I’ve heard life is a collection of experiences and lessons. Before, during and after the Chicago marathon I got a huge crash course in how listening to the body is important during a marathon build.
It seems appropriate to start from the beginning. Training had been going exceptionally well. The volume was high (200km) and the workouts were smooth (24.21km in 80min on the legendary Dylan Wykes Loop, you sometimes can see Taylor Hall training when running the loop). I was developing confidence. Then the middle of August hit, right before Flint 10miler. I developed a shin splint. It was the oddest thing. I had never really had any problems with shin splints before. I recovered quickly 4 or 5 days off from running, just hit the elliptical/bike for cross training. Went to Flint, ran terribly, but realized it was just a stepping stone event to the marathon and these bad races can happen along the way. So I just pushed on with training and kept the volume up around 200-210km per week with a couple of quality sessions. Then I started to notice my calf (on the same side as the shinspint) would start cramping in the middle of sessions. I was a tennis player as a kid, so cramping is sometimes I have gotten use to. I figured eat more kiwi, have some more E-load and this problem will solve itself. So, It didn’t. I kept noticing it would take me longer and longer to get my stride going to start session. Hell, I would warm up for 800m then start my skips and drills before every session. All that work really helped my hips but the calf was still pretty GDing tight!
Let’s jump forward a bit in the time line. I will take us to the week before the Chicago Marathon. I took the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday off before the marathon to hopefully resolve any of the remaining issues. Everything felt alright (not amazing on Wednesday and Thursday’s run here in Kingston. I few out Friday and ran shortly after getting things set up at the hotel. Man oh man my ankle didn’t feel right. I message SB and told him my ankle was feeling off, but it was hopefully just a minor thing I wouldn’t feel it in the morning. Next day I shook out the legs for 20min. It was feeling alright, but there is still tension in my ankle area. I just think Im making a big performance out of nothing and I’ll be 100% in the morning. Time heals all wounds, right!
Chicago, oh me oh my, is a beautiful city. The event is pretty amazing. There are 50 000 runners and a million plus spectators. I am always in awe of the major marathons and just the magnitude of the events. It being my first time at this race, I actually showed up early (had to go through gun checks etc.). I was a part of the American Development Program which is a sub elite category that was really helpful and really well organized. It allowed for us to drop our gear off and warm up in a certain area and took us to the front of the line. It was neat lining up with a lot of the best marathoners in the world.
The gun goes off. I could tell right away that it was going to be a hard day. I didn’t want to get into pace too early because I didn’t know when the calf would cramp. It was also very hard to get into any sort of rhythm because your Garmin was useless after 500m because the race course is under an overpass. I got to 5km in 17ish minutes and thought, that this isn’t brutal, but you have a lot of work to do. Got to 10km with roughly the same split 17min and could feel the right calf barking. At this point I was thinking, go to half because it’s easier to meet up with the family. So I got to half in 1:12ish crossed the matt and just stopped for a minute to think; do you go on, is this going to prolong recovery, could you run National Cross Country in a couple month, do you want to see the rest of the course?…. Hell you have watched video of it enough times! I just decided to finish the race at E-pace (3:55 to 4:05/km). Out of all the 100 people that passed me two stand out. One was Sara Hall, she gave me a “keep going, dig deep and let’s run together” at around 25km and the other one was a guy who said “Running Room, Canadian, Keep going” both of those were actually incredibilty helpful.
The short of it all – my ankle and calf just got all bunged up. The medical analysis after an x-ray, MRI, seeing a Sports Med Doctor (Dr. O’Conner) , seeing an athletic therapist (Brittany at Kingston Athletic Therapy), having a pediatrist take a look at my gross feet and take me through a 3D Gait Assessment (Mac at Align Orthotics and Rehab – this guys knows his stuff), having a physiotherapist (Tom at KOPI) -shift, prick and vibrate my ankle and last but always insightful/helpful the Kingston’s massage therapist to the active community, Kurtis Marlow!
After seeing all of these wonderful people and services it was determined that I had developed tib post tendinosis. There was also fluid that had started to build up (tensoynivitis). If those two things weren’t glorious enough those things caused me talus to be shifted which results in your ankle not tracking correctly.
After getting all the information and taking time off Steve and I started to build back up to a training schedule that consisted of a lot of time in the pool, elliptical, bike and lifting weights. Gradually/cautiously we have started to increase the volume with addition of some workouts. Sometimes my biggest strength of the never quit atitude can also be my worst enemy. After a great meeting with Steve and Brant it dawned on me – not every run has to be a slam dunk a lay up will still get you two points! I’m going to base more runs off of feel. The body will break down if you live too much be the seconds. Sometimes slowing down isn’t a bad thing?
Going out the West Coast
I have to thank Dylan Wykes for the motivation and all the help in setting things set up in Vancouver. I met with him when he was on his Road to Rio tee shirt tour in Kingston in the spring. He was talking about how much better the winters are out there and how nice the community is. I was extremely interested, but had to figure out the specs before committing to the idea. Any who, I made the decision and started planning. Dylan, being the salt of the earth kinda guy he is suggested I contact a few people who are were looking for house mates. I lucked in and found a nice person/great runner, Natasha Wodak to house with for the winter. Don’t worry Natasha, I will be diligent with cleaning 🙂
The Running Room has also been extremely helpful with transferring me from the Kingston store to the ones in Vancouver.
Well folks, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday Season, some great down time and excited for a new running season.