Well its down to the wire time! In 4 and a half weeks I will be running a marathon. Last post gave you the 411 on my first run of 20 miles ( 21 actually but who’s counting). I did pretty darn well after that, all things considered. I was surprised to be able to run at all on the Sunday and Monday following that Big Kahuna. As this post will tell, I haven’t done nearly as well since then. There have been a few road blocks among the way, an encounter with the dreaded WALL, and a milestone reached.
The following Friday, Sunday and Monday runs were small in comparison. I only had to run a 14, a 7, and a 10. I laugh now to use the term “only” and “14 miles” in the same sentence…but relatively speaking it WAS a light schedule. Friday I dutifully suited up to run the 14 miler…and ran into technical difficulties by mile 4. From out of the blue, I began to have a stabbing pain in my lower inner right knee. I slowed down, I walked a bit…no pain when walking, but stab stab stab when running. No bueno! I had a schedule to keep darn it and this is make or break time!!! Well, several prayers and 2 miles later I conceded that the pain just wasn’t going to quit. Apparently I had out run my knee’s good humor and it was drawing the line. After a consulting with Dr. Google, it looked like I had a mild ( hopefully) case of bursitis/tendonitis…a common overuse injury( thank you 21 mile run). I cringed and made the decision to scratch the two remaining runs for the week, replacing them with walking sessions, ice, and rest. This did NOT make my type A- schedule- following- Hulk-self happy. I did my best to appease my inner she-hulk with prayer and a heavy dose of faith. My mantra for the weekend was ‘God’s got this, he’s got you, and he knows what you NEED to run’. So here, at the most critical, crazy, hectic training point…I found myself missing valuable miles. I had a calm spirit and a very nervous mind.
Fast forward to this week. This was to be my BIG GIANT 23 MILE RUN. I had this big boy to run, and one more 20 before tapering. I had my Gu and shot block fueling strategy laid out, my water stops carefully planned at miles 10 and 15, My gear had been carefully washed and assembled for days. Wednesday afternoon I started to sniffle and sneeze. I felt a bit tired and just plain fuzzy. By Thursday I was feeling worse. My temperature was hovering around 99 ( and I usually run low). Things did not BODE WELL for my big 23 mile run the very next day.
Now I must say, usually this is the point in the story where I just Lose My Stuff. I don’t do well in situations like this…you know, you plan and plan, taking every precaution you can…and things just fall apart. Yeah historically this is when my inner she hulk just comes unglued. I don’t know if it was divine intervention, or just congestion on the brain and lack of oxygen, but I managed to hold it together for once. I prayed like crazy, rested as much as I possibly could, and simply went to bed hoping for the best but prepared to reschedule this mega run.
Lo and behold, I woke up the next day and felt human. I didn’t feel like a million bucks, but I felt a heck of a lot better than I did the day before. So with high hopes but realistic expectations, I set out to run as far as I could.
I ran the first 10 miles really well. My knees had enjoyed their little spring break vacation and were happily going with the flow. I made it to my first water and bathroom break feeling great over all. Miles 10-14 were pretty good as well. Round about mile 14.5 My body realized we were running for the long haul and started to send in complaints. It was also starting to get really really hot…the kind of heat where you can feel it radiating up from the sidewalk. It seemed to take forever just to get from mile 14-15. At mile 15, I had another break and filled up my water bottles. It had taken me 10 miles to empty them for my first stop, but I had drained them dry in only 5 miles this time. Like I said…it was getting toasty! The next few miles were noticeably harder…and my pace had slowed a bit. I was nearing mile 18, and realized my watch battery was NOT going to make it. I texted super hubby to let him know and realized my phone was ALSO giving up on me! Bottom line: I knew my route was close to 23 miles…but I would have no way of verifying that. My longest run to date and I would have no recored of it…now that just hurt! Round about mile 18.5 I thought I saw a car I recognized. I figured I was just getting slow and fuzzy headed, until the car pulled over in front of me. My heart jumped for joy as I blearily realized that said car was Super Husband coming to my rescue to give me HIS GPS watch, fully charged, so I could finish out my run with certainty! Super Husband indeed!!! He was literally my hero in that moment!!!!
Thank heavens for Supper Hubby, because my watch DID give up the ghost right at mile 19. At mile 20, so did I. My body just started slowing down and there was nothing I could do about it. Every step was painful. My hip joints, knees, and feet were jarred painfully with each step. To make matters worse, I had run out of water and my last GU packet had fallen out of my belt somewhere along the way. I have honestly never been in so much pain while actually still running. I finished the last 3 miles in an awkward hunched shuffle step/jog/walk kind of combo. I think I averaged a painful, plodding 15 minute mile at the end of the whole thing. It was no joke. They say that a marathon begins at mile 20 and now I am getting an inkling of just what they mean by that. I felt emotionally and physically empty by the end of the run.
So that whole circus of fun was on Friday. I am incredibly happy to have been able to go 23 miles! Its hard for me to wrap my brain around that distance even tho I was the one who did it. I did not think I would be running AT ALL on Friday and I managed to complete the longest run of my life! On the other hand, I am sobered by just how hard that was. I couldn’t have walked 5 more feet if I had been on fire on Friday. I still need to tack on 3 more miles to finish the marathon…and 5 miles of the marathon will be a very long hill climb. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried. I certainly respect the distance…as a matter of fact I have become a bit scared of it at this point.
I was scheduled to run 7 miles on Sunday. How in the world anyone could EVER run almost a marathon on Friday and turn around and run again on Sunday is beyond me. I tried…and managed one very painful mile. It just wasn’t going to be possible. In addition, I was supposed to run another 8 on Monday. I managed to walk close to 5, but running was just not possible yet. Here is where my work schedule is shooting myself in the foot. Ideally I would be able to run Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Well I can run Mondays, and I can run Fridays, but Wednesdays are a 7:30 to 7:30 kind of day. There just isn’t time to squeeze in an hour to 2 hours of running before 7:30 or after 7:30 on Wednesdays, therefore I have a Friday, Sunday, Monday schedule. Now that I am running the big miles, there just isn’t enough recovery time to manage the Sunday, Monday runs effectively. Between my knee and the long run fatigue, I worry that I am losing too many of those smaller base mile runs. Its a sad reality that I just may not be able to get in enough base miles to make this all logically work.
So my brain is worried. I know I need more base miles at this point than I have been able to amass in the last 2 weeks. I am trying hard not to listen to my brain. I am trying instead to listen to the quiet faithful voice in my heart. My brain is screaming about base miles and minimum weekly miles not being met, smaller runs missed, and how much harder the marathon will be than even my toughest training run.
Underneath my brain and its screaming antics, there is a quiet whisper in my heart. It quietly agrees that I am not enough, my training is not enough, the miles are indeed so very very long, the race so very hard. In those same calm steady tones, the whisper reminds me that I am not running this alone. I may not be enough, but He is…I am not trying to run this in my own strength. It reminds me that was never the plan from the beginning. God has been my running partner in this from the beginning and He will be with me to the finish line and beyond. I was never designed to do LIFE alone, much less a tiny thing such as a marathon.
So I have a choice as to which voice I will listen to. In the end the outcome will be the same. I am at a point where I can only train as physically hard as my body and schedule will allow or I will get injured and not be able to run at all. My race entry is paid for, travel arranged. I am going to run this marathon God willing. The only variable in the equation is whether I spend the next few weeks wrapped around the axle of my worry over things I cannot change, or resting in the arms of Faith.
And so again I repeat my mantra “God’s got this, he’s got me, and He knows what I NEED to run”
Wishing you all a restful week my friends 🙂