Leave it to me to announce that I’m running the 2022 NYC Marathon for Arts in the Armed Forces and then disappear for 4 months. How about an update on my training?? In a nutshell: it’s still going!
Back in June I was happily chugging along through the first few weeks of training, incorporating lots of new things into my plan to be more successful on this go-round. I ran the NYRR Pride Run in Central Park and added miles after the race for that weekend’s long run. I prioritized rest and recovery, with regular epsom salt baths, and strength trained regularly with a focus on improving my form and gait, piling on the miles each week.
I had built up to 20 miles when it happened on July 9th: I pulled my calf during my 8 mile run.
I was upset; this was the same calf pull that I dealt with back in November of 2020 and ended up not running because of for a few months. I didn’t have a few months this time. The doubts over being able to take on 26.2 in NYC in November started to creep in, but my coach talked me off the ledge. So I took a night off to drink a whole bottle of wine and throw myself a little pity party (zero stars, would not recommend), then I refocused on doing what I could do for the next two weeks: stretching, massage, and lots and LOTS of walking.
I was finally ready to roll when I cut my hand badly while cleaning up a broken picture frame and needed a bunch of stitches that then sidelined me for another week.
I was finally able to pull it together and started building back up about halfway through August. But when I started running again, I was basically starting from scratch.
See, the day I pulled my calf, I also pinched something in the opposite knee. Leaning on the right leg to save my left ended up putting wayyy too much pressure on that knee joint and I was unable to straighten the right leg or do any single-leg work because of the weakness and pain. Add to that what I had learned before the injury – which is that I had not been properly engaging my quads, while walking and running – and I needed a lot of help.
With three runs each week and one run on the weekend, my coach and a physical therapist helped me hone in on how to fix these issues while safely building up my mileage and I slowly… sloooowwwwwlyyyyy…. have built myself back up to more than 20 miles a week, and just finished a 14-miler successfully this past weekend!
Race day is now 40 days away, and I am… alive and putting one foot in front of the other. If I could measure my race day confidence using the Britney Spears scale, I was at “Hit Me Baby, One More Time” in my last post: fresh-faced, hopeful, still in one piece. Now? I’m somewhere around the post-#FreeBritney era: bruised mentally and physically, sharing some mildly unhinged stuff on social media, but dammit I am happy and hopeful about simply SURVIVING.
Now, recovery and training is nearly a full time job. I seriously underestimated just how much baseline work I needed to do to get my body ready for this level of work! I also realized just how much I took my body for granted before – or rather, how little I actually used my body, and how much more I’m capable of when I focus on my health and making the most of each and every muscle I have.
Every day I do rehab and prehab exercises that build up my knees and strengthen my calves and quads along with the rest of my body. When that’s done I’ll run or rest as prescribed, then stretch and foam roll all the aches and pains out before bed, and and the following day I feel another few notches stronger. Today, for example, was the first day I was able to walk down a flight of stairs without any pinching pain in my right leg because I can feel that I’m fully engaging my quads instead of placing all of the pressure on my knee joint.
So you came here for a quick update and got a lot more than that. But I’m glad you’re coming along for the journey and hope you’ll stick around to see where this all takes me on November 6th as I run the 2022 NYC Marathon as a charity partner with Arts in the Armed Forces (AITAF).
AITAF honors and enriches the lives of the US military community by offering powerful shared experiences in theater and film. As a longtime AITAF donor and runner, getting to run the NYC Marathon again – this time for AITAF – is a once in a lifetime opportunity to support a cause that means so much to me by doing what I love. If you haven’t yet donated and have the means to do so, I’d love it if you could help me reach my new fundraising goal for Arts in the Armed Forces!