NJ Marathon Training Week 15 Recap

I wish I could just pretend that the start of last week never happened.

The issue was low back pain. Not so much like I had pulled something, but more like all my muscles had been compressed and they felt so incredibly tight that I struggled to stand completely upright. I was doing gentle yoga whenever I could trying to stretch everything back out, but to no avail. I couldn’t even get into child’s pose.

Then I spent some time hanging upside down and that ended up being the turning point for the week.

Week 15 Grade: Should have been an F. I’m giving myself an A for effort. 

Monday, March 30: With the shoulder issues I had been having, strength training had gone completely out the window for a bit. Monday I went to MEGABarre and it was a relief to get some movement back into my arms.

Tuesday, March 31: 5 miles. My low back was killing me and I was not going to push myself unnecessarily. I opted for 30 minutes on the elliptical at the gym instead.

Wednesday, April 1: 5 miles pace. Still not pushing it. 35 minutes elliptical trainer and then I decided to attempt a short treadmill run. I was so busy trying to hold my body in such a way that my back wouldn’t hurt that running felt really foreign to me. I gave it up after a mile.

That night I went to aerial yoga class and as I mentioned on Friday this would be the best decision I ever could have made. Inverting myself with the support of the aerial fabric helped open up all the muscles in my lower back. I could actually feel it happening and it was such a huge relief.

Thursday, April 2: 5 miles. Rest day. I had a half day of work on Friday where I could go to the gym in the afternoon for as long as I wanted (or until 5pm when I would need to go pick up Betty) so I switched it up to give my low back an extra day of recovery following that awesome yoga class.

Friday, April 3: I didn’t know if I was going to run or not when I got to the gym, but I was feeling pretty good so I figured I’d give it a shot. I got in 5 miles @ 8:09 (!!!), stretched for about 20 minutes and then hopped in the whirlpool for awhile. Such a huge confidence boost!


Saturday, April 4: I was scared of what Saturday morning would bring after that run, but I rolled pretty easily out of bed and went to spin followed up by a yoga class which, although I was making loads of adjustments, I made it all the way through this time! I actually touched the floor with my legs straight in a forward bend. Doesn’t sound like much, but that is how little I was able to move over the past couple weeks.

Sunday, April 5: Go long. This run was weird for me. The schedule said 20 miles and I had absolutely no intention of doing that many. With no distance agenda and no time in mind besides GO SLOW and walk a lot if I needed to, I felt no pressure at all.

The first 13 miles were actually pretty easy. After that I started walking a lot. I could have pushed so much harder than I did, but I didn’t want to hurt myself and it was just so nice being outside (in shorts!). When I got into mile 16 and 17 I thought about calling Mr. Salt to get me because I was just not mentally into it, but then I got to 18 and realized that my legs still felt decent and I might as well finish the whole thing. So I did. My second 20 miler of this training cycle and now my taper begins.


I am SO happy to be tapering.

Week 15 Mileage: 26.

I had some pretty high hopes when this training cycle started and things were going really well aside from being stuck inside on the treadmill a lot more than I would have liked. And then…I kind of crashed and burned. I guess that’s life though and going into the last couple weeks of this at least I can say that I have been trying my best and I hope that the preparations I’ve made will get me to the finish line in New Jersey.

Thank you so much for all the support and kindness! I’m not done yet! Oh and extra special thanks to Cynthia, Sue, and Suz for the inversion table suggestions. I think I have Mr. Salt on board and hopefully I’ll have one in my house soon enough. 🙂

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and a Happy Easter if that’s your thing! We celebrated with family yesterday and it was so much fun.





NJ Marathon Training Week 14 Recap

I’m hoping it’s uphill from here.

Week 14 Grade: C. Mostly from a health perspective.

Thank goodness this week was a step back in mileage. I already planned on going a little easier and not forcing any of my workouts due to the pain in my shoulder. I never would have guessed that my shoulder would be the least of my worries.

Monday, March 23: My legs were incredibly stiff following 20 miler #1 on Sunday. I was going to take a total rest day, but instead I went to the gym on my lunch break and got on the elliptical for 20 minutes to get my legs moving.  It helped.

Tuesday, March 24: 5 miles on the treadmill @ 8:16 pace which was much better than I thought I’d be capable of. In the evening my lower back was screaming so I went to yoga and only made it through about a half hour before calling it quits.

All these DNFs are starting to get to me.

Anyway, I rolled up my mat and headed home…and was just turning onto my street when I realized that I didn’t have my wedding rings on. Oh. No.

I pulled over and called Mr. Salt…

EXACTLY like this except I was in my car and not a phone booth.

It was EXACTLY like this except I was in my car and not a phone booth.

