Life, the Holidays, a random trip to Orlando and a clingy head cold has gotten in the way of blogging but I'm back!
As the weekend of November 20 approached, I had a really busy week but was trying to switch my focus from work to training. I was scheduled for 8 miles on Saturday and 16 miles on Sunday.
The Pilot was home on Saturday so he packed up his bike and we headed out to the trail. I decided to go ahead and run most of the miles. Like always, the first three miles were not fun. I tried to focus on The Pilot chattering away over my left shoulder instead of the fire I was feeling in my shins. It's no wonder that beginners often quit, because it feels like it's never going to get easier! Luckily it does though! Once I got the the 3 mile marker, the shin splints went away so I could finally enjoy my surroundings. It was pretty chilly but I'm one of those weird people that loves winter marathon training. The Pilot seems to like to take "action" pictures but most of those pictures make me rethink this whole running thing. I run like a Penguin that's for sure. I look like I'm in pain or I'm drowning in most of the photos. This one represents my speed work though....
...Yes, I go much faster when my tongue is hanging out like that. Anyhoooo....there is an upside to being one of the few that actually enjoys winter marathon training...nice and clean port-a-potties! There are two legitimate places to use the restroom on the trail (I am NOT one of those marathoners who can use the "nature's facilities). One is a real bathroom at a public park, 1.5 miles from the trail head. The other is about 3.5 miles out and is a port-a-potty in the middle of nowhere. I probably could have made it back but as I turned around at the 4 mile marker, I decided to make a pit stop. Lucky for me, it had just been cleaned the week before (yes, I check the dates while I'm in there) and not many people go that far out on the trail (it dead ends at mile 6) so it was nice and clean. And I am even luckier that The Pilot was with me and likes those "action" shots because this is what I saw once we returned (gee, thanks, hon!):
There are several comical things about this photo...1.) I actually managed to look like a runner while heading to the port-a-potty. 2.) The sign says Do Not Enter. 3.) It looks like I am running right for the power substation. Again, thank you to my wonderful boyfriend for his mad photojournalism skills.
The 8 miles went pretty quickly, as it always does when my partner in crime is keeping me company. We got back to the car and went on our merry way.
Sunday however was not as merry. It was a coaching day so I met with the Team at 8:00 am to do 2 miles. One of the alumni, Kim, was planning to go back out with me for a few miles and then I would head back out again to finish my 16 miles. That was the plan at least. During the easy 2 miles that I did with the Team, my right knee was acting a little weird. By the time we got back to our starting point, my knee was really annoyed. I mentioned it to one of the wonderful run coaches, Krista, who quickly told me that I should take it easy. When an elite runner like Krista tells you to take it easy, you should probably listen. I was so determined to get all 16 miles in though.
I headed back out with Kim. We went to the 2 mile marker and she offered to head out another mile before turning back. I really wanted the company so we went out to mile 3 and turned around. When we made the turn though, my knee was about to have an all out hissy fit. Even still, I was calculating in my head, how many miles I had left and what course I would need to take to get that many miles in. We were making our way towards the parking lot to finish when some of the runners that were going longer distances caught up to us. I was talking with another amazing alumni, Ann, about my knee and I think it was her kind words (and a text message from Krista telling me to listen to my body) that convinced me that the right thing to do was to stop for the day. I've had a lot of doubts about my training over the last couple of weeks (I constantly worry that I'm not doing enough) but Ann reassured me that I still have time to train and that I have enough spirit to get me to the finish line. You can't fake something like a full marathon and especially not the Goofy Challenge but she did have a point, though I don't know if I'd call it spirit. I think stubborn and/or determined might be more appropriate. Come race day, I want it bad enough that I won't quit.
Stopping after 8 miles was definitely the right thing to do that day. By the time I got to my car to head home, I was limping. And then it was very painful to drive. I started a routine of ice and ibuprofen for the next three days (and swapped 2 workouts for stretching and abs and arms work) and was feeling much better. Unfortunately, taking the time off left me very grumpy and unsure of myself. This is the life of a marathoner though I suppose! Ups and downs but we just won't quit.