Well, it's happening. I think I may have finally hit my breaking point in the training schedule. Yesterday, the easy 5 miles was definitely ok. No real discomfort, just the general feeling that something wasn't 100%. Today, not so much.
The day started off so well. It was the beginning of my 4 1/2 day weekend and work went by quickly this morning. I went in to wrap up some last minute business and make sure my stuff was covered for Thursday and Friday. The weather was awesome and the wind was non-existent. It seemed like the perfect day for a nice 10-miler around Lake Hefner. I went and got a haircut after I left the office and then headed home to change into my running clothes. Everything seemed to be aligned for a great Wednesday run. I was excited and optimistic. Man, how things change.
The run started off well enough. I really was in no hurry to get anywhere so I stretched a bit before the run and started at a nice comfortable 9:30 pace. A mile in, no real problems. Everything felt like it was going well and I was optimistic. A half a mile later, I felt it starting. That tender, nagging pain that started last weekend when I tried to do my long run. Just a little hint that something wasn't right, but nothing too harsh that made me think I needed to stop. I keep moving to only feel things get worse. The nagging pain progressively intensified and at mile 2 I called it quits. Dejected, saddened, frustrated, embarrassed, heart-broken. Thoughts of failed marathon plans started rushing through my head. My mind started racing in every direction possible. "If I can't even run 3 miles now, what's going to happen to me on race day?" "Can I even think about running a marathon if I miss my last 2 long runs before my taper?" "Am I stupid for even thinking this is still a possibility?" You can imagine my disappointment if you have been following this blog for very long. Miserable, that's how I felt at that exact moment. "What's next?"
The walk back to the car was a blessing in disguise. It helped me gather my thoughts and remove some of the negativity swirling around in my head. I took it as an opportunity to assess the situation and come up with a plan of action. I am not giving up on the marathon. No way, no how. Plus, to tell the truth, if this was race day, I would have kept running. The pain is not debilitating. It's just there. A constant reminder that something isn't normal. Everything I have read up to this point in my training stresses the idea that it's better to get to the starting line healthy, a little under trained, than to never make it all. That's my goal over the next 3 1/2 weeks. No, I won't be able to get in my 20 mile run. No, I won't be able to get in every run on my schedule. The things I can control, I will. I will still do cross-training in place of the runs on my schedule. For all of you wondering, that means I will be sitting my happy butt on a stationary bike for 3 hours on Saturday trying to teach my body how to burn fat first, glycogen second, and everything in between last. I will not give up. I have come too far to hang my head now. Sure, I will have doubts over the next 3 weeks. Sure, I will be even more nervous when I stand at the start line on Dec 13th. It's all part of the journey, right? Plus, the taper is to let your body rest and recover anyway. The endurance building has already taken place. My job now is to not blow it.
So, that brings me to another dilemma. Do I still ask people to come to Dallas to watch? Do I stay quiet for the last 3 weeks and minimize the attention? I know my Mom is coming and she will be proud of me regardless of when I cross the finish line. My own personal goals are probably shot at this point, but there is always next time. I am at least being realistic now and am willing to admit that finishing is the main goal. My time goal has been thrown out the window. I am not sure why I care what people think anyway. This marathon is for me. Not for my mom, not for my brother, not for my friends. It's for me.
Marathon training is very selfish. It eats up your time., alters your social calendar, tears up your body, and maybe even costs you a few cool points with your friends. If I was doing it for someone else, I probably would have never started. I am doing this for my own good. It's a reminder that I can do anything I put my mind to. It's a reminder that life is fragile and to embrace the good health we are given. It's a reminder that life itself is a marathon. I have learned to not get too excited about the day-to-day mishaps. Focus on the goal. Focus on what makes you happy. Focus on making yourself a better person. Through this training, I have realized how lucky I am to be able to pursue this dream. It's not for everyone, but it is for me.
So, over the next few weeks, I plan on maintaining and persevering. I considered a doctor visit, but I know exactly what he would tell me. If it gets worse, I will consult a physician, but for now I will prescribe my own medicine. Tomorrow is a brand new day. To quote one of my favorite running blogs : "There will be a day when you can no longer do this. Today is not that day" Frayed Laces
Please send positive vibes my way. It will be a struggle, but I know I can do it. 24 days and counting.
Wednesday, November 18th - 3.90 miles in 45:35 (11:41 pace) - failed attempt at 10 miles