Training for the week 4/11 through 4/17 was all about trying to heal my left calf as quickly as possible so that I could go from saying “Boston Marathon is a no-go” to “Boston is a GO!”
I did all the right things this week: gentle stretching (where care was needed in the calf), deep tissue self-massage techniques (where might was required), foam roller love-fests, and healthier living (vitamins, eating good, and fluids). Although many fluids came from beer due to dinner out a number of times, I did enough to continue the slow healing process in the calf to say… Boston is a GO!
People are asking what my goal is for Boston, and honestly I don’t know. I mean, my goal is the cross the finish line without having injured the calf any worse than I did three weeks ago during National Marathon.
Since that is an open-ended response, I suppose a better way to answer that question is to answer a different yet similar question: What are you [I] expecting?
How I run will all depend on how comfortable the calf is. What I do know is that the calf feels better running an honest pace over plodding, so I will likely be running in the 7:xx minute mile range as long as the calf isn’t pulling or pinching. I say “as long as the ‘calf’ isn’t” doing this or that, but in reality it is more than the calf. Due to compensation pangs and redirected pings, I actually have a few areas that absorb the pain, so as long as those stay under the wire of injury, here’s how I expect things to go:
Start at roughly 7:xx pace, which say is 7:30 for the first mile or two. I plan to drop back from corral 3 (bib #2242) to maybe 5 or 6 so that I am not lured into starting any faster. 7:15, as long as it feels good, and even 7:00 is good too, being that Boston is a fast down hill start.
From there I will go by feel, but if my daily runs are any indication, the calf will gradually feel better by two miles, and from there I will likely take pace up a notch without varying effort at all. So maybe mile 2 through 10 will be 7:00 to 7:15.
The second 10 miles are the miles I’m worried about. I know what my calf feels like after 5 miles (slightly worn, starting to throw the pain), and I can usually feel the area starting to tighten and get tender. But not always. So I’m not sure how things will respond. I hope to continue running easy during this stretch, but I fear, at this point, that this is when I’ll start experiencing more acute pain, where my energy will be consumed on gauging how the calf and other areas feel and guessing whether I’m still on the good side of injury.
In an ideal world, these miles will be carefree and easy yet brisk running, where I am sure to high-five bright-eyed little kids along with friends along the course.
Hopefully this experience will yeild a happy ending. But let me say it here first. I know what I’m getting into. At this point I feel I can take risk and finish without injury worse than a few weeks ago at National. But that’s just it. There is risk, and I am aware of it and ready to take the consequences. So don’t feel bad if it comes out wrong. It’s my fault and only my fault.
But I will do my part to be smart and run by feel — feel of the calf and other tender areas.
The week leading into Boston went like this:
Mon – 3 miles, easy
Tues – 5.65 miles, easy
Wed – 5 miles (pushed various section because calf allowed)
Thurs – 4 miles (pushed various sections because I could)
Fri – 4 miles, easy
Sat – 3 miles, easy
Sun – 2+ miles, brisk
Good luck to all my friends running Boston. You go have the race I wanted to have!