Thursday, September 12, 2013

Waiting for erythropoiesis, and fall running plans

Two weeks into iron replacement therapy (using Floradix, which seems to be pretty good stuff), labs suggest things are slowly heading in the right direction. My hemoglobin has gone from 8.9 to 9.4, hematocrit from 28.4 to 30.4, and ferritin from 6.8 to 18.2. All of these are still too low, but we're going the right way. I haven't yet noticed much change in my exercise tolerance, though things certainly aren't getting any worse. Still, I'm ready for some more erythropoiesis. NOW.

I've been continuing to run, trying to strike a balance between training as much as I can reasonably do, and not getting injured, totally wiped out, or stuck 5 miles from home and in death-march mode. Results have been variable. My training log is sort of tragicomical:

Aug 29 (2 days after diagnosis): Run 2 very slow, painful miles, then walk 1.6 back home with moderate left plantar pain. Notes on run: "Ugh."
Aug 31: 30 min hill repeats. "Felt decent!"
Sept 2: Run 2 hours at Lebanon Hills. Cool temperatures. "Felt pretty good."
Sept 3: Run 5.4 mi, including some extra walk breaks. "Decent at beginning, tired by end."
Sept 4: Spin class, lots of biking around town.
Sept 5: Run 2.4 slow mi. "Tired again."
Sept 7: Run 4 hours at Lebanon Hills with a friend training for TC Marathon. Took some long walk breaks about 2 hours in, but then was able to run-walk again at the end. "Felt OK."
Sept 9: Run 2.6 mi, a little faster than I recently have. "Decent."
Sept 12 (today): Run 4.2 mi in beautiful, crisp, cool weather. "Felt pretty good."
Sweaty post-4-hour run picture with Deena last weekend.
She literally ran circles around me!
So to summarize: a bunch of short, mostly not-great runs, punctuated by two decent, longer efforts on the trails.

All this brings me to the question of whether the TC Marathon is still feasible at this stage. We're about 3.5 weeks out from it, and my original schedule (modification of Higdon's Marathon 3) had me doing my final 20+ miler this weekend, then taper. (Obviously, I've also missed/drastically shortened lots of those midweek long-ish runs (up to 10 mi) and not done anything resembling speedwork or a tempo in ages.) I'm certain I could complete the race, but would it be a good idea?

Other non-negotible events on the calendar include this Saturday's Babes in Bikeland, a fantastic women's alleycat bike race, and next Saturday's Surly Trail Loppet, which I love because (a) it was my first trail race, 2 years ago; (b) it's right in Minneapolis and I can bike there; and (c) it's sponsored by my favorite local brewer, Surly, with beer, bratwursts, and music at the finish line.

Oh, and there's the small matter of Wild Duluth, a trail 50K I'd really like to do two weeks after TC Marathon... oh, and then the Icebox 480, an 8-hour timed race in early November.

Lots of good stuff is coming this month and next (and next after that!) and I want to be healthy and enjoy as much of it as I can. So here's the tentative long run plan (with the usual weekday runs/biking/lifting/core as feasible, and assuming my hematopoietic system cooperates):

  • This weekend: A shorter (2-ish hour) long run, then Babes, which last year felt pretty much like a 3-hour fartlek, only the next day instead of sore legs I had sore deltoids and forearms.
  • Next weekend: A long (2-hour) warmup, then the Trail Loppet Half Marathon to make a 21-23 mile long run.
  • The following weekend: Traveling to Salt Lake City for a conference. Attempt not to run excessively on amazing looking trails that start right in the city. But definitely some running, because dang.
  • TC Marathon weekend: Either run the TC Marathon at training run pace, or 5+ hour trail run, probably at Afton. I'll decide a little closer to time which it will be.
  • The following weekend: Taper. Seriously.
  • The weekend after that: Wild Duluth 50K.

Whew! That's a lot of planning. And all pretty provisional. But I'm okay with keeping things tentative. I would love to do the TC Marathon some day, but if that's not this year, it's okay. I really want to get a fall marathon or 50K race, but I have several chances to do that if TC Marathon doesn't happen. (Even if Wild Duluth doesn't happen, I think I can do it at Icebox 480). I want to feel better and run with my friends and not be injured and have fun running. Those are my big goals. I think I've got them covered with this plan, regardless of how the little details shake out.

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