Ultra Update

ultra leaves.jpg

This part of the blog has been a little quite lately. That isn’t because I haven’t been training and running, my journey to this race has just taken some detours along the way. I guess I should start from the beginning, because maybe someone can learn from my mistakes.

Bailey and I decided that we were going to train for an ultra marathon that was September 19 in Hocking Hills, OH. I did a TON of research (because I love research, and I made our training plan). Bailey and I had been working out strenuously for as long as I can remember, but for the last 1.5 years we have done more of a powerlifting training program with much of our workouts being centered around squats, deadlifts and upper body workouts. These workouts are wonderful and great for the body, but Boo and I decided that running was our first love and after our little hiatus, (much due to some of my health problems) we were ready to come back with a bang.

When we started to train, everything was going as well as you would have expected. I felt like I had 30 pound sandbags on my ankles and cursed running every step I took. I committed to every strenuous mile and after about 2 weeks of this training program, I started to feel like my old self again little by little. Bailey and I got fast pretty quick. Which ended up being both a good thing and a bad thing, but we will get to that in a minute. The first 12 weeks of our programming went really well, we didn’t miss a run and we were crushing it. It was easy for the most part, which was awesome and we were really enjoying ourselves. Our biggest problem at that point was that I was having the hardest time staying hydrated during our long runs, due to the extreme humidity. Boo doesn’t struggle with the excessive amount of sweat that I do.

After about 12 weeks, Bailey and I both started having extreme amounts of pain in our feet. I had never felt pain in my feet before, so I didn’t think much of it at first. I am not someone who quits in the middle of a run and the thought of an injury so close to our race was heartbreaking for both of us. So, we trucked along and did rehab and tried not to think about it. It was only when it started effecting our every day life and we were both limping around all the time that we decided we needed to make a plan.

Come to find out, we are both suffering from Plantar Fasciitis. A good way to know if you suffer from this is if you rub down the arch of your foot and it feels “crunchy”, which sounds really gross, but that is the best descriptive word. It is hard to treat, and is the inflammation of the fascia in the arch of your foot. It can radiate to your heal and into the ligaments that go into your toes. So, as you can imagine, it was hard to run when your feet feel like they are breaking with every step. The good thing about our life is that we have a lot of good people to lead us in the right direction. One of my best friends is a Physical Therapist and she quickly gave me therapy techniques. I also am very diligent about going to my Chiropractor, who is also a great family friend. Those two people, combined with my own research lead to these treatments.

1.     Wear supportive shoes at all times. Flip-flops didn’t see my feet very much this summer. Every time I wore them my feet would swell up and I would be in so much pain that I felt like I was taking 2 steps backwards. I wore my Hoka One Ones far too much this summer. I sacrificed fashion in order to heal my injury.

2.     Frozen water bottles, therapy balls, and golf balls. I spend 20-30 minutes every night rolling my feet on the frozen water bottles, then the therapy balls and then the golf balls in order to work and loosen that tendon in my feet.

3.     REST. Which is something I struggle with. I hate taking days off. I like to train and run my body as far as it will go, but that does not always work in my favor. You see, the reason we suffered from these injuries tobegin with was because we increased our mileage at a pace that our bodies could not handle. The way our bodies work, your muscles can adapt much faster that your tendons and ligaments can. Therefore, after the first two weeks when I felt like I was flying, my muscles had already adapted. My tendons and ligaments were a whole different story. They take much longer to adapt to the high volume mileage and the different type of training. That is why we got injured. There are rules to building mileage for a reason and that reason is so you don’t suffer from things like we did. I learned a valuable lesson during this training, and that is that I never need to take off time from running, that way my body doesn’t get out of whack when I decide I want to run a 100 miler. Haha

4.     We moved back our race. This was a multi-part decision. Even though I think we could have finished the ultra, I don’t think it would have been a pleasant experience. We are tough as nails, but that doesn’t mean you have to put yourself through pointless torture. We decided to move the race back 8 weeks and we both felt good about that decision. The other reason why we decided to wait was because we aren’t doing this to check something off a bucket list. We want to run these races for a very long time and travel all over the world to do it. We felt that running through those injuries wouldn’t help us reach those goals, and that wasn’t worth it to us.

Here is where we are right now. We are doing the Nashville Ultramarathon 60K (37.2 miles) on November 7th (less than a week)!! We are extremely excited  and are happy with our decision to wait to do this race! The family and even a few friends will be there to support us and see us cross the finish line! I anticipate that it will be nothing like we have ever felt before, both mentally and physically and we both couldn’t be more excited. We love this kind of training, and God willing, we will be running across the world for a very long time to come!!

I will definitely post a race re-cap after this is over! We are going to bring our phones with us to take pictures and videos. We want to remember this for a very long time!

With so much love and many miles,


Blaine Menke1 Comment