Saturday, December 17, 2016

Marathon Training - Week 8 - In Which I Spend A Lot Of Time At the Vet Hospital

This was a long and stressful week for me. My endurance gelding, Tanna, hurt his knee in early October. Sliced it open pretty good. So for the last several weeks, I've been doctoring him for that.

Sunday, after I got home from my long run, Tanna fell on that knee and ripped it back open as bad as before, so instead of showering and eating and doing all the things I do after a long run, I took my horse to the vet. He's been at the vet hospital for the last week, with me visiting him twice a day and being active in his care. We hope he will be fine eventually. This is not life threatening, but stressful and time-consuming and of course, painful for Tanna.

Sunday - 18 miles @ 13:27

Trailhead facilities at Percy Priest Dam trailhead.

This week was a return to the Nashville Stones River Greenway. I decided I need to put hills back in my workouts, but because I was too aggressive with the hills before, I decided, even if my overall pace suffered, I would walk up the hills.

Normally I have my Forerunner 630 alert me when I'm running faster than 12:15/mi, but when there are hills involved, that doesn't make a lot of sense. I can cruise down a hill with minimal impact and a low heart rate and no reason to restrict beyond feeling how well I'm doing. I'm doing a pretty good job restricting my pace and HR to something that I can reasonably maintain. By no means perfect, but better.

I parked down at the Percy Priest Dam trailhead. The dog park is finished and open! And there are bathrooms! But the bathrooms aren't quite open yet and I don't know if they'll open this winter or wait until the threat of freezing is over. There are still 2 porta potties at the trailhead, just no running water.

It was pretty cold and windy when I started, around 30°. When I finished 4 hours later, it had warmed up to 48°, but with a 17 mph wind, it was still not warm.

After missing my long run last week due to rain, I got a Marmot PreCip jacket from Amazon. I had 2 Under Armour jackets delivered, also, but I decided the PreCip jacket fit better and had better vents and hood options. Even though it wasn't raining, with the 15+ mph winds, I decided to run with the PreCip jacket for a windbreaker.

All bundled up and ready to run!

I wore my winter lululemon tights, Under Armour half zip, a headband to cover my ears, my lightweight UA skull cap, silk glove liners and knit gloves. The knit gloves came off within 3 miles. The skull cap came off later, around mile 6 or 7.

I was originally scheduled for a 16 mile run. I planned to run to the 2 Rivers Bridge and then turn around, hitting the bathroom for a rest stop and water bottle refill before returning to the dam. I carried my 18 oz Salomon handheld and had a 10 oz water bottle on my hydration belt.

Art on the bridge

When I reached the 2 Rivers Bridge, I wasn't quite at 8 miles yet, but was very close. I felt really good. I was walking the uphills and cruising the downhills and doing a steady pace on the flat. I was hitting my pace for every mile with slight variations between 13:38 to 13:22. I felt so good, I decided to extend my run and go out another mile which would make 18 total. So I ran across the pedestrian bridge and down to the Shelby Bottoms Greenway on the other side of the Cumberland River.

The Cumberland River

I headed north along the river until my watch chimed 9 miles. Then I turned around and headed back. I had not stopped for my rest stop on the way out, preferring to do that in the 2nd half of my run. So I ran along the small access road to the bathroom....and discovered it padlocked and shut down for the winter!

Bathroom all locked up

I was annoyed. None of the water fountains on this trail work either. Shut down for the winter. Do they think we don't need water in the winter?? Or do they think we shouldn't run/bike/walk enough to make us thirsty?? Sigh. I had 5 oz of water left sloshing in my water bottle for 7+ miles back to my truck. There was a porta potty there, so I used that and headed back.

My fuel for this run was my normal breakfast of grits, cheese and a "sausage" patty, 1 gel at the start, 6 shot bloks (2 at a time), 1 picky bar (all eaten at the same time) and 2 more gels. I ate something roughly every 35 minutes. I shortened up the time between eating, so I'm eating more.

I saved the water I had left to chase down the fuel I ate on the trip back to the truck. I think it was 2 gels. Turned out ok, but I really would have liked more water than what I had.

The PreCip jacket worked really well. I kept the hood stowed and it stayed neatly out of the way. No flopping hood back there. The jacket has arm pit vents and 2 pockets. I was able to stow my gloves in the pockets without noticing them at all the rest of the run. The pit vents were great and I adjusted them as needed through out the run. The fit of the jacket was nice. I would have preferred just a little more diameter in the sleeves so they'd push up over my elbow a tad easier, but that worked out ok as well, allowing me to leave my forearms uncovered for heat escape. It was really nice having a wind breaker as my UA jacket is warm, but wind can whip right through it.

Yay for a good run! I was so excited I took a selfie just after finishing the 18 miles before my cool down.

I had the best run longer than 14 miles I've ever had. I still had energy at the end, I was not overly sore, nothing rubbed terribly. I didn't even get an upset stomach until around mile 17 and then it was very mild and went away before I got to my truck. Usually I get a little queasy around mile 12 or 13. I wasn't overly cold or overly hot most of the run because I could control my heat escape with my jacket and 1/2 zip.

I drove home high on my run, looking forward to basking in the glow of a really good long run. And eating some really yummy food.

