Thursday, February 5, 2015

Boston Marathon: January Report

This will be the last time I talk about broken ribs and my recovery. Famous last words.

I had a comment online from one of my good running friends Brian, "THIS IS NOT A COMEBACK." I was confused by his words, but read them to mean that I never really left and that I should leave the accident in my rear view mirror. Somewhat easier said than done. With that, here's what's happening six months after that nasty spill on the asphalt that put me in the hospital and ended by 2014 race campaign.

In a mere 75 days, I will be running my fifth Boston Marathon. Normally, I start Boston training 16 weeks out which is roughly mid-December. I started running again right around Halloween (scary...right?) and slowly ramped up; the number of days per week, speed, and distance leading up to my official Boston training plan. This year I'm once again training under the coaching of world class distance athlete, Benita Willis.

Looking at the month of January, there are some highlights and some reminders that this was a bit more than a typical winter "layoff." I've never really been able to have any extended "layoff" unless it was induced by injury. The good news is that the last time I had an extended injury layoff, I notched my first BQ and current PR in 2009 at CIM in Sacramento.  My 5k times and half marathon times have improved quite a bit since Benita started coaching me with PR's in both those distances over the last 18 months including my first sub-twenty 5k in 2014.

Given that, the last three months were filled with a lot of self-doubt as my conditioning fell well below anything I can remember and I was also resign to the fact that four broken ribs don't heal in three months, or even six months. I still occasionally run into people that want to hear the "crash story" and say, "I'm so glad you're all healed." In many regards I am, but 190 miles in January have perhaps slowed the rib recovery a bit (INSERT: Don't worry Mom, I know what I'm doing, and I can't break them any more than they already are) with night-time pain actually inching up on me. #denial

I tried moving to the other side of the bed to resume night-time spooning, but it was too awkward. I still spoon as I drift off to sleep, but roll over to my "good side" shortly into the night as it's still uncomfortable to sleep on my right side. I do view it as "the glass half full" as I couldn't manage two hours of sleep even "amp'ed out of my mind on oxy" back in August. I got off the "oxy train" the first week of November.

In terms of running, I have a lot to be thankful for. First off, I'm running, not walking. No disrespect to walkers, but walking to a runner is like playing "pretend Keno" in Vegas--not very fulfilling. As I mentioned, I've slowly picked up the pace (literally,) time, and distance. When I started back up, it was tough to log 4-6 miles at a 9:36 pace. I'd have to look deeper into my logged runs as I wore my heart rate monitor for a couple of those early
runs and I know my zones were "way out of whack." I'm happy that my recovery runs are now hovering 9:05 in my zone 1 which is less than 135. My coach and I are okay with running recovery runs at this pace.

The real challenge has been speed work which I normally love. Over the last eighteen months leading up to my accident, my Yasso (1/2 mile interval) pace dropped to a 5:30 pace range. Faster than I've ever run. Early on as I ramped up and introduced speed work, it was a chore to do a handful of them at a 6:20-6:40 pace range. I'm now encroaching certainly sub-six and occasionally push the (progressive) last set to a 5:30-5:40 range.

I have not traveled as much as I have for work the last previous two years ('12, and '13 where I logged over 100,000 flight miles,) but I've been up to Seattle a few times this year which has provided some phenomenal runs. On one night in particular, I went for a loop around Lake Union which I'd never run before and got a bit turned around at the halfway point in a steady pouring rain. I caught up with a local runner who pointed me in the right direction and we wound up running together for the second half. I'd forgot how fun it was to run with someone else, as I have done almost all my ramping (rehab) miles solo. Back home in Denver it's been alternating between 20 degrees and snow and singlet 70 degree weather (for you conspiracy theorists, no climate change going on at all) which has provided some great runs here too.

I can't say I'm back to my top form as I've been quite tired the last two weeks with the increased mileage. My coach reminds me to take a rest day if and when needed as Boston is still a ways off. Her strategy is to show up with energy on race day, yet her idea of recovery at this stage is a 7-8 mile run. One thing I have "tweaked" with my current training is switching to SOS Hydration as my liquid fuel of choice. No, I'm not getting paid, but I love this stuff as I honestly feel a boost of energy the moment I ingest. (Recent review HERE.)

January ended with some fantastic news on the blogging front as I was notified that I'm now a FitFluential Ambassador (see post HERE,) and more recently was contacted by FitBloggin and they've asked me to host a session at FitBloggin15 in Denver.

Yes, things are looking up, but a long ways to go to get back to the level I want to be at. One step (literally) at a time. How is your winter training coming along or are you in hibernation?


7 comments:

  1. I'm really impressed with your recovery. I guess I didn't realize how long it takes to recover from rib fractures. I'm curious...do you think you'll get back on the bike? I know I'd be really nervous.

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    1. Ironically, the only thing keeping me off the bike is that my bike was totaled. I don't think much about it and plan to buy a new bike soon and get out there after Boston. Yeah...you and me both...did not realize it takes that long to recover, but three of the four ribs were completely snapped and your rib cage moves all the time even before considering running and swimming.

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  2. Sounds like your comeback (or not-a-comeback, as you will) is going pretty strong. I bet it will feel extra great to toe the line in Boston! :)

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  3. Three things:

    1) You are amazing. I want to be like you when I grow up. ;-)

    2) I'm jealous of Denver seeing 70 degrees at all. It broke 40 yesterday here in Jersey...and we're back below freezing. =/

    3) I'm in training mode as far as my cross-training goes. My running is on hiatus for a bit.

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    Replies
    1. 1) blushing emoticon
      2) it was 20 degrees on tuesday.
      3) healing vibes your way. I can certainly relate.

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  4. I'm enjoying following your journey and am happy for you that the recovery is going well. Godd bless you for loving speedwork. I can't stand it. Good luck in the next few months leading up to Boston. I'm running it for the first time in my life and couldn't possibly be more excited.

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Average guy w/ an above average appetite for marathon racing and triathlons. Ran my 5th Boston in '15. 3:21, 1:29, 19:21 PR;full/half/5K Opinions & wit are mine