My mileage for the year peaked in August with 77 miles and has been on the decline ever since. Surprisingly, I’m not that perturbed by it. I did something I didn’t think I’d ever do by running two half marathons 6 days apart, and I’m really proud of that. I backed out of marathon training this year, and I’m happy with that choice too. It wasn’t the right season of my life. My heart just wasn’t in it. Yet.
While it has been nice and relaxing doing whatever workouts I wanted between the end of September and now, I like a plan, so I’m in the process of doing some brainstorming to figure out what my goals are and where I should go from here. The first thing on my mind is getting healthy. I put a lot of miles (for me) on this body this summer, and I’m still feeling the effects. I raced the Philly half, and I’m happy with that, but I could feel the pains creeping in during the Newport half, and I never really addressed them. It started with IT band pain, which is an old friend of mine, so I foam rolled a bit and lowered my mileage, and that seemed to subside. Then I began noticing this other weird thing.
When I was running, particularly if I was tired or sore, my heels would scrape against my opposite calve. It’s hard to picture if you’ve never had it happen, but between when I would lift my foot up and when it would strike the ground, my left toes would turn out and my left heel would kick the inside of my right calve (and vice versa). Aside from the scraping being uncomfortable, I figured this was probably the harbinger of some misalignment. Add to that, a nagging pain in my right hamstring that has not gone away since Newport, and I figured I was dealing with some sort of muscle imbalance.
As someone who is naturally inflexible and does almost no weight training or balancing exercises, I am not a stranger to misalignment. Months of P/T revealed strong muscles compensating for weaker ones as the cause of my IT band issues. We did tons of strengthening and balancing exercises, and it helped so much. Of course, I stopped all of them once I was feeling better, and shockingly am now feeling out of whack again.
I no longer have the Cadillac health insurance that allowed all those P/T visits, so I’m exploring other options. I used to go to a chiropractor when I was younger (I’ve had a weak back following a weird horseback riding fall), and found it really effective, so I sought out one in my new town. It’s not cheap ($110 for the initial visit and $35 for subsequent care), but it’s cheaper and he has night and weekend hours, so I’m pouncing on it. I made my first appointment for Thursday. Fingers crossed.
I’m not making any definite plans until he tells me what I should be doing, but I found out my gym offers yoga so I plan on aiming to hit at least one of those classes weekly. I took my first class on Monday night, and it was … humbling, and wonderful, but boy does fitness not transfer between running and yoga. I think it’s probably time to start doing some guided strength training too, since I don’t really know what I’m doing and am always worried about doing more harm than good, so I’ll try and incorporate those classes into my schedule too.
I vowed (pun intended) not to set any spring/summer running goals so I can focus on marriage preparation and wedding planning fully, so I’m piggybacking off that in order to undo some of the damage I’ve done to my body with years of running by aiming for a more balanced approach to physical health. Watching the marathon on Sunday made me realize that I would like to do a marathon someday, and I think the first step is getting my body to it’s most healthy place. So, that’s the plan. We’ll see what happens.