Monday, December 30, 2013

You've got to know when to hold 'em

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run

I planned my entire weekend around my last mammoth marathon training run. The big 20 mile run. In recent weeks, I've struggled majorly with an injured left leg. I say leg, because I can't even pin point where the actual problem lies. I'd say it began in my foot, spread to my heal, then took over my knee and hip. Sometimes just moving from sitting to standing to hurts. Pitty party table for one! 

My last significant distance was the half marathon December 7th.. My injury kept me from running my 19 miler, I only made it to 9. It's very hard for me to accept defeat. To call time on a run, and listen to my body when it's screaming for me to stop. Marathon training has been very difficult for me. I didn't anticipate just how significant the difference in training for the half vs the whole shebang would be, and the marathon is playing in a league all by itself.

I originally planned to run my 20 miler Saturday morning. I woke up to rain and more rain, which means sidelining the run until Sunday. Saturday, instead of the run, I headed to the gym for cross training and strength. I took the rest of the day easy on Saturday. Sunday, I had 20 miles to run.

I started off at 7am, and I didn't' get very far.  My ideal pace for the marathon is in between 10:10-10:20 per mile. That's been the goal in which I have trained, and on all of my mega long runs, I've been very close to the pace goal. I had struggled with the weekly runs, as my body was taking time to recover from these long runs, but recently my pace had significantly improved there as well. True confessions: I've been taking a large amount of anti-inflammatory medication to make it through all these miles. As much as I love running, my body does not, and it never really has. I talked about aches pains and half recovery last year post my first half marathon, and I haven't really discussed it too much since.Personally, the amount of achievement and satisfaction that comes from the finish line accomplishment is worth a few hard weeks and some tough runs. It's been a large amount of tough runs and hard weeks. I've recently graduated from over the counter to prescription strength meds to make it through training. Running these long distances is very hard on the body.

This is how the run went Sunday morning-

Mile One: 10:20
Stop twice to stretch
Mile Two: 10:43
Stop twice to stretch
Mile Three: 11:02
Drag my dead leg


I knew I wasn't making it to 20 miles. I knew trying would be miserable and stupid on my part. I kept thinking back to a conversation I had with Kara over at PG Sister's when someone said to her Do you want to run this one race, or do you want to be able to run? 

I want to be able to run.

To say I'm frustrated is an understatement. I've worked so hard to get to this place, three weeks out from my first marathon. I've missed other races. I've pushed my body to place where I have been unable to improve in other areas. I've catered the way I eat to improve my running. I've missed countless social occasions so that I could get in these runs. I've woken up more times than I care to count during the 4 o'clock AM hour to run. I've skipped wine nights with girlfriends. I've gone to bed at 8pm on Friday AND Saturday nights. I've spent a lot of cheddar on this running outside thing. There's been a lot of sacrifice. Sacrifice I've been happy to make because I can see the reward. I close my eyes and see the finish line. I imagine what the accomplishment will feel like to run a marathon, and the anticipation of that runner's high is enough propels me forward.

I did not come this far, to quit now. I have to do this. I'm making an appointment with a sports therapist. I'm going to listen to my body and reevaluate my training plan going forward. I'm going to try the 20 mile run again, then continue with the taper training weeks. 

I've debated postponing my marathon to the Rock N Roll two weeks after the Louisiana. I've debated running the double loop at the Zydeco. All to give me more time to train. However, I have committed to the Louisiana. I've paid. I know I physically can do this. I CAN run 26.2.  I have concerns pushing off the race to train more will bring me back to this injured place, and make postponing pointless.
I don't know if I'll want to train for another marathon. I won't say never again, but I will say it has to be now. I have it in my head I'm running 26 miles in my 26th year of life. I've worked so hard. I can't quit now. I will not quit. I'm running the marathon January 19th. 

