Marathon Training Week 17: The Great Pool Debacle

Weekly Summary 4/13/15-4/19/15

As noted in my last running post, I developed a calf strain via the cramp I ran on during the last two miles of the Hollywood Half Marathon. After the disappointment of not getting a new PR, I then had to deal with the unbelievable position of being injured with just 6 weeks to go until the marathon. ARGGGH.

After throwing a big, fat mental fit, I pulled it together and got down to the business of deciding how I would cross-train for a week. *Lightbulb* “Hey, what about the pool running belt in your trunk?” My FMC had lent me a pool running belt a few years ago. She had used it when she developed an injury during her marathon training many moons ago, and it had been sitting in my trunk – unused – ever since. However, I had read how beneficial pool running was and how it most closely simulated running for injured runners, so I excitedly pulled it out and dusted it off.

Well this is awkward.
Well this is awkward.

I made my way down to the “deep” end, which, luckily (ha) I’m five foot nothing because the deepest the gym pool gets is five feet. Anyway, I got there and commenced this jerky, listing, WTH-is-that version of running. Not only was the movement itself bizarre, I could only run in a 10×10 square because if I tried to catapult myself down the lane, my hobbit feet would touch the bottom of the pool. Oh, the humiliation. If you decide to pool run, know this: Check your ego at the door because no one – not even Prince – can make pool running look cool. I hung in though for forty-five minutes.

I noticed during my pool run that at times I’d start feeling dizzy. I figured it was just my awkward motion and going in circles, but my nausea continued once I was on land for a bit. I attempted lifting some weights, but I had to leave the gym abruptly because I couldn’t get my legs under me. Once I got home, I lay down and promptly got the spins, and then it hit me. All that flailing around and the weird buoyancy from the belt made me motion sick! Has this ever happened? Has anyone given themselves motion sickness from running in a pool?! Of course I would. Anyway, it took a few hours for me to get right. Pool running was a major hashtag fail.

This woman staring at me disapprovingly while I pool run.
This woman staring at me disapprovingly while I pool run.

I ended up using the stationary bike and the kickboard for the next couple days. I also did a lot of strength training and even found an ingenious way to use my iPod nano in the pool.

I’ve ordered a proper waterproof case to use next week, but this did the trick in the interim.
I’ve ordered a proper waterproof case to use next week, but this did the trick in the interim.

Now I had planned to be out of commission running-wise until Monday earliest, but come Thursday, my calf felt great. It didn’t hurt when I walked, and I only felt it when I did one particular stretch — the extended calf while pushing against a wall stretch. I waited an extra day and then stepped out for a four-mile run on Friday. I felt great! No post-run issues. After contacting my FMC, we decided to try an easy 20-mile run this weekend, and I promised to call it quits once I felt anything funny in the calf.

The run started out fine, and I felt so good that I threw caution to the wind and threw 12 MP miles in there. I crapped out at mile 17, but that was more from the heat and a wonky right knee than anything. The calf felt fine. I didn’t even ice it afterwards. You see where this is going, right? Seriously, the only other thing I could have done to make this situation better was to not have any water so I could give myself another cramp.

I woke up with my calf tight as hell again, but after rolling it out and warming it up, I was able to do a six-mile recovery run easily, and it felt great. I don’t feel anything while I walk or even run. The only time I feel the tightness is when I do the above-mentioned extended leg stretch, but when I do feel it, I FEEL it. It’s tight. There is something wrong there.

It is with great annoyance that I close out this summary with the news that I have decided to take a full week off. I am calling upon all the discipline of my Asian ancestors as it is incredibly counterintuitive to not run when I feel no pain while running.

In the meantime, the mental work that I’m putting in hopefully makes up for the running work I’m not. First, I’m choosing to pretend that I have the flu. I got bronchitis and the flu one year while marathon training, and I couldn’t run for a couple weeks yet somehow I was able to finish a marathon comfortably (not fast). For some reason, being that kind of sick is an easier pill to swallow. I’ve also committed to my FMC that I will not run until Tuesday. Even if my calf feels great on Thursday, I’m not running until next Tuesday. There. I said it. It’s off the table. I will also have to step up my visualization game. Seeing my calf heal and me running a smart, steady marathon are important to counterbalance the freakout that is just under the surface. Lastly, Mountains2Beach is the first of what I hope is three marathons planned this year. I may have to adjust my time goal at Mountains2Beach, but I will finish. It is more important to run healthy – if not particularly fast – in my first marathon of the year.

In summary, it’ll be my patience rather than my lactate threshold that will be tested this week, but it will be tested.

Hope everyone has a great running week!

Total weekly mileage: 27
Long run: 17 miles; 12 miles at MP
Abs (6x); Upper Body (2x); Leg Strengthening (32 exercises-15 reps-3 sets); Pilates (1x)


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