Three days before the race, I felt a slight strain in my right hip/groin area that worsened as the clock counted down toward the gun. It was to a point during the day on Friday that I thought I might have to skip the race, but I Adviled myself up enough on Saturday morning to get to the starting line, and didn’t just slog through the race, but ran rather well.
For the first 20+ miles, I was under 8:00 per mile, and though I hit the wall in the final six miles, and had pretty serious calf cramps for the final mile and a half, I was still able to finish in 3:39:29, more than five and a half minutes ahead of my race goal.
The pain in my hip/groin flared up during the run, but it wasn’t until after the race that it really hit me.
By the next morning, I couldn’t bear weight on my right leg, and that would be the case for a few days after.
After months of running six days a week to get ready for a marathon, suddenly I couldn’t, and still can’t, run more than a few steps without intense pain.
Meaning I’ve now realized my running mortality, and … I’m doing OK with it.
I’ve been rehabbing like crazy, and getting reacquainted with my elliptical. At least for the time being, I’m the world’s best elliptical workout warrior, reducing myself to a pool of sweat an hour at a time, basically every day.
I’m also doing an hour a day of rehab exercises to build up the muscles in my right quad, groin and hamstring.
I’ve used this time as well to rebuild my core and upper body workout routine that had been slipping in the final few weeks before the marathon.
And in the process, I’ve decided that this isn’t the worst thing that could have happened. I probably needed some time away from running anyway, and I wouldn’t have taken myself off the road if not for injury.
I now see better the need for me to balance my training to include running along with muscle strengthening exercises for my legs along with the core and upper body work.
When you run 40+ miles a week, you tend to get arrogant about what great shape you’re in, and you can lose sight of the balance that you need to have with strength and core training.
I’ve got that now, and the good news is that the muscles that were damaged before and during the race are getting a little stronger each day.
I was able to get a couple of quick sprints in today for the first time since the race. I was also smart enough not to push it, as much as I wanted to, with the Turkey Trot 5K at the Waynesboro YMCA on my schedule today.
I warmed up for the race, but shut myself down, realizing that discretion is the better part of valor.
My next big running goal is the Charlottesville Marathon on April 2. That’s 18 weeks away. The important thing is to be healthy to train for that race, and I’ve got a new goal: sub-3:30.
Wish me luck.
– Column by Chris Graham