You've got to know when to hold 'em
.......
And know when to run


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14 comments:

  1. Oh no girl-- that is THE most frustrating feeling of all. Every runner knows that tackling the mental beast is the hardest part of getting started. But now that you're lightyears beyond that and struggling with physical issues-- NO NO NO. On a way less severe note, I started experiencing achilles tendinitis in the days after running the Hot Chocolate 15K (Nov 9) that have basically sidelined me from running since then. I was at my peak running condition during that race, and now I'm JUST starting to run again comfortably. Woe is me blah blah blah. Either way, I'm crossing my fingers that the sports doc helps a sistah out because you are SO READY to crush that 26.2, and I know you will :) Best of luck!

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  2. You're amazing and I hope the sports therapist can help so you can kick ass pain-free on January 19th!

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  3. Elle, I get you girl friend. I'm sorry you are in pain. Go see Dr. Terro. Life itself is a marathon, we have time to complete those 26 miles. It might not be in January, but sometime soon. Ice, stretch, ice, stretch, ice...you get it.

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  4. I was having similar problems before my last half. The only thing that helped was a massage therapist. I know how frustrating it is. You are a Rockstar and it will all work out in the end.

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  5. Your experience sounds very much like my journey to my first marathon, down to the constant meds to make it through training and runs never making it past a few miles before I had to throw in the towel. Good idea going to the sports therapist - at the time I was training I went to see one who evaluated my leg issues and said they could get me through the marathon day and that it wouldn't cause any further damage. That was the go ahead I needed. It was the NYC Marathon and I was afraid I'd never have the chance to do it again so I showed up and I finished. It was ugly, my time was awful and it hurt, but I finished and leg pain aside it was an amazing experience. At the time I felt like running injuries would plague me forever and I'd never run more than a half marathon again. I've run a few more marathons in the 7 years since, and finally built up the base and experience to get through the training without ever taking more than an advil and and extra nap following 50 mile training weeks. Just remember to respect the doctor's advice whatever it may be, and know that you are going to get better, stronger and more resistant to injuries in the years to come as you keep running and gain experience.

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  6. I am so sorry you are dealing with this. The worst thing for a runner. An injury. The first thing I ever think when I get any twinge of pain is "will I be able to run?" You know what you can do and I have all the faith in the world in you and your abilities.

    Though for selfish reasons....I wouldn't be upset if you decided to do the RNR on Feb 2nd;)

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  7. I can't imagine how frustrated you must be, but I am seriously in awe of your ability to take a step back and look at the big picture. There have been countless times I've had the "Should I run, or should I not run?" debate, and I choose run every time. Sometimes it's a good decision, sometimes I regret it. It takes some serious willpower to listen to your body, not your brain, and I think you are making a smart move. You may not have been able to put in the miles you want to, but think of how much you have trained. You've got a lot in the bank at this point, and there's not a lot you can do (or not do) in the next 3 weeks to really mess that up - except seriously injure yourself. You WILL get to that finish line!

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  8. You poor thing!! I hope you are able to get some answers and some relief! I am going to keep you in my prayers and send you lots of positive marathon vibe!! :)

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  9. I hope you get answers and relief and finish that marathon! I had also planned to run 26.2 when I was 26.2 but life got in the way...so I'm cheering for you that much more for sharing a cheesey goal :)

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  10. From someone who had a shitty marathon because I was sick, I'm still 50/50 on if it was truly worth it. Did I finish? Yes... Am I proud of it? Not really. I think you have to seriously consider your possible outcomes and see if it's really worth it to you.

    Hopefully you heal up!

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  11. Oh no! Did you try Chrio? Oh you poor girl. I feel your pain as I've been there in your same shoes weeks before the big race. I hope you hear things from the sports pt.

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  12. I hope the therapist can fix your pain. You're running your full when I run my second half! I'll be thinking of you! :)

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  13. I'm so sorry to hear that your injury isn't getting better! I hope the therapist can give you some stretches/exercises that can help alleviate your pain. Whatever the doc says, you're still a rockstar! Hope y'all have the happiest of New Years!

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  14. I hope the sports therapist gets you back on track! I had to postpone my first marathon due to an injury and it was heartbreaking! Definitely sending positive thoughts your way! Hope you have a great New Year! :)

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