Which sure is a great question, I just didn't know how to answer that until today. Well answer part of it today. Since some time in January I have been working with Alisha from ELITE Sports and Orthopedic Physical Therapy to get me back running again after suffering a pretty bad case of runner's knee that developed after my marathon. With her guidance and expertise not only was I able to get back to running, I feel stronger and faster than ever. After my needed therapy ended she created a personalized training plan for the GCM Owens Corning Half Marathon that consisted of running, cross training, stretching and strength training exercises. The plan was completely flexible to accommodate my ever changing work schedule and worked great based on my 12 plus minute PR at the race. Since I wasn't doing the Indy Half Marathon (click here for that story) the next scheduled race on my calendar is the Detroit Free Press Marathon in October, which forced me to ask the question; where do I go from here?
I had decided, for now, that I would continue to run and strength train, but after I sat down a couple times to put a plan together I just felt lost. Nothing seemed to click in my head and I got the feeling that I was way in over my head. I contacted Alisha and set up an appointment for my day off so she could help me with my problem. The first thing we discussed was goals, which turned out to be pretty tough for me. I just can't seem to zero in on what my goal is for this year anymore. I set some goals in january, but because of my injury most of them were DOA. First it was all about mileage, then trail running, which lately turned into wanting to qualify for Boston and now I've been thinking about a life goal of running a marathon in all 50 states. For now my goal it to just keep trying to get healthy and stronger so my knee doesn't become an issue for whatever my goals become. Alisha worked out a plan for me that is on a four week cycle that keeps me running while I build up my leg and core strength. She pretty much made it idiot proof for me and flexible enough to work with in my work schedule. In a couple of months we'll meet again to set up the transition to my marathon training plan for Detroit.
After my appointment I headed out to Oak Openings Metro Park to give trail running a try. To my knowledge, Oak Openings is the only local park with a true single track natural trail vs. most other parks that have a paved or crushed stone path. Once I got there it took a little time to get my bearings and figure out where I could jump on the path, but once I finally did, it was a very different experience than running on the road. Within the first quarter mile a deer jumped out about twenty yards in front of me before stopping to keep an eye on me. I quick snapped a photo and continued on. To be honest I thought it would change my whole outlook on the sport, but to be honest it didn't. It actually felt all wrong and that is probably because for two years now running on pavement has conditioned me that anything but a good steady pace is not right and the words steady pace and trail running didn't seem to go hand in hand. The constant changes in pace and my stride just felt all wrong to me, which is why I don't think I enjoyed it as much as I thought or was hoping to. Now don't get me wrong, the change in scenery was really nice while running into a few critters too while I was out there.