The week after I hurt my ankle I had to allow some time for recovery without losing too much of the cardiovascular fitness I had so far gained. In order to do so, I took a few days off from running and chose instead to exercise on a stationary bicycle. I also decided to pay a visit to Dr. Hamid’s chiropractic clinic in the hopes that he might be able to correct any misalignment problems that might have been causing my reoccurring leg injuries. After assessing my swollen ankle and treating me with a few minor adjustments, Dr. Hamid felt confident that I could resume my training within a few days, provided I apply both ice and heat packs to reduce the swelling. I ran my next set of long runs several days later with my ankle still strapped in a brace, and by the following weekend I was able to lose the brace altogether.
|Before the Nago Half Marathon – Anna came up to support me and run some trails while I raced|
The next weekend was a tapering weekend with shorter long runs of 2 hours on Saturday and 2.5 hours on Sunday. We needed the rest because the weekend after that was going to require fresh legs and a lot of conserved energy. We had a 5 hour run scheduled for Friday, followed by the Okinawa Marathon on Sunday. Call us crazy, but we decided a few days before the marathon that rather than run the race as if we were on a training run, we would try instead to run it in under 3:45; this would be a Boston qualifying time for all three of us.
|Goofing around in the back-row seats of the shuttle bus|
I’m not sure if Anna’s words are responsible for what happened that day, but all three of us girls made our Boston qualifying time, finishing in consecutive 3:34 and 3:36 times (Anna crossed the finish line first, with Andrea and I right behind her crossing the line at the same time). We were the 2nd, 3rd and 4th foreign females to finish and I later found out that I placed 2nd in the 40 to 49 year old female division, consequently earning an additional medal. I was of course elated at the outcome of our race performance, but once again shocked and surprised. It was difficult to comprehend what we had just done given how mentally and physically exhausted we had felt before the race.
|Feeling tired but thrilled with our results|
While the marathon was undoubtedly a great victory for us, it came at a cost. For me, the cost came in the form of more swelling, this time around my left ankle and up into the calf area. My right calf and hamstring had started hurting at around mile 13 of the marathon, so to take the weight off my right side I began to lean more on my left side. I suspect that was probably the cause of my latest injury, and while I am not certain of that, the fact remained that I was facing yet another injury and the ultra was now just four weeks away. I also had another huge training weekend ahead of me; a 5 hour run scheduled for Friday, followed by a 4 hour run on Saturday.
As race day drew nearer, and my nerves were a constant reminder of the enormous challenge we were about to undertake, I was able to take comfort in the words of the race director who spoke to us at our pre-race orientation. He reminded us all that while it was indeed a race for many of us, it was also a race that would take us along some of the most beautiful and scenic trails in the world and we should enjoy every moment of it. His words were simple yet profound, and it suddenly dawned on me that race day wasn’t a day to fear, but a day to look forward to.
Part three to follow next week…..
This week’s ultratraining tip:
Set aside some extra funds to go towards recuperative and injury-prevention treatments such as deep-tissue massage, acupuncture, and chiropratic adjustments. Training for an ultramarathon takes an incredible toll on the body and extra care and attention to tired muscles and joints is mandatory if you want to stay injury-free and recover quickly from training runs. Some self-care techniques you can do yourself at home include taking ice baths after long runs, using a foam roller or tennis ball to massage tender spots, and using ice and heat pads to help reduce inflammation.