Saturday, September 27, 2008

How's Your Gastrocnemius?

I had to move the Bill Gillis/Shouting and Pointing song over to the right margin. I may periodically put a few other past or potential songs on the marathon playlist back in the player at the top of the posts over the next couple weeks. For now you can still get your dose of "A Little Bit of Faith" on the imeem player.
I went to the doctor yesterday. Here's Dr. Garelic's diagnosis on my knee issue. I have a strained gastrocnemius muscle. It basically the part of the calf muscle that starts behind the knee. Here's a picture of the muscle in relation to the lower leg:

I can still run, but he advised me to take 600-800mg of Ibuprofen one hour before running. He also told me to get some physical therapy three days a week for each of the two weeks before the marathon. I was lucky enough to get into Athletico this morning for my first appointment.
My physical therapist there stretched me out and did some analysis on my legs. He then came up with a stretching program to help me try to get the muscle back in good condition. I am also to ice the area after any physical activity, including walking around for an hour.

I am happy with the results and am glad I decided to go get it checked out. I ran yesterday in the early evening after taking a few advils. It did seem to help lessen the pain a little bit, but I could still feel it here and there. I didn't run into any stoplights yesterday, so I was able to keep my legs moving the whole time. That was one of the issues the past week. Any time I'd have to stop, getting started again was really painful. After the legs got pumping for a minute or two, they would feel a little better, but they'd get progressively worse after each stop and start.

Here are the numbers from yesterday:
10 miles total - 2 mile warm up jog
4x1600m @ followed by an untimed 800m
the four 1600 meter times: 6:34, 6:43, 6:43, 6:31
a couple miles at an easy pace to finish out the run.

I'll most likely be running early in the morning tomorrow. I think I am going to push the pace in the middle miles of th 12 mile run. I'd like to put up several consistent 7:40s. I guess while I am talking about pace now I can loosely unveil the goals for October 12th. Here they are:

Best case scenario which would include feeling healthy, good cool running weather, and feeling good that day:
3h:20m or a 7:40 pace
It's a little aggressive and I will make the call that day if I will actually shoot for it. It may be a case where I hang around the 3:20 group for the first 10 miles or so and make the call at that point. Or maybe lag back in the 7:45 range and make a move in the second half if I feel up for it. The downside to that strategy is that if I run a 7:45 for the first half, I'd have to average a 7:35 for miles 13.2 through 26.2. I don't think planning for a negative split at that pace is the best idea I have had. The last 3-6 miles can be brutal. I have run a few sub 8's for the last 5K in the past, so it's possible, but still very tough.

More likely reachable goal:
3:23-3:25 or a pace in the range of 7:45 to 7:50
I think this is possible and would fit in with my natural improvement in times over the years - minus the scorcher last year, of course. I think I have trained pretty hard and very well this season and my level of fitness can support a pace in that range over 26.2 miles. I have been pretty happy with my times throughout training. I do have the minor issue in my leg right now, but I don't anticipate it giving me problems by then. Positive thinking can work wonders.

Last resort goal:
It's still an 8:00 pace per mile, but I have to crack the 3:30 mark. And this year is my best chance to do it yet. I will finish the race no matter what happens - if had to walk on one leg with the other leg that fell off in one hand for a few miles, I'd do that. If I finished last year, I can finish any marathon.

With that being said, no matter what happens on October 12th, the amazing things that we've done here and for FSMA will make this marathon one of greatest successes of my life. I appreciate all of your continued support and can't thank each and every one of you enough. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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