The good news is that training for the L.A. Marathon has been going well. I have been doing my morning runs in thirtysomething degree weather, my long runs on the weekend, and even including some interval training in the form of Yasso 800s. My body has responded and, while I'm not convinced I would have made my secret goal time (yes, I know you're not supposed to have a goal time for your first marathon), I do believe I would have completed it. The bad news is that I also have quite a case of plantar fasciitis and last Saturday's planned run of 18 miles pretty much told me that my heels aren't going to let me run a full marathon in March.
Even though hitting my goal time was unlikely, it does give training a bit more focus and adds some speed to my pokey pace. So I was hitting my goal training pace (not race pace) through 12 miles or so when I took a little break. I wasn't too tired but all that running does tend to pound joints and muscles so, like with a century ride, I took a break. My feet were getting sore, though. I started back up again and the rest of me actually felt okay. I was really dropping my pace after a mile so I shut off my Garmin's pace alert and slowed down. My feet (specifically: my heels) were really getting tender and after some walking and running, I finally pulled the plug on the run and walked the few miles back home...which was not fun. The damage had been done and whether I was walking or running on them, my feet hurt. The walk, in addition to providing a nice cool down, gave me some time to think. The entry fee for the marathon goes up on the 16th and I couldn't say for sure that I would be ready for it in March. I knew my legs could get me through it but you're only as strong as your weakest link and, right now, that was my heels. I had to face up to the fact that the rest my feet needed was not compatible with the training mileage I still needed to get me through the marathon. Not this year. I did not want to be one of those people who enters a marathon to walk it. I wanted to run the whole thing (with, perhaps, the occasional stop at a water station).
I can't remember exactly when the plantar fasciitis reared its ugly head but it was sometime in the last year. In some ways it has gotten better (walking around the apartment doesn't always hurt) but in one important way it has gotten worse: long runs. Age, weight, and increased run mileage all conspired against me. Truth be told, I have a bit of an ankle thing hurting me right now, too, so the layoff will do me good.
How does that change 2012 for me? The main goal for the year is still a half iron-distance triathlon in the fall. Maybe I'll add the Santa Clarita Century to my calendar in early April (it really is my hometown ride now). Then there's the very tiny possibility that I will be in such good shape for my fall triathlon that I will run a marathon in November or December. I am not planning on that happening, though. The plan is to do the 2013 L.A. Marathon.
As far as training goes, I still have the Carlsbad Half Marathon in a couple of weeks. I have already entered so no sense in wasting the money. I can make it. After that I will take a week off running, then back into it but my long runs will stay in the 9-12 mile zone for a while. I will also be paying more attention to my weight, which is likely a major factor in the plantar fasciitis. I need to get a scale and make sure the fat is coming off (I put on a few pounds during my summer layoff). I need to be more methodical in my approach to weight loss because being disorganized about it only works for so long and I have passed that point.
Still no swimming until May or June. I just can't deal with swimming right now. :-)