Week 11 was a down week to be forever etched in my mind as the Very Down Week. My foot hurt and I took three extra days off from running. I suppose this was inevitable. It actually wasn’t all that bad: I was forced to rest a bit, I focused on strength training, and (spoiler) as of this writing I am fully recovered.
I can’t imagine that running 22 miles on March 16 (the Saturday of week 10) was all it took to hurt my foot, but I think being on my feet for several hours the following morning while volunteering at the United Half plus the fact that weeks 8 and 9 long runs had been cut down to 13 and 12 miles – which led to a big bump in long run mileage in week 10 – probably had something to do with the soreness I felt in my right foot on Monday.
I knew I hadn’t broken anything. It was just kind of a bruised feeling on the inside half of the ball of my right foot. Monday is my day off from running anyway, so I did some easy walking with my dog (which I have to do at least three times a day unless I want an apartment covered in pee and poo) and by the end of the day, my outer right calf was a little sore – I’m sure because I had been subconsciously leaning my foot outward all day.
It wasn’t horrible pain or anything, but still, I decided to take it easy until everything felt better. I know that a few days off in week 11 of a 16-week build-up isn’t going to hurt my performance when I run the New Jersey Marathon. Better to recover and be safe than force a few runs that make it worse, right?
To my great relief, it was the right call.
WEEK 11: March 18 – March 24
Monday I did my usual upper body workout. I like this workout a lot, as it is for “people who get bored easily,” which I am. As with all of my upper body workouts, I do lazy crunches in between each set. And as always, it was good to take a day off from running but this time I knew I needed it.
Tuesday I decided to focus on my lower body by doing a Fitness Blender workout I don’t think I’d ever done. It’s called “Build a Booty Workout.” It was good. Consider my booty built.
Wednesday I did a slightly different Fitness Blender workout (yes I am obsessed with Fitness Blender and no they do not pay me): a total body barre workout that only uses 3 lb. weights, so it’s more of a pilates type of workout rather than heavier weight strength training like I normally do.
Thursday my foot was feeling better but maybe not 100%, so I decided to play it safe. I just did the upper body workout I normally do later in the week. (This is the one with push-ups, which are STILL so hard for me, even after years of this stuff.)
Friday my foot felt ready to run on so I did a slooow 4 miles through Riverside Park. It was a little rainy but I didn’t even care – I was so happy to be running again. I felt so grateful. Isn’t it amazing when your body just works? At the end of the run, I took the pic in this post’s header.
I still felt some trepidation that something could feel off later on in the day, but nothing ever did. I followed the run with the excellent squats & deadlifts workout I try to do every week.
Saturday I got back out there, this time for 7.14 miles at 9:57 pace around Central Park. I felt really strong on this run. My foot felt fine. Maybe my body had needed the rest.
Sunday was my long run, but given that this was a down week, it wasn’t too long: the plan was 8 miles easy + 3 miles @ marathon pace with 10 minute jogs in between each MP mile. This added up to be a slightly frustrating 13.97 miles. Since I had the workout programmed into my Garmin, it ended when it ended. I guess I could have run another 0.03 miles just to make it 14, but decided… eh.
I’ll write about this run more below! Overall, it went well with just a couple of minor annoyances.
TOTAL MILES: 25.11
Some Noteworthy Things
I am actually grateful that my foot hurt this week. I remember taking a whole month off from running at this time last year because I had an issue with my inner knee, which, thankfully, turned out to be nothing terrible. But that first run I did post-rest month was great. I felt super strong. The reason for this is that I spent the month strength training. So once I started running again, I didn’t have any of those aches and pains that come from running on legs that have no muscle.
While I strength train all the time, I was happy to spend a little more time on it this week.
When I wasn’t sure if I would run again in the week, I thought this might be my header pic. I’ll post it here anyway because it has a cute dog in it (his name is MacGregor, and yes he is a good boy).
So while I’m grateful to not have had this be a big injury, I am also grateful for the rest and opportunity to do a little more strength training this week.
On more of a social note, Saturday night was fun! Some of the ladies in my running club, the New York Harriers, got together for a potluck. I was really excited for this because 1) I have been wanting to get to know some of these ladies better and 2) I love to eat.
I signed up to bring a dessert and I knew I wanted to bake cookies, and was also excited to do that. Originally I was going to bake three kinds but that proved to be too time-consuming, so I baked two. Although I’m not a vegan, I knew there might be a few vegans at the party so I baked two vegan cookies from the delicious-looking “healthy dessert” blog Chocolate Covered Katie: regular old vegan chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Not a very wide range, but I had a big bag of chocolate chips that needed using up before I ate them all.
They turned out okay, I think! I made them smaller than the recipe called for so there would be more, using only one tablespoon of batter per cookie.
I even labeled them with all of the ingredients because I am a nice baker.
It turned out to be a really nice evening. I talked with a couple of the ladies quite a bit and got to know them better. There was a ton of great salad (including the amazing Moroccan lentil salad from Run Fast. East Slow.), sides, and an assortment of baked goods including a homemade chocolate cake courtesy of our host (and Harriers president) Margaret.
I ate… a good amount. Let me put it this way: I did not leave hungry. The salads were really good. And of course I had my fair share of chips and cookies and cake. I mean, it’s the weekend. It’s fine.
I had my long run the next morning, and I’m not used to eating a lot the night before a long run. Luckily, my stomach was fine on Sunday, if a bit heavier than usual.
I was really happy that my long run this week just happened to be a lot less than normal. Especially in the first couple of miles, because my right foot started acting up again. It wasn’t anything that made me limp or need to stop, but that same inner ball of my right foot was just a little more sore than it should have been. I was going around the Central Park loop, so I figured if it got really bad I could always head home.
Fortunately, it started to feel better around the fourth mile. I guess whatever was wrong wasn’t that serious and just needed to warm up.
I made my way around the entire park loop and decided to stop in a bathroom in mile 7, right before I was to run those marathon pace miles. Running around the Central Park loop so much has really taught me where all of the bathrooms are, and today I used one I’d never used before, at the North Meadow Recreation Center. This is just north of 97th Street and right in the middle of the park, although more visible from the west side.
I was right near the reservoir so I decided to run my MP miles on that flat surface, just as I had the weekend before. Only this time, I was actually able to hit my paces. After running 8 miles at a 10:15 pace, I ran MP mile 1 in 8:12, MP mile 2 in 8:18, and MP mile 3 in 8:24 – each with 10 minutes easy in between. I know I started out too fast (my MP is supposed to be 8:35) but I think I was just so amped. After a down week with five days off in a row and zero speed work, it was really nice to be able to run faster again.
The only annoying part of this run was that by now it was about 10:30, 11 am and the reservoir was FULL of tourists ambling around. I don’t mind tourists or even walkers, but they have this tendency to not know to stay on the right. Or they kind of slowly cross the path, completely unaware of any oncoming runners. Or try to take a photo across the entire path (sorry, I don’t stop for you). I managed to only bump into one person but I hit her backpack so at least no one was hurt.
Despite those minor annoyances, a week that started off uncertain ended up being pretty good. I feel grateful. And full. I still feel full.