…and headed back to the gym. Me and my tear-stained face had to re-interrupt the yoga class that I had just interrupted by leaving shortly before which was pretty humiliating. Luckily everyone was wonderful and willing to help me look.

Long story short: we found them on the floor near the front door. I usually take my rings off when I go to yoga, but never, ever again.

Wednesday, March 25: I was supposed to run 8 miles, but I was so slow moving  when my alarm went off that I didn’t have enough time to get them all in. I did manage 7 at 8:48 pace. This is the day when things started to get bad.

My FACE hurt. I still have my wisdom teeth and I knew that they had to be the culprit. Occasionally I feel a little pressure from them, but nothing ever like this. It was so painful that I had a hard time concentrating during the day. Eating was almost unbearable.  I went to happy hour with my coworkers after work and was so miserable the entire time. I knew if things weren’t better tomorrow I’d be calling my dentist.

Thursday, March 26:  I was supposed to run 5 miles, but I decided to take a rest day. My shoulder and low back were aching when I woke up and my jaw was killing me.

But then it was 60 degrees outside. The sun was shining. I couldn’t waste the chance to run in shorts for the first time this year. I packed a bag and mapped a route around my office. I would take it slow. Everything would be fine. WRONG. I got a mile and a half in before my body completely shut down. My lower back/right hip was in so much pain that I could barely walk. If I weren’t so damn stubborn I would have called my coworker to come get me, but instead I hobbled painfully back to the office, so angry at myself for forcing this workout when I should have been resting.

On the way home from work that day I called and set up a date with my dentist for the next morning.

Friday, March 27: Rest day that would have been a rest day even if it were supposed to be a workout day. I was already pretty sure that I’d be missing my long run this weekend too. I went in to work for a couple hours and then to my appointment.

I hate the dentist. Now don’t get me wrong. Dr. N is actually really awesome and I think his office might be the nicest on the whole planet (we’re talking massage exam chairs, aromatherapy, and dvds playing on the ceiling while you get your teeth worked on). I’ve just had this weird fear of the dentist for as long as I can remember. I know I should have gotten these teeth out about 15 years ago, but kept putting it off and putting it off and now I was paying the price. My bottom left wisdom tooth is infected and Dr. N told me kindly that it was time to get them all removed and gave me a prescription and a referral to an oral surgeon whom I am supposed to contact and set up an appointment with on April 27.

See what I did there? New Jersey is on April 26. Dr. N told me that once we got past this infection, that I should be okay until after the marathon.

Also on Friday, I got re-familiarized with this thing:


I totally forgot I had it! After my appointment I spent a good bit of time stick-rolling my lower back and then many times throughout the weekend as well.. I hope my coworkers won’t think I’m weird when I bring it to the office.

Saturday, March 28: Plan said 12 miles. I went to the gym with no agenda. When I woke up I was actually feeling a little better (and finally not sweaty after a week of waking up completely drenched…thanks wisdom tooth!) After stretching a bit, I hopped on a treadmill to see how some easy miles would feel and ended up getting in 8 (9:07 pace).

Dancing counts as cross training, yes? Because Saturday afternoon I went to a wedding. A couple glasses of wine and you can’t keep me off a dance floor.

Note: I am NOT a good dancer, but also after a couple glasses of wine I don’t care. 

Sunday, March 29: Cross training day, but I had other plans. Knocked out the last 4 miles of my split long run (7:58 pace), more stretching, more stick rolling and then a really great nap in the afternoon. I think the antibiotics make me really tired, but overall I am feeling relief and wondering if the tooth has been affecting my shoulders. I’m pretty sure my lower back pain is due to overcompensating for my upper body pain.

I’m just a mess.

So here we are at my last really long run week and I’m nervous. I have 20 miles on the menu for Easter Sunday and will be focusing on stretching and taking it very easy any time I run between now and then. I looked at my training app yesterday and was shocked to see that I’m under 30 days out now.

My goals for this race have been altered, but one thing remains the same. I just want to go out there and have fun and hopefully have a shiny new medal around my neck at the end.

How do you feel about the dentist? Have you ever had to alter your race goals?

I hope everyone had a happy weekend. 🙂



NJ Marathon Training Week 13 Recap

From the highest of highs in week 12 I get the lowest of lows in week unlucky 13.

Okay maybe that’s overdramatic, but compared to last week, this week I received a big old shipment of fail in the form of a chronic injury rearing its hideous head.


I mentioned this briefly in my post yesterday, but I’m having issues with my left shoulder. When the pain really flares up, it also affects the upper part of my chest and back, my neck, my right shoulder and my lower back. Sounds great right? So  yeah…the theme of this week has been “pain management”. If I were a piñata and you hit me with a bat, ibuprofen would come flying out instead of candy.

