentioned that they had some “hot heads” in the group. He also went on to say that they had actually rented out the back paved loop of the park and that it was closed to all traffic – cars, runners, everyone – but that it was hard for them to enforce.
Ummmm if you are going to close off the loop because it is DANGEROUS for others to be back there, you should be responsible for enforcing your own rules!!! Duh. I told him that in a nice way. Thankfully this coming week is their last ride for the season. Bah-humbug.
But in happier news, my ankle is feeling SO MUCH BETTER and I only ended up missing 2 scheduled runs. I did a short but fast 1.33 miles on Friday as a test run for my scheduled 6-miler on Saturday. I strapped on a mega awesome ankle brace and felt great during the run. When Saturday rolled around I knew I’d be up for the 6 mile challenge and it turns out I was right! I ended up finishing in 1hr 43 seconds!! Since Saturday runs are with the training team I was able to complete the course with no problem and I felt great. I am extremely grateful that my ankle wasn’t any worse and that it healed as fast as it did. The injury occurred on Tuesday and I was up and running again on Friday. I equate this quick turnaround to several factors: As soon as it happened I kept my shoe on to reduce swelling, I had taken an Advil before the run (anti-inflammatory for my IT troubles), I iced it regularly, stayed off it, and kept it elevated, and overall I don’t think it was a very bad sprain to begin with. I was lucky!!
So according to my DailyMile stats this week has been full of setbacks and successes. There is a big ole gap from Tuesday-Friday and then a nice little 6 mile spike at the end. All is right with the world again…