This has nothing to do with pizza oven design or technology, outdoor fireplaces, or wood-fired cooking (sorry about that), but I wanted to share a little bit on my running. Or more accurately running injuries and Boston 2012.
I suffered a bruise on my femur on Dec. 4th. At first, the doctors thought that I has a stress fracture on my patella, which would have been a small and relatively fast healing injury. I stayed away from running for six weeks, and then tried ramping back up slowly running only on soft grass. After trying to build up for six weeks, I could see that my knee had not healed—so I had an MRI, which showed the bruise. The good news is that my knee will completely heal, that the cartilage, meniscus and ligaments are in good shape, and that my knee alignment is very good (my patella glides “flawlessly”). The only downside is that the bruise on a larger bone takes longer to heal. So I kept cycling and took off another four weeks from running.
Which roughly gets me to today. I have been running again for about 10 days, and am pretty confident that my knee is better.
The downside is about four months of disrupted running. But there are a couple of upsides as well. I have taken up cycling, averaging nearly 50 miles per day for one stretch, plus I have given my legs what might have been a necessary break from hard training and I have decided to try triathlons this summer. All of which are positive, both, I think, for my long term health and for my long term running goals. If I were to allow for a month of downtime following the December double, you could even make the case that it was only a three month disruption—and I ran some during the recovery time. So it could have been a lot worse.
For some perspective, I have been running for about 3 1/2 years, and this is my second injury. About two years ago, I strained an achilles tendon. That injury took six months to heal, and by coincidence, the recovery culminated with the Boston Marathon 2010. I ran the Boston 2 Big Sur double that year, and emerged feeling healthy and ready to train at full load again. With some luck, the B2B double this year will again mark the start of a solid new period of training.
Interestingly, while I look back on Boston 2010 with a lot of fond memories, I think I would call it the most difficult race I have run (out of 13 marathons so far). My general fitness level was not as high then as it is today, so the multiple month recovery period took its toll. I had to work very hard at that race to finish at 3:21, five minutes slower than my PR at that time. I’m still glad I raced hard and basically held it together my first time on the Boston course.
All of which brings me to today. Boston 2012 is in one week. And I need to decide how to approach the race. On one hand, I have barely run for the past 4 1/2 months—not exactly a good idea before racing a marathon. On the other hand, I came into this period with a pretty high degree of fitness, and I have been biking and swimming.
So while I can’t run a PR (2:54), I think it might be possible to run a decent race; though it is equally (or more) possible for me to try to run an OK race and completely crash—either during the entire second half, or in the last 10K. Do I race, or do I approach this as a training run? Do I run Boston comfortably, and race Big Sur in three week, and try to win my age group? Or, do I run both comfortably, so that I can pick up training again right after Big Sur? I am on the verge of signing up for the Vineman Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 111 mile bike and 26.2 mile run) on July 28th, and I don’t want to lose valuable training time to race recovery.
That is what I need to work out in the next seven days. If this race follows the pattern of other races, I will probably decide either at dinner the night before, or in the last couple of minutes before they sing the national anthem, and the gun goes off. Either way, it will be fun to work out what to do and even more fun to run the race.