What a weird mental image.


Week 13 Grade: From a ‘getting it done’ perspective I’ll be generous and give myself a B. 

Monday, March 16: I kicked off hell week with a barre class. I think I mentioned this in my recap from last week, but Sunday evening I got a massage. The masseuse was REALLY digging into my shoulders to the point where I had to tell her to lay off. I think that massage played a very large role in what went horribly wrong.

At barre class my shoulder was already feeling sore, but since I’ve gone through this before I didn’t think too much of it.

Tuesday, March 17: St. Patrick’s Day! Despite soreness in the morning, I got in my 5 (7:49 pace) and it felt good. Perfect temps outside that had me ditching my running jacket even before I started. Then in the evening I was all signed up for SurfSet at Beachfit Baltimore. I had no idea what this class was all about and little did I know I was about to have my world rocked.

Never had I ever taken a boot camp style class before. So what better way to initiate myself than bootcamp on a surfboard? I DID BURPEES ON A FRIGGIN’ SURFBOARD. I had maybe done burpees like three other times in my life. The class was so much fun with great energy and so challenging. By the end I felt confident that I was going to be sore the next day.

I really had NO IDEA.

Wednesday, March 18: Because this was a 20 mile week, my Wednesday run was 5 miles instead of 8. Thank goodness because I never would have made it 8 miles. It was a pace run, but my upper body was screaming so I didn’t want to push it. Instead I ignored my watch and ran at a pace that felt good. My first two miles were slow as I warmed up, but in the end I finished up close to my goal pace (8:22).

Disaster would strike later on in the evening at the most unlikely of places…yoga class. I was excited to get into that hot room and try to stretch/relax my screwed up muscles. Unfortunately bad shoulder had other plans. I made it about halfway through before admitting defeat. I DNF’ed MY YOGA CLASS. I cried all the way home. I’ve never walked out of a yoga class early. It was horrible.

It became clear that there would be no kinds of strength or upper body training allowed until I got everything under control.

Thursday, March 19: 5 miles again and I was prepared for it to be torture so I took it to the treadmill. Because I had to go so slowly in the beginning, I made the best of it by ramping up the hill setting much higher than I usually do. Once again after running for a bit, my shoulder felt looser and I was able to pick it up ending with an overall 8:35 and pace SO THANKFUL for a rest day on Friday.

Thursday night would be the night I woke up at 3am screaming for Mr. Salt because I was literally unable to move my arms. It was exactly as scary as it sounds.

Friday, March 20: I spent the day feeling like I had been run over repeatedly by a truck and attempting to move as little as possible. I couldn’t even pick up Betty. This did not sit well with her.

Saturday, March 21: Due to the snow that had fallen on Friday, my pain level and your votes, I had already decided to move my long run to Sunday. I slept in a bit and then went to the gym for an easy cross training workout. Because getting a little movement into my arms helps the pain, I hopped on the ARC trainer on an easy setting.

By mid-day though I wasn’t sure that my long run was going to happen at all the next day. I went through all sorts of scenarios in my head. Would finishing a marathon even be possible if I missed a run of that magnitude?

Obviously yes, but I was blinded by irrationality and pessimism.

Before bed on Saturday I loaded up with meds, rearranged pillows and blankets into a configuration that helped ease some of the pressure on my neck and shoulders, set my alarm for 6 so I could re-medicate before and crossed my fingers.

Sunday, March 22: The alarm went off and I was afraid to move.

Once I did move though I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I didn’t feel as horrible as I did the previous day. I still wasn’t sure that I would make it 20 miles, but I could at least attempt to put together some kind of long run.

The race recap portion of that run is here.

After the race was over, I still had a little more than a 10K to go and I’d be lying to you if I said it was awesome. It wasn’t. I dialed it back a lot because I definitely went harder in the 15K than I would have had it been a regular training run. By mile 18 I had almost talked myself into stopping and probably would have if I didn’t have to get back to my car. In the end though I got in all 20 at a VERY decent pace considering what I had been dealing with in the days leading up to this run.


Week 13 Mileage: 35

Today I went to the doctor for x-rays which showed nothing out of the ordinary just like every other time I’ve gotten x-rays when this issue pops up. I did get some stronger pain medicine which is about to knock me out as I’m typing this.

Week 14 is a step back week again with only a 12 miler for the long run so I will be taking very good care of myself in the hopes that things are back to normal next week for the last hard week before my taper.

One thing is for certain. No more massages for me for awhile.

Do you suffer from any chronic injuries? Have they ever showed up at a REALLY bad time? Have you ever been in a lot of pain following a massage?