Back from injury: an unexpected fast finish Steel City Road Runners training run

Five days ago, I reported on feeling overtrained and injured.

Today, I report on my progress with recovery and continued training for the Pittsburgh Marathon during the first week of my taper period.


The good news is that I’m bouncing back. I still have a way to go before I feel completely healthy and strong, but I’m not doing too badly, considering.


Earlier this week, I did take Sunday off from running (and from wearing Luna Sandals). My left knee was still shaky on Monday, plus I simply felt tired, so I took Monday off as well. Tuesday, my knee was feeling better, so I did an easy 3.5 mile run and called it a day. That really improved my mood, because I was really upset about whether I could run the marathon at all. Wednesday, my knee seemed completely OK, so I ran an easy 4.5 miles.


My left foot skin injuries are healing; two days ago there was still some rawness:

Left foot healing

But today, everything is completely scabbed over.

My right foot is still problematic with a crack in the dry skin at the big toe.

Still, I have been back to wearing Luna Sandals since two days ago.

New shorts

All my runs this week have been in a new pair of running shorts that I will probably use for the marathon. I bought this at Elite Runners and Walkers a month ago when picking up my race packet for the Just A Short Run half marathon there, but hadn’t gotten around to wearing them yet!

I am liking this Brooks Infiniti Short III a lot. It seems extremely well-designed. I have not sensed chafing problems, and the pockets for a key and gel seem sturdy. Believe me, I have had all kinds of problems with many running shorts in the past decade, mostly involving chafing, deterioration of materials, and pockets becoming non-functional because of how they are sewn, so I can spot design and quality problems.

The run

Today, I wanted to do a marathon pace (9-minute pace) run of no more than 6 miles. It turned out that Steel City Road Runners along with True Runner had organized a Thursday evening 6-mile training run. I almost never run in the evening, but just this once, I decided to check it out, and John joined me also, for our first run together since the 12-miler that put him out of commission almost two months ago and led him to cancel his Pittsburgh Marathon registration.

It was pretty cold, relatively speaking. The temperature was around 50 and getting colder, windier, and it was cloudy and it looked like it might rain (it turned out that near the end of the run, it did drizzle a bit).


We followed a guy who was supposed to lead a roughly 9-minute pace for 6 miles, doing two 3-mile loops.

My impression was that we shot out noticeably faster, and I fell off the pack and just tried to stay in contact.

A note on dense urban evening running

Running in the Shadyside area at this time of day is stressful, it turns out, because of all the road traffic, the narrow sidewalks, and stop lights. We had to stop more often than I prefer:

Waiting for light in Shadyside run

Well, this was a learning experience, reminding me of why I prefer to run in the morning, and in less congested areas such as Beechwood Boulevard or Homewood Cemetery in Squirrel Hill, or Frick or Schenley Park!

First loop

Despite going slower than everyone else in the supposedly 9-minute pace group, I was feeling pretty good, probably finally completely recovered from last week’s overtraining. My stride rate was fast and I felt relatively relaxed and efficient, except that I knew we were going faster than I feel I will be able to sustain in the marathon.

I saw a guy in front of me wearing calf sleeves. I had forgotten to wear mine. I should wear them more before the marathon in order to make sure to be completely used to them.

We finished the first loop in around 26:18. Um, that’s 8:47 pace. I was right, we were going faster than 9:00 pace. I had in fact wondered why our pacer had slowed down some blocks before we got back to True Runner, and meanwhile most of the rest of us just followed whoever was in front of the pack!

Second loop

Some people stopped to drink Gatorade or water, but I didn’t take any. Then we headed off again. This time, the pace was slower, possibly even a bit slower than 9:00 pace. That was fine with me. But after about a mile, we started going faster and faster. I almost had to laugh. We were going considerably faster than in the first loop even.

The pacer eventually fell back and we all just passed him. Later I reflected on this bizarre group mentality we engaged in. We must have simply ended up following whoever wanted to go fastest. I decided I might as well treat this run as a super fast finish run rather than the steady run I had originally intended. We were clearly going at 8:30 pace and then even faster, down to 8:00 pace and even possibly 7:45 by the end. It was crazy. I felt like I was running in a race. For some reason, everyone decided to push it.

We finished the second loop in something like 24:59 (we’d done the first loop in 26:18).


That I was able to maintain alert turnover and also speed things up as I felt like it gave me some confidence that I am bouncing back OK from the past two really hard weeks of training. I have one more week of tapering to go before the marathon!

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