Single-Track Trail on Larkin State Park Trail

Training Recap #17 as of July 14, 2019

Training recap #17 covers two weeks from July 1 to July 14, 2019. During the previous training session #16, I ran 26 miles on 6 days (due to plantar fasciitis).

Training Period #17 Goals

Following the plantar fasciitis injury, my overarching goal is to progress back to running after 8 days’ rest, continue the healing process, and address weaknesses that led to the injury. I will prioritize volume over quality, and probably defer track workouts and tempo runs until I feel better.

Week 1: Crazy Long Runs on Larkin State Park Trail

  • After the aforementioned 8-day rest period, I started ramping up slowly with a couple of easy and short 2-mile runs on the Waveny Park trails on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • The 4th of July was an emotionally difficult holiday for me. Traditionally celebrated with family, including the annual fireworks at Waveny Park, this was my first Fourth celebrating alone following my divorce. Wanting to stay away from Waveny Park on this holiday, I decided to explore a new park and ran an awesome 10-miler in Larkin State Park, a rail-to-trail park.
  • Although my left heel felt reasonably fine after the long run, I ran easy on Friday and Saturday, with 3 miles on each day.
  • With my weekly long run already done on the 4th of July, I was a little selfish and greedy (more on this subject in week 2 below), and ventured back to Larkin State Park for another long run. Not feeling 100% percent, and with hot and humid conditions, I struggled and finished with 9 miles, bringing my weekly total to 29 miles.

Week 2: First Track Meet Since College

  • It had been 3 weeks since the last track workout (that contributed to my plantar fasciitis), and with my first track meet coming up this Saturday, I planned a 8x 400 meter workout to test my fitness. I ran an easy 3 miles on Tuesday, still recovering from the two long runs during the prior week.
  • Wednesday’s 8x 400 workout went well. After a solid 3 mile warmup in Waveny Park, I ran the 400’s with the goal to improve from the last 8x 400 workout on May 31. The first 4 repeats at 90 seconds (with 90 seconds rest) felt effortless, but I felt my left heel starting to hurt a little. I decided to make the 5th repeat my final one, and crushed an 86 (about 5:40 mile pace).
  • Unfortunately, as mentioned in the week 1 recap above, I was too selfish and greedy, and attempted a track workout while healing from plantar faciitis. I was focused on a short-term goal to compete at the Nutmeg State Games on Saturday, and I woke up on Thursday morning with the plantar fasciitis having returned. I ran an easy 3.5 miles on Thursday, and 3 miles plus strides on grass on Friday.
  • On Saturday morning, the first few steps were painful, and I was 50/50 whether I should race at the Nutmeg State Games. What convinced me to participate was the opportunity to continue the journey through divorce, healing, and rediscovery. My son had competed at the same meet during his middle and high school years, and I wanted a retrospective to learn first-hand what he experienced. Given the injury and brutal weather conditions, I was happy running a 6:28 mile and 2:54 for the 800 meters. The post-race reflection was painful and I do have regrets, which is part of the discovery, healing and learning process.
  • Sunday was worse than Saturday, with the left heel flaring up in pain from the track meet. The ego blocked me from being rational and reasonable, and instead of resting on Sunday, I drove to Larkin State Park and attempted another long run. After 2 miles, the excruciating pain finally brought an end to my idiotic behavior. It was a long and painful walk back to the car. 20 miles for the week.

Bad Behavior

  • On the surface, the metrics for the 2-week training period look good. About 50 miles with 2 long runs, 1 track workout, mile and 800 double in 1st track meet since college, and 4 strength and core workouts.
  • Scratching below the surface reveals that all is not well. Starting this coming Monday (July 15th), I will pause running again to heal the plantar fasciitis. I will have to control the ego and focus on learning from my mistakes.
  • Learning from my mistakes applies not only to running. The journey through divorce, healing and discovery must include ongoing reflection and examination of past behavior, decisions and outcomes. Ego cannot come into play in this process. The mindset must be what could I have done different, and why did I behave the way I did. In the process, I must ignore what others did or did not do. Experiencing the Nutmeg State Games was emotionally painful and at the same time very helpful in my journey.

Photo: Single track trail, Larkin State Park, Southbury, CT, July 2019. Shot with Google Pixel 3XL.

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