Yup, ran another road marathon yesterday at the Manchester Marathon in Manchester, NH. I ran this last year in 3:45, trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon and just squeaked under the wire by several seconds. This year was a different story...
...about 4 weeks ago as you read below in a previous post, I ran a marathon and had to stop at mile 20 due to knee pain. This was Patella Tendinitis, which I have had for 20+ years, but had gone quiet by running trails. My recent interest in running some road races the past 2 years caused it's return. So in my research in this knee injury I cam across the ChiRunning website that I discuss in the post before this one.
After the marathon 4 weeks ago, I figured I was done for the year. Time to recover from all the hard training and racing and ramp up for next year. I had also sprained my ankle during a trail run a few weeks ago, so now I was really done! But the ankle came around and ChiRunning was feeling pretty good, so last Wednesday I entered Manchester just to see how this new running technique would work with the knee.
While running I was trying not to actually notice the time or pace I was running, rather focus on the form, the lean and midfoot landing of ChiRunning. But it was hard as every 5 miles they had a digital clock on the course, so I noticed that at 5 miles 43:28, I was cruising along at a comfortable, but a little faster than training pace. I was running behind a BQ pace, but this same thing happened last year, also because of the hilly beginning of the course. By 10 miles (1:24:16) I had caught up to and was running a little faster than BQ time and I wasn't even trying. So much for not training for this and only averaging about 15 mpw since mid October! At 15 miles I hit in 2:06:42, still under an 8 1/2 mpm average and I felt great. But for some reason at the 20 mile aid station my hamstrings were beginning to cramp, somthing I never experienced before, so I guessed it was from this form of leaning and striding backwards. So I stopped and drank a cup of water, did a gel and stretched out the hammies, never having a problem with them again.
At this point just trying to focus on my form was getting hard, but that was what I put all my mental energy on so as to not hurt the knee again because this couse had a lot of ups and downs, the downs being the knee killer. Yeah, like in any marathon it was getting hard, but I was still passing a bunch of runners who had gone out too fast on this cool day. I no longer looked at any times and just ran. I didn't want to see that if I pick it up in the last couple of miles, I'll get that BQ, rather I wanted to come out of this injury free...and so far at mile 23 my legs were feeling great (my head wasn't feeling too good, though) ;-) But I ground out those final miles, now running all alone, several runners going by while I went by several. I turned the corner to the finish and saw the clock at 2:51, I immedietly thought about my knee and how there was no pain at all....good news!
After the run it was a treat to have Senator John Sununu greet me after the ifnish.
Today I decided to not go for a run, but I probably could have. My legs are a little stiff, mostly due to no mileage. How many people do you know who can run a marathon on 15 mpw with no long runs ;-)
So that be that, all is well and I am now hoping for a high mileage winter!