I’m happy to report that I successfully completed the Boston marathon for the third time! It was my slowest, but my most cherished finish. As I mentioned in my last post, I had stem cell injections in November with the hopes of repairing a tear in my plantar plate on the left foot. It’s a tough injury to heal so I had to tread lightly with my training, starting on the Alter G treadmill. After 6 weeks on the Alter G I was only allowed to run up to 3 times per week and had to build my training to at least 20 miles within 11 weeks. I was working with new orthotics and a stiffer model of Hokas. Needless to say, all those changes were too much and I had issues with my let knee pretty quickly after I started running outside. That keep me to walking and using the elliptical… it takes a long time to get 14 miles in that way! Got a prolotherapy injection in the knee and the pain was completely gone. I went back to my training schedule and all went well… for a few weeks. As I started my 20 mile run, I felt like I had finally gotten my mojo back for the first hour. Around mile 8 I noticed a pain around my achilles on the left side. By mile 10 I could no longer run but I could walk. I walked another 6 miles back home and felt like I had at least gotten some time on my feet. The pain increased after I stopped and lasted for 3 weeks. I was just hoping that I could walk the marathon and complete it in the allotted time. The week before the marathon I ran three miles to test things (replaced the orthotics and needed to figure out which shoe I should use). Achilles felt okay so I was going for it!
I love race weekend in Boston and this time meant more to me as this may be my last marathon (maybe ;-). The weather was predicted to be cold, rainy and windy but the forecast was getting better as race day approached. Turned out there was some rain before the start but we actually had some heat and sun throughout most of the race. My plan was to run 3-4 minutes and walk 1 minute, to protect my foot and heel. Because I was not racing I planned to give tons of high fives and really interact with the amazing Boston crowds. As I started the race, I was feeling really good and running what felt like my natural gait. I decided to run as fast as felt comfortable, particularly on the downhill sections, and take walk breaks around 4 minutes or when a downhill ended. Since this is not my first Boston, I knew this was not a great idea for my quads but I was still fearful that I could have foot issues and walk at the end so needed to make up as much time as I could. Surprisingly, I was running along with the same people even with the walk breaks so the walk breaks were allowing me to run faster. I did the first half in 2:01, which was faster than I expected, considering my injuries and lack of training. That said, I knew that I could not keep that pace up. As expected, my quads really started to hurt in the last downhill section after walking up Heartbreak Hill. The area of the plantar plate injury was starting to hurt, as well, and I knew that walking takes some pressure of that area. But, walking really hurt my quads so I just kept switching to move the pain around. As the last mile approached it started to lightly rain, which felt really good. I ran the last part on Boylston and I was soooo excited to cross that line and get that medal around my neck. It was 33 minutes off my Boston PR and I did not re-qualify but I was damn proud of this one! That medal belonged to not just me but all those that helped me cross that finish line… my husband and son for putting up with all the injuries and worry, Dr. Tim Mazzola and his mastery with stem cells and Physical Dimensions Interactive Health Group for constantly putting me back together. It truly does take a village!
There were not many changes on nutrition but because of the heat, I bumped up my electrolyte intake and took in 1 Salt Stick capsule every hour (and 1 before the start). In addition, to protect my quads, I took in 3 amino acid capsules every hour. Since I’m fat adapted and not running at the intensity of years past I simply took in 2 X2 Performance over the course of the race. Prior to the race I took in 1 Vespa and 1 Vespa Jr.
The good news is that I found some underlying causes for the soft tissue injuries over the past two years. I’m addressing the root cause and feeling optimistic, particularly since my body just handled 26.2 miles on limited training and there were no new injuries! More to come on this but sticking to low mileage for the race season so that my plantar plate can continue to heal and so that I can address underlying health issues.