And then. Tanna fell. Right in front of me. I have video. He fell right on the bad knee and came up with all the healing from the past weeks wiped out. Gone were my thoughts of my run and into crisis mode. My husband got the trailer hooked up, I got Tanna's knee bandaged and Daniel took off with Tanna in the trailer. I managed to change my running tights for jeans, grabbed a 1/2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich and followed in my truck.

Tanna at the hospital waiting for the on-call vet to arrive.

Monday - 4 miles @ 13:54

This was an easy run on the treadmill. After spending all morning at the vet hospital conferring with the vets and watching Tanna be treated, I didn't feel much like running, but I did. Just an easy 4 miles. Run for just shy of half a mile, walk the balance of the 1/2 mile, repeat. I wasn't sore from the 18 miler.

Tuesday - 6 miles @ 13:08

After visiting Tanna in the hospital, I went across the street and ran in Thompsons Station Park. This was supposed to be a tempo run, but since I had the long run on Sunday with some hills, I decided to walk the hills at the park. They're not big, just 80 feet of elevation gain in the 9/10s of a mile loop, but when you do 7 loops, it adds up.

I also had some technical difficulties where my phone repeatedly skipped songs, changed my radio station and apparently texted one of my friends repeatedly. I didn't realize the texting until after my run when I checked my texts and had one from her asking if I was ok and saw all the random texts it had sent her!

So between fussing with my phone, stopping at my truck to change my Bluetooth headphones for regular ones (because I thought it was the Bluetooth skipping my songs at first) and walking, my pace for this run was all over the place. BUT! I did the miles and got it done. I could have easily wimped out and said no way.

It was 41° and raining the entire time I was running. I wore my PreCip jacket over my UA half zip again and while I thought things were fine, I was freezing the entire run and when I changed clothes, my UA half zip was very wet. All I can figure is I got overheated at first, sweated up and then never could recover warmth? Not sure. All this wind and rain is interfering with my ability to dress properly!

I had no extra fuel for this run beyond just eating regular meals.

Wednesday - 6 miles @ 13:58

Since this was an easy day, I got up and was on the treadmill by 6 AM to get my run in before going to the vet hospital. I used to have trouble running first thing in the morning, but I've had enough practice running that I can sorta do it in my sleep. Advantage, it was mile 3 before I was out of auto-pilot mode, so I only had 3 to go after that!

While running, I watched the only "Christmas" movie I like and it's not really a Christmas movie, it just takes place at Christmas time. I've seen While You Were Sleeping many times, but I hadn't seen it in awhile and it was fun to watch it again.

Thursday - 6.5 miles - 16:37

Bench overlooking the river on the North Murfreesboro Greenway.

This was supposed to be a hill run, but since I had hills during my long run and my Tuesday run, I decided doing a hill workout wasn't the best idea. While at the vet, I got it in my head to go to the newly opened North Murfreesboro Greenway and check it out.

Trailer parking at the Central Valley Trailhead

They built a new trailhead at Central Valley Road and in addition to car parking, added parking for 11 horse trailers with access to the Twin Forks Horse Trail. The North Murfreesboro Greenway section runs from Central Valley to Walter Hill Dam.

The horse trail

I hiked/ran the horse trail until I had seen all the newly blazed trail, then returned to the trailhead and ran the Greenway section.

The horse trail narrows considerably after about 1.75 miles.

I was not dressed for running. I keep a heart rate monitor and running shoes in my truck and I had a GPS unit in my bag, but I was wearing long johns under a pair of jeans and a long sleeve cotton shirt!

On the horse trail, I wore my Decade Team jacket that I got after Tanna and I had done 10 years of endurance together. But I got super hot really quick. I didn't want to sweat up my cotton shirt, so I settled into a brisk walk to keep my blood flowing, but not warm enough to sweat.

The greenway approaching Walter Hill Dam

Back at the parking lot, I switched to my PreCip jacket that was in the car, but then I was too cold for the second part of my run along the Greenway! Completely missed the boat both times on that, but I had fun and got to see some new trail. I'll have to take my endurance mare there to ride the horse trails sometime.

The paved Greenway was about 1.25 miles to the Walter Hill Dam Trailhead where I turned around and went back to my truck.

Daniel took my GPS tracks and put the Greenway on Google Maps, so now it's there for others to see.

Weekly Stats

Training mileage: 40.5 miles
Training time: 9 hours 29 minutes

Total Mileage*: 43 miles
Total Time*: 10 hours 22 minutes
Elevation Gain:  1890 ft

* includes warm-up and cool-down

I'm pretty happy with the way my running week turned out considering I was not sleeping very much. With work and keeping up with Tanna, I could have easily skimped on my running this week, but I did run. My tempo run and hill run were not really what I had planned pace-wise, but mileage-wise, I was spot on, so I'm happy with it.

What Next?

Well, I'm supposed to run my 6-day week this week. I will try to hit those workouts as well, but I do have a built-in excuse if I don't. ;-) Fortunately, it's a short work week, so I should get a little relief there.

Tanna will probably have surgery this week and will continue in the hospital, so I'll spend a lot of my time there.


  1. Sorry to hear about Tanna :( what's the recovery time looking like?

    1. Hi, Tina, thanks. I really should write a blog post on my endurance blog about it, but haven't found the time/energy. Right now, I'm only thinking a day or two out at a time. But we're looking at months of stall rest and rehab.


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