Today was my last big run before the marathon in three weeks. The days have been flying by, and I can’t believe it is right around the corner. This week I had an injury scare which had me super worried, but it seems it has passed now. Tuesday morning during my interval workout on the treadmill, my ankle was really sore. I have a weak right ankle to begin with from years of playing soccer and spraining it repeatedly, and I think I must have tweaked it in a soccer game last week. I was supposed to do 6×1200 repeats. When I got to the fourth one, my ankle really started bothering me. Then the pain moved up the front of my leg a little and was almost unbearable. I had to stop the workout.
I showered and went to work, and I was walking with a noticeable limp. I could not flex my foot upwards without intense pain. I immediately started to self-diagnose with the help of the internet, and I came up with “tibialis anterior tendon sheath inflammation.” Yes, I realize I am a total dork.
See that tendon that connects the muscle to the foot? That became inflamed from running and caused my problem. I was freaking out that my marathon was ruined and all of my hard work was for nothing. Nothing like being a little over-dramatic, right? Well, over the course of the day on Tuesday, the pain gradually subsided and I could feel things loosening up a little. Still I didn’t want to take any chances, so I skipped my soccer game on Wednesday and I swam on Thursday instead of my usual tempo run. Friday I did nothing so I would have fresh legs for my 20 miler this morning.
I found myself this week with no one to accompany me on my long run. My usual training partner went to opening day yesterday and didn’t think he would be up for it this morning. Luckily, this last big run coincided with the Badgerland Striders South Shore Half-Marathon. I decided to run 7 miles on my own, and then head down to Bay View for the race.
I headed out the door at 6:40 for my first 7 miles. I wanted to keep this run really easy, and I ended up averaging 8:52 over 7.16 miles. Right where I wanted to be. Then I stopped home, changed into a dry shirt and jacket, and headed to Bay View. I got there around 8:10 and registered for the race. It was only $10 (gotta love the Striders). Their races are always no-frills, but they did give everyone a very colorful pair of running gloves (mine are bright pink). I stayed inside until just before the race, as it was still pretty cold outside.
The race is an out and back course all on the Oak Leaf Trail. It runs south first all the way into South Milwaukee, and then heads back north. My plan was to start off the race nice and easy, and see how much I had left in the tank for the second half. Here’s how my splits turned out:
Mile 1 – 8:59
Mile 2 – 8:11
Mile 3 – 8:25
Mile 4 – 8:23
Mile 5 – 8:13
Mile 6 – 7:55
Mile 7 – 8:24
Mile 8 – 8:40
Mile 9 – 8:31
Mile 10 – 8:25
Mile 11 – 8:17
Mile 12 – 8:29
Mile 13 – 7:40
Mile 13.21 – 1:34
My Garmin said the course was 13.21 miles, which I ran in 1:50:13, or an average of 8:21/mile! This is a huge half-marathon PR for me. I think my previous best was somewhere around 1:56 or 1:57. Awesome! And all this after already logging 7 miles beforehand. Also encouraging is that my splits were pretty consistent. The fluctuations were mostly due to some rolling hills I think. I also can’t believe I logged a 7:40 mile there at the end. When we hit the 12 mile marker, I checked my watch and saw that a 1:50 was in sight. I knew it wasn’t likely, but I had to go for it. I missed it by a few seconds, but I am still very happy with my result.
I came in 246 out of 638 overall, 46 out of 239 women, and 9 out of 48 in my division (F25-29). I am feeling pretty confident about the upcoming marathon, and barring a catastrophe (in running you never know), I will set a PR. The next three weeks will be sort of a semi-taper. I am going to follow my running taper schedule for the marathon, but I will probably try and increase biking and swimming a bit. I am still training for Ironman after all. I think I also may stop playing soccer for the next few weeks just to give my ankle a rest. I want to go into the marathon completely healthy, and stay that way through September 13th. Fingers crossed…