Monday, October 22, 2012

2.5 weeks out!

The 13.1 mile course has been posted! This will be our Half Marathon in 2.5 weeks!

We are 2.5 weeks out from the race, and I have had more mood swings about this event than I can even count.  I have gone back and forth between excitement, motivation, frustration, sadness, pain, and determination.  

Each week in our training schedule, we have been adding another mile each week.  It's amazing, because 10 weeks ago I would NEVER have thought 3 miles or 5 miles was "easy." When compared to 8+, it is!  
  • We ran 6 miles and I thought that 7 sounded so hard.
  • We ran 7 miles and I thought 8 would be too hard.
  • Then we ran 8 miles and I couldn't believe we were about to run 9!

The amazing part is that I think once you go over the hump (which we are thinking is about 6mi), adding another mile or so isn't hard.  Is it the runner's high they always talk about? I'm not sure. But what I do know is that I get tired at about the same end point of my run, whether it was 6 miles or 8.  I've convinced my mind and my lungs that I am capable, it's just convincing my sad, injured leg that it is invincible. I think that might be the hardest part about this: I can do this, but my leg just physically doesn't want to, and fights me every step of the way.

The muscle strain above my left ankle and along my inner calf has been sore since August. It seems to be going through waves.  It would have healed if I gave it more time off, but I was too stubborn and pushed through.  Then, last week, the tendon in the same foot all of a sudden started hurting.  Nothing happened, I didn't twist anything or step funny, it just got angry about 6 miles into the 8 mile journey! I feel that the two points of pain are related as they seem to run in a straight line.  If you are standing flat footed, and flex your right toe, the pain runs right along that tendon to the inner part of my foot.  

This Sunday we were slated to run 9 miles and I wasn't sure I could even put pressure on my right foot to run.  The part of your foot that takes the pressure and is used to "push off" the ground is kind of an essential part of running. So I loaded myself with ibuprofen, and taped it with my fancy Argyle Rock Tape.  My foot did surprisingly well! I felt it each step but had no problem running through it.  Everything I have read said that if you can run through the pain, it's ok to keep going.  Ok, great. But then my brilliant self was so focused on my foot that I completely forgot to tape my calf. I made it 7 miles before the throbbing in my calf was so strong I couldn't run another step.  We cut the run short at 7.35mi. I felt good about the run, but couldn't help but be pissed at myself for such a stupid mistake.
*I should also mention that Tempe Town Lake, our running location for the weekend, was hosting a Half Ironman.  This made us change our course to avoid being trampled by runners / bikers, so that was another reason for our lack of mileage. The change in course dropped a mile off of our route, which we were going to add to the end but I couldn't go on.

However, despite the fact that we ended short, I still felt invigorated that I ran through it.  The adrenaline in my veins told me that I could do this.  That the mind is an amazing thing and that adrenaline would have my back.  But it didn't take long for me to change my tune - within three hours later I was nearly crippled when everything had cooled down.  It didn't matter how much ice or biofreeze I applied, or how much ibuprofen I took - it has been throbbing since.  Hence the mood swings - I can't decide which I'm more excited for: entering the race in 2.5 weeks, or it all being over.  At this point, I'm tired of being unable to walk. I'm tired of hurting and being confined to flats. I'm tired of smelling like Biofreeze!  I'm tired of complaining. My only option is to stop, and it's not going to happen. I've come too far.  

So, I have come to terms with the fact that the race is going to hurt, and I am really going to hurt after. But then I can take some much needed time off of running.  I don't want to risk a chronic issue.  I only need to last 2.5 more weeks. Just 2.5 more weeks.

* * *

We've been talking a lot about "what happens after." I am about to complete 13.1 miles.. while it has been a grueling process, I am not the only one! I have read so many stories of runners who took several attempts to even get this far.  I am determined and not a quitter. But, this epic adventure cannot be my only story.  I know that the next race will be easier, and the one after that.  I will look back on this day and laugh about my silly beginner's story... right? ha!

2013 is going to be dedicated to smaller races.  Keep up the gym time and work on strength and muscle tone.  Small races throughout the year to work on improving pace.  And then another half. I am thinking that the PF Changs 1/2 Marathon in January 2014 might be a good goal. That's plenty of time to register early to avoid the expensive fees, avoids training throughout the summer, and gives me a year before I have to jump into another extensive training program. I think my body, mind, and family/friends will all appreciate the time off. :)

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