Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chicago Marathon Training: Week Ten - Strange Aches

Here is the breakdown for Week Ten of my Chicago Marathon Training:

Monday: 60 Minute Run - 4.35 mi
Tuesday: 38 Minute XT - Yoga Meltdown Level One Plus
Wednesday: 40 Minute Tempo and Four Stride Drills - 3.6 mi
Thursday: REST - unplanned
Friday: 1 hour XT - Hot Power Fusion Yoga
Saturday: 16 Mile Long Run
Sunday: REST

Monday was a good run.  An hour on a weekday can be tough to fit in, but I had a later shift at work so I wasn't crunched for time.  I just ran a loop through my neighborhood and kept a relaxed pace.  I really enjoyed listening to my book too. (World Without End)

Tuesday I did level one of Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown.  I felt really good and focused throughout.  I made sure to check my posture in my poses.  I added a few more hip openers and stretches at the end to add some more time.  

Wednesday was a faster paced run.  I decided to run to Whole Foods to get some groceries. I ended with four strong stride drills as well.

On Thursday I was supposed to run for 45 minutes but decided to take a rest day instead.  The past few days I had been having some lower back pain.  I couldn't get comfortable sitting or lying down and all the stretching I did didn't seem to relive the pain.  I scheduled a doctors appointment (with my own, new health insurance!) to have it checked out, because it just didn't feel right.  Thankfully she didn't notice anything out of place, just a tight muscle in my back, but pretty much told me to take acetaminophen to help with the pain.  She said most lower back pain goes away by itself with a couple weeks.  It is just weird, because I don't feel pain when walking or running.  

I thought some yoga might help and Friday walked over to Core Power Yoga for an early Hot Power Fusion class.  I think it has been over a month since my last one and it was so good to be back.  I wasn't has strong in all the poses, but it was a good, sweaty class. 

I got up early Saturday morning to get in my long run of 16 miles in before work later that day.  Before I left I ate a black cherry almond Clif bar and water.  It was dark when I started and as I reached the lakeshore I got to see the sun rise.

Once I made it to the lake I ran north about two miles and then looped back south to Oak Street Beach and then turned around and ran back north on the inner trail through Lincoln Park.  The weather was so much nicer than my 12 and 14 mile runs down south.  It was about 55-6o degrees and perfect for running.  I was able to keep a pretty steady pace with my heart rate in the right training zone.  I took short walk breaks every two miles or so.  I fueled with my favorite Fruit Smoothie Honey Stinger Chews around miles four, eight, and twelve.  I also had G2 around six, twelve, and fourteen.   
About halfway through I started to notice some strange cramping in my left calf, toes, and foot.  I had to stop two or three times to stretch out my legs which helped some.  It was just really annoying and something I have never felt before when running.  I think it might have been related to the tight muscle in back.  I just stayed focused on my form which helped me finish the 16 miles.  A brand new personal distance record! 
I stopped by City Provisions on my way and grabbed a bottle of chocolate milk which was delicious.  
I had just enough time when I got home to stretch, foam roll, shower, and eat a peanut butter and jelly toasted english muffin before I going to work.  
At work I noticed that the toes on my left foot felt kind of numb.  It was more uncomfortable than anything else.  I work at a spa and asked a few of the massage therapist what they thought and they suggested rolling a tennis ball on the tight muscle in my lower back.  That definitely helped relieve some of the tension and made the numbness in my toes subside.  I don't know what is going on, but I think it is all connected. 
After standing and walking around all day at work, I was ready to put my feet up when I got home and enjoy some Ben & Jerry's Half Baked ice cream.  

Sunday I massaged my back some more with the tennis ball before heading to work again.

Right now my back is still a little sore, but feels better.  My left calf and toes still feel strange and a bit numb off and on.  I have been wearing compression socks whenever I am home to help my circulation.  I think things are getting better, but I may go back to the doctor if it doesn't feel better soon.  I just don't know what the deal is.  It is not painful, just weird and annoying.  I haven't noticed that running makes it any worse so I am still following my plan.  I am taking more time to stretch and foam roll in hopes this will work out any kinks.  If something hurts I will be sure to stop and reevaluate though.  

Has anyone experienced something like this?  Any advice on what I should do?  What is one of the first things you drink or eat after a long run?