About two weeks, ago I participated in the Bourbon Chase, a 200 mile relay that follows the Bourbon Trail. I was runner No. 2 and had the most mileage of the 12 runners on our team, a bit over 21 miles split into three runs.
I had about six hours in between each run, plenty of time to recover right? Apparently not. See, I’m in great shape, just not great distance running shape. I’ve only been running about 10 miles a week really since the Boston Marathon in April so although 5K and 10K races go just fine, anything over that is a bit of a struggle.
While running the last of my three sections, I was incredibly tired and my legs were very, very sore. Functioning on very little sleep and some questionable food choices after close to 24 hours in a vehicle didn’t help the situation and the gigantic hill I was facing was the icing on the cake.
My quads were screaming at me and my energy level was at an all time low. When the pain started on the bottom insole of my left foot, I soldiered on at a slow jog and then finally resolved myself to a brisk walk.
It was very depressing to watch all the other runners pass me going up the hill, no one else seemed to be walking except me. I finished the section, passed my timing chip to the next runner and I was done.
The next day, I noticed the inside of my left foot was lightly bruised and it still hurt a ton. Now, I was not only a tired runner, I was an injured runner. And the Black Cat Chase was Friday night. What could I do?
When it comes to injuries like this the best thing you can do is take time off from the sport. This injury was completely due to the lack of running training, the pounding on the ground that the body has to endure has to be built up gradually and I just didn’t do enough running training for the distance I was going to have to run in the Bourbon Chase.
My long runs should have been in the 16 mile range, not eight, going into this race even though I never ran more than eight miles at a time. Lesson learned.
So what now? I did not run the Black Cat Chase. I started in the very back and walked the 3.1 miles and cheered on all my friends as they ran past going down Capital Avenue. It was of course disappointing, but ended up having a lot of fun.
I still have not run, I feel like my body is just very tired these days so I am focusing on rest and recovery for the time being. Bike season is about over and I still swim. The only race I have lined up is a Thanksgiving Day race I do every year.
I usually do pretty well, but this year, I think I may stick with my daughter and run it with her if she’ll let me. Three miles running with mom may be a bit too much nagging, we’ll see.
They say time heals all wounds and it will this one if I take care of myself. Keep running, but remember to build slow and don’t disregard your recovery time. If you do that, and have patience, you will become a better runner for the long haul.
Linda Word is an RRCA running coach, ACE Personal Trainer, ACE Nutrition Specialist, owner of ForWord Running Pacers and co-coach for 3 Sport Endurance. Contact her at forwordrunning @gmail.com to get started on your own fitness journey.