Tues: 45mins (av 5:30 min/km)
Wed: 60mins (av pace 5:15 min/km) - pain, pain, pain
Fri: 40mins (av 5:38 min/km)
Sat: 28k easy (av 5:05 min/km) - glute pain, over-compensate
Total 55k for the week
Not happy with how things are going at the moment - both physically and psychologically.
Went to see a sports doc early this week and after spending a couple of hours of various tests (treadmill video analysis, x-ray for stress fracture etc), he confirmed my & Epi's suspicion that the problem was anterior tibialis extensor tendonitis (left leg). As mentioned in my blog a month ago, I was having tight calf issues which affected some of my workouts, but did not cause any pain so I just ran through it. As a guy who is so damn lazy to stretch and prefer to rely on sports massage once every 1-2 weeks, I had one period where I trained hard for a full month without massage/stretching. The tight calf caused muscle imbalance and altered my biomechanics. Instead of the heel/mid-foot landing flat on the ground, the tight calf caused it to land half-tilted. As I unconsciously ran this way and continued to train hard, the tibia and extensor tendon got damaged and the pain goes all the way from ankle joint to the lateral shin since the tendon is inter-connected. The doc thinks probably it will take a few weeks of reduced running to fully heal and I might have to look at orthotics or alter my running gait to prevent it happening again.
After incorporating anti-inflammatories, massage, and ankle strengthening exercises this week, the pain seems to improve slightly by the end of the week. I decided to give myself an 'exam' in the form of long run. If I can last something around 32k, then I' rate myself a good chance to make it to the starting line. At the end, I stopped the run at 28k which included breaks every 5k to give the leg some relief. Although, the anterior tibialis and extensor tendon issues were tolerable, but my right glute got very sore since it had to over-compensate my troubled left leg. I decided to stop due to tiredness (very warm morning) and the painful glutes.
Psychologically, I feel like Alice in a wreck land. With 5 weeks to go, I was all systems go and my body was ready to tackle 3 weeks of high mileage and sharpening workouts, followed by a 2 weeks taper. The injury changes everything and now I am looking at a premature 5 weeks taper. It is just so damn frustrating to look at my training log this week and being unable to do any runs faster than 5:00 pace. To make things worse, my last long run further than 30k was done 7 weeks ago, so unless things improve dramatically and somehow I can magically do 30k+ run in the next week or so, I would go to the start lime without any long runs in the last 2 months or so.
What's next? I just found out that although 10k and HM slots are full, but those who entered the marathon during the early bird/normal registration period can still downgrade. However, it seems there are conflicting deadline dates. In the Melbourne Marathon newsletter, it says that the last day to change event is 22 Sep (this Wednesday). On the flip side, the website says that changes are still allowed even until the race week. Will call the organizer to confirm.
Downgrading to the HM is an attractive option since 1) it allows me to manage and nurse the injury, 2) even with low mileage, I think I still have a chance to run a decent time, 3) no requirement to taper until the last few days (possibly means 2.5 weeks of hard training); and 4) easy to recover and I can still train/race until year end.
On the flip side, marathon is truly something special and sub-3 is like a sub-4 mile for a guy like me who picked up running in his 30s. Prior to the injury, I'd say my training was much better than my previous prep for Gold Coast and Seoul which yielded 3.04 and 3.03 respectively. So, sub-3 was certainly a chance, especially if the weather conditions, pacing, and fueling on the day are perfect. But now, I feel that chance is slipping away. I expect my finishing time to be volatile. On a good day, I possibly still can run 3.15 and under. On a bad day or in a situation where my legs can't hold up, I might be looking at 3.30-4.00 hour marathon. At this juncture, I am in no mood to do a marathon for sight-seeing unless if it is held in the Himalayas or Santorini.
In ideal world, I would like to delay my decision as late as possible, say until the race week in order to allow myself a chance to run the marathon. If they confirm the deadline is this Wednesday, more likely than not, I will downgrade to half mary barring any miracles. There is no marathon race planned until Gold Coast 2011 - which is 9 months away.
It is just amazing what marathon training can do for you. With 5 weeks to go, I was strong as bull, then bang !! - shit happened. I then virtually lost 2 weeks worth of training time. And now there are only 3 weeks left and the worse thing is that I might not train much at all :(