My endurance sports career began with marathon running; after a few years of that and qualifying for Boston a handful of times I slowly moved over into the triathlon camp such that long course triathlon is clearly now my main sports focus. However, I have still been able to put together some nice marathon times (provided I peak for them, etc.) the past few years, as I usually begin my season with a marathon. 2015 is no different and I signed up for Surf City Marathon, along with Sarah, a few months ago.
While I'm still very much focused on Ironman Texas in May, between December and January I gradually shifted my schedule around to pay a little more attention to running than biking. In early December I posted a 1:15 half marathon, so if all goes well I should be able to run a sub 2:45 marathon at Surf City on February 1 (of course talk is talk and nothing is guaranteed in endurance sports). However, on January 3rd, while visiting my brother in Hilo, Hawaii, I ran a 50K, which I was not really prepared for since I had biked the Kona Ironman course just five days before and was still a bit shot from that as I had nailed it pretty hard. The ultra (~31 miles) was basically straight up the side of a volcano along a highway -- which, unfortunately, had an ever so slight tilt to the road obviously designed to shed water. I took third place but struggled majorly the last seven miles as I experienced cramps all over my body. The angle seemed to cause my ankle some problems as I hobbled a bit over the course of the next few days. However, I managed to complete a few easy runs over the course of the week then flew back to my home base in California.
Not thinking much of it I showed up to my running club the following Sunday morning for my long run. I was aiming for 1:45:00, so probably around 15 miles. Within 2-3 miles my right IT-Band started going nuts, an issue I hadn't really had since my early days of marathoning. I managed to squeak out seven miles that day and later put in an hour on the elliptical. To make matters worse, my foam roller was in dire straights so for the following days I did not do much about the problem. On Friday, I went for a tempo run. After a 20 minute warm-up I began my tempo bit; but about 10 minutes in I started getting the all too familiar pang of ITB stress in my right knee. Again, I limped home, cutting off the run 20 minutes short.
So here I was about two weeks out from my first big race of 2015, and Sunday was my final peak run, replete with race simulation surges and the like. I was not feeling positive about it Sunday morning but decided to plan my workout around the track hoping perhaps that surface would be forgiving. The workout called for 5 miles at Easy-Long pace more or less (followed by various marathon/half-marathon/tempo/recovery paces) so I ran down to the track just to check it out and see if it was open. It was closed so I began my run home where I could stop and get some drink and nutrition. However, on the way, my IT-Band started to strain again, which really depressed me. I thought, well I'll go back inside and roll it out hard and then go back out again.
And this is what I did. You can see from the Strava file that I stopped approximately every 4-6 miles and rolled the hell out of my ITB. Essentially, I used my home as a base and did various loops around it. I had never really done that before as usually I'd pick a destination and run there and back or something like that. While the workout called for continuous running more or less, that would have been impossible. I was nevertheless able to make all my splits pretty spot on, and in the end I had one of my better training runs in a long time. There was a fair amount of pain dealing with the ITB, so I'd stop and stretch it hard every so often. Hopefully I can roll the thing out for good before the race.
Luckily, the entire workout was fueled by Hammer Heed (melon) and Hammer tropical flavored gel, along with the occasional banana. Next time I may well opt for a few more Hammer products as I continue to experiment around with fueling.
By day I am a political scientist studying campaigns, public opinion, and race and ethnic politics. By early morning and/or night I am an endurance athlete.