It's that time of year again. The time when all of my good nutrition, less drinking, and adequate rest go flying out the window. I thought going into this weekend I was going to be more disciplined. I thought I could resist the temptation to eat all day and only have a beer or two. Football season is the downfall of my healthy habits every year. Too much beer, too much food, and too much time not resting, training, or doing something training-related. I will admit that for opening weekend I was much better behaved than previous years, but I still was no poster child for physical fitness and healthy living.
Yesterday started innocently enough as I helped the Team-in-Training crew log their long run for their upcoming marathons. I even ate a healthy breakfast and lunch before I left in hopes of continuing the good habits the rest of the day. It's like the moment I hit Stillwater I fall back into college mode. Everything fried and nasty sounds delicious and beer immediately becomes the only form of liquid that even seems palatable. Stillwater brings out the party in everyone. It's just something about that small college town atmosphere that conjures up all of these bad habits. Game day. Oh how I missed thee.
I remember last year that I experimented with marathon training through the entire football season and was constantly teetering on the edge of overtraining due to lack of sleep and poor nutrition. This season I will only actually be training for the first 2 months of the season and I have vowed to not spend weekends in Stillwater until after the marathon season is over. I just can't even fathom putting my body through the same gauntlet as last year. I will try to take positive influences to the game with me so I can easily resist temptation from the old college buddies. It's imperative that I stay on top of my physical condition with the 2 marathons just around the corner. I may have indulged yesterday, but don't count on that becoming a habit.
Today was my scheduled long run for the week so I set the alarm for 6 AM so I could get out and hit the trails before the heat settled in. It was actually a little chilly this morning which was amazing. I believe our low temp last night was around 56. Perfect. I am so happy we are going to be breaking out of the nasty summer soon. I had full intentions of actually trying to get in my full 12 miles this morning, but again wasn't sure how the knee would hold up. I applied my KT Tape for lateral knee pain last night before I went to bed and as expected, it helped out tremendously with my IT pain. However, my runner's knee symptoms flared up pretty bad today. I had a constant pain under my knee cap that just wouldn't go away. I mixed in more walking like I have all week to break up the constant pounding on the knee. I have found that a 9 minute run/1 minute walk pattern seems to help with the knee so for now I am going to stick with that until I get back to 100%. After doing 6 miles, I decided to call it quits because the knee wasn't getting any better and I really, really don't want to screw something up where I can't run the marathon. At this point the knee is at a point where I can definitely run the marathon, but not in the PR form that I had hoped. It's not going to be comfortable running if things don't improve, but marathons aren't supposed to be comfortable. I just wish the uncomfortable part was from me pushing to get the best out of my body, not my body pushing me to lighten up. Regardless, I have seen progress and I will be keeping with my training at a reduced rate mixed in with lots of cross-training to try and maintain my current base. Fifteen miles is my longest run up to this point. I have 18 miles scheduled this weekend and 20 miles scheduled in 3 weeks. It will be a game-time decision on what my actual mileage will be on those days. I am confident in my cardio fitness and my ability to pull through on marathon day. I just need my body to cooperate as well.