Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How I'm Holding Up

It’s been awhile since I last updated this blog… and even longer since I discussed my marathon training. Here’s a quick overview of what I’ve been up to

  • In addition to the Saturday morning runs with CARA, I’ve been making a strong effort to attend the Wednesday night runs. For the most part, I’ve succeeded. The group on Wednesday is much smaller – about four or five runners in my pace group, versus 50 or so on a Saturday morning – which paves the way for more intimate conversation. We typically run a little harder/faster, so these runs have been a real confidence boost.
  • I ran the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in Chicago on August 2. It was my first experience running a half marathon, and I'm so glad I did it. Not only because I not only achieved, but also beat, my goal time (stats here: Erin rocked the Rock n' Roll Half), but because it allowed me to experience Chicago from a perspective I have before. For example, I rode my bike down Lakeshore just before sunrise. A beautiful surreal sight, indeed!
  • Our weekly long runs are continuing to get farther… and farther… and farther. This week, we’re up to 17 miles! Yikes! I’d be kidding if I didn’t say I was a bit nervous. I’m not nessecarily worried about being able to run 17 miles – I know I can do it – I’m worried about how I’ll feel after. Will I have any energy for the day? This weekend is the Air and Water Show in Chicago, and I’d hate not being able to enjoy watching it. Will I be able to stay awake past 10 p.m., or even 9 p.m.? And how will my legs feel? Will I be able to walk?

My concern about body pains brings me to my next point: my iliotibial (IT) band. IT band syndrome is an extremely common running injury, and I think I have an acute case. A number of factors can cause it, but my self-diagnosis is that a combination of running a lot of miles, running on pavement, overpronation and genetics is causing pain on the outside of knee (the most common symptom) to occur. I’m trying not to freak out. In my four years as a high school runner, one year as a collegiate athlete and the 18 or so weeks I spent training for my previous marathon, my most serious injuries included shin splints and blisters.

For now, I’m resisting the urge to attend the CARA run this evening and am going to hole up at Bally’s for a low-impact cross-training session on the elliptical. I’m also icing two to three times per day, taking anti-inflammatories and doing stretching and strength-training activities. I’m determined to kick this.

Come on, body – hold yourself together for nine more weeks!

P.S. If any of you runners out there have any advice/tips, let me know! I’m all ears!


  1. Yay, so glad to hear how you're doing! Congrats on rocking out the half marathon!

    I know what you mean about the long runs. I've got 18 coming up this week as part of my Chicago training, and I can't believe I'm already running so far. I've done a few marathons so I know I can do it, but it's still nerve racking.

    I'm usually able to do things on long run days. If I don't take a nap, I just take an ice bath, drink some coffee, and head out. I'm usually just fine except that I'm ready to crash by 9 or 10. If I can get in a quick nap after my ice bath, then that certainly helps. It's actually really good to stay on your feet some on the day of a long run... it helps you to be less sore.

    I had some serious IT band issues when I was training for my second marathon. I found that icing it really helped, but I tried to lay off the meds just because too much of them can cause stomach issues. I also cut out what I call "junk miles" and kept my running to just a speed workout, a tempo run and a long run each week and then did biking on two other days. I also did yoga and really focused on stretching my hips with moves like The Pigeon (you can google that and do it at home daily.)

    Also, Google "Patt Strap." Whenever my band starts flaring up again, I run all my runs wearing it until the issue clears up. I found this to be much more helpful than a lot of the other iT Band straps out there.

    Hope this helps!

  2. thanks so much for your advice... everything! i am a huge fan of ice baths... actually, a small group of us dip into the FREEZING lake after and i follow it up with another at home.

    thanks, too, for the advice on the IT band issues! i'll be ordering a patt strap momentarily!

    finally, good luck w/ your 18-miler this weekend! i look forward to hearing about it!