NYC Marathon Training – When the Road Takes an Unexpected Turn
September is always a bit of a whirlwind for me and this month has been no exception. I travelled to the East Coast at the beginning of the month to race Raid International Gaspesie with Brad Jennings and from the moment I came back, I jumped into one of our busiest times at work, began a 10 month leadership program with an extensive amount of prep work, started coaching my local college cross country team and began working with Fast and Female to bring an event to Waterloo in October. And somewhere in there, I have expectations for myself to have a healthy, strong and flawless marathon build to New York City marathon in November. But more on that in a little bit…
Let’s back up, shall we? I wanted to speak a little bit about Raid. This was my second time racing the event and it was by far my favourite. We didn’t win like last time. We actually didn’t even really come close. A combination of Olympians in our category and some fatal errors cost us the race and the podium but it truthfully didn’t affect me much because I was surrounded by coasts with seals and sunsets, check points in waterfalls and at lookouts that literally took my breath away and the fact that my dad was able to come and crew.
It was so meaningful to have my dad there with me. One of my favourite posts on the internet is called The Tail End by Tim Urban on the amount of time you have left with people that matter in your life. It’s worth leaving here for so go do it…I’ll wait.
It was special to have a full week of memories with my dad. He was such an incredible help and we were able to spend a lot of time talking and just spending quality time together. I was grateful.
The race was three days of racing with 100 km each day, broken up across the categories of canoeing, trail running, mountain biking, rock climbing and orienteering. I was most proud of my mountain biking growth – the last day, I comfortably road a double black diamond downhill trail with only a few white knuckle moments, the key thing I need to work on is root sections on an uphill and riding technical trails right by a drop off. Any advice is welcomed.
The second day, we were running along the coast on wet rocks (you read that correctly) and I rolled my right ankle hard. I yelped and told Brad we needed to keep running and I could “walk it off”.
Soon enough, it numbed up and the next morning, it appeared to be fine. It was only in the final quarter of the last day that I felt it again, but it was a light pain and I gave it no mind. We finished the race and celebrated and went to bed.
The next morning, I woke up to a swollen right ankle. I mean, swollen. I tried to stay calm and put on some compression socks, knowing that I was jumping right back into my marathon training build that week and had no time for injury.
I rested for two days and then did a big training week on top of an unspeakably stressful work week. This week, I’ve seen 12 hour work days, lots of car travel and my fridge is a light bulb and La Croix. I am basically a “what not to do” case right now and I wanted to talk about it.
I think it is important to share the moments of your life that are less than perfect alongside the moments that are great. I have had a lot of great moments in 2018. I have prioritised self care. But sometimes, balance in life means not being balanced in every area all at once and in a month where I need to prioritise my work, my education and some important projects, it can affect how I look after myself.
So what does this mean going forward? I am being smart. I have booked appointments with experts who have cleared me to train for now, but using necessary precautions of taping, icing/heat and quitting workouts when it hurts.
I am readjusting my priorities for New York City, for Wilderness Traverse (my 24 hour adventure race) and for Seattle half marathon to close out the year. My primary goal is self care, because unless I am magically going to win the NYC marathon (hint: no), it isn’t worth not treating myself with kindness.
I would be lying if I would say I am not frustrated. I have gone almost 4 years with consistent, healthy training and what is causing an issue isn’t an overtraining issue, it was just a silly ankle roll that threw a red mark on my progress. To wrap this up, my point is that sometimes things don’t go perfectly and that is ok. Sometimes you need to go to Plan B or even Plan C with your races if it means keeping your word with other commitments.
Today, even though my training is not going as I had hoped, I am grateful to be able to keep running and participating in an incredible athletic community. Sometimes the road to a race isn’t a straight or perfect one but that is what keeps it interesting. I will keep you updated as I continue the journey to New York City marathon. Now if you excuse me, I’m off to eat a vegetable or two and rest my ankle.