Marathon training 2022
I am 3 weeks out from Shamrock Marathon- my first marathon since Big Sur in 2019 (which was my first back since Boston in 2013!) It’s been an interesting few months getting back into marathon training. I posted earlier about some challenging runs I have had. I’ve also had some successful long runs and also important workouts to support these long runs. It’s been a LOT of up an down. 2 weeks ago, I got so fatigued, I had 3 days in a row where I quit my runs. It was like I couldn’t even run anymore. I was tired, both physically and mentally. After 3 days of trying, I took OFF. OFF OFF OFF. I laid in bed for two days. I don’t even know if I was maybe sick? I sometimes think maybe I had covid and never knew? But then again, I know this time of year is ALWAYS FREEEAAAAKING HARD for me. And this year has been BAD. NO SUN. Freaking ridiculously cold temperatures where it is just HARD to get outdoors into the air. So I am not sure if this was an energy drop because of marathon training/high mileage, life fatigue both physically and mentally, or allergies, or what, but HOPEFULLY I am back on a sustainable energy path!
Today, I went out for what was to be my longest run. 23 miles. My previous long run was 21.5. That went WELL. (well means hard, was at the LIMIT LIMIT LIMIT of physically being doable, but I did it which is “well” in marathon training). I woke up today feeling great. I had really prepped well this week with a week of backing off/ regaining my energy, a decrease in miles, focused and DID my hydration. (I did it GUYS! I did it! Anything is possible, haha!) I went to bed early last night, woke up feeling great. I began my 23 miles with a definite focus on easing in for a few miles, and then just holding steady, balancing being relaxed, mentally being a bit bored/ reminding myself to not think about time, reminding myself to focus on form, smooth relaxed focus, etc. Everything was going along VERY WELL- I was pleasantly surprised, up until 16 miles. I began to feel my hip hurting. Hmmm…. It was okay though. Kept focus on form to make sure I wasn’t fatiguing and letting something go weird with footstrike, posture, etc. Mile 18: HIP HURTS. KINDA A LOT. Of course I always ask on a scale from 1/10. AT this point, I was like, it is pretty bad, like 8.4/10 I thought. I reminded myself that honestly, what would be worse, this hip pain or having DIARRHEA?!!! HA! I’d rather manage the hip pain at that point. (honestly there is just nothing worse than needing to go to the bathroom and having no place to go). I carried on. Mile 19: I’m at 9/10 pain. I said, OK, muddle through 2 more miles as much as you can, when you get to 21, you can walk 1 min, then jog the rest of the mile, and do the same thing once more to the finish. So, I have 2 more miles in my head, right? (to get to where I get to walk a bit). I am head down, muddling. Have ZERO CARES for how bad this looks to anyone on the road passing me because I am not embarrassed, I am just 1000% managing pain. Everything I have is just to keep steady form, step by step. Mile 21, I make it and walk 1 min. OHHH GOSH THIS IS SO UGLY. I barely can walk. I do knee to chest a few steps to try to stretch out glutes (excuse me, it is actually more like knee up 2 inches because that is all that I can manage). My minute is up, I go to jog again, and it is NOT HAPPENING. I am completely limping in my jog now. I cannot land fully on my hip, it is a waddle/limp and I realize this is very bad for my back. Of course my hip is the most pain, but I know the implications for future hip but also BACK and I know I am just doing damage. I know I need to stop. I walk it out. I now cannot even walk. My walk limp may even be worse than my run limp. And I have 1.5 miles left to get home. I have no phone. I cannot even walk now, I’m standing on north shore and cannot walk so I grab a speed limit sign post and lean to stretch calves while I think. OK, maybe that stopping fixed it? (I know this is not logical, but how did I Just do all of that and now cannot walk, nothing makes sense. This is also not my hamstring that typically gives me trouble, but the outside of my hip). So, I try to walk. Again, I cannot even take steps. I am 1.5 miles still. I honestly think of HOPPING home. We do single leg hops and jumps in bootcamp, but I realize this is not feasible and I cannot hop on one leg for over a mile. (Not even considering how embarrassing that would look). I keep trying to walk and cannot do it. I am crying now, thinking, PLEASE SOMEONE DRIVE BY THAT KNOWS ME and see that I am in huge need of help. I kneel down. Have no idea what to do, but also I know I cannot stand there all day, I have to pick up Forrest and his friend from practice. I realize the back of the townhouses off of north shore back up to baron Cameron and if I can cut through somehow, that will at least take off some of the distance. I HOBBLE through and finally see baron Cameron. However, there is a big gully full of water at the bottom before it rises back up to the road. (snakes??!!) I see a bit down that it doesn’t go so low, so I head over there. Of course, there is no path to the road, it is complete pricker bushes and brush. I am stepping on some pricker bushes so I can try to get my body through, because I. WILL. GET. TO. THE. ROAD. Meanwhile, here I come out of the woods, stepping over the guardrail of Baron Cameron. I’m wondering who will drive by now and see me looking like a crazy person emerging from the woods. I hobble across in between traffic to the other side, where again, all pricker bushes. No path. I could care less, I know I am .5 away from home. Needless to say, I made it home, this was not my best look, and I cannot believe that happened. I have zero idea why. I am praying it was a fluke and will be going to chiropractor this week!
ALL THIS TO SAY: hey, anyone wanna train for a marathon, haha?! Just joking, because I know this doesn’t want seem to sound like it is motivating. It sounds horrid, and it was, but…..
At mile 13, I saw a friend on the trail who I am coaching for same race! As we passed each other, I told her to “HAVE FUN!” And then I thought for about 30 seconds, OMG, that probably was so stupid to say, this is so hard, and I acted like it was just easy and go have fun. But I realized right then, that: this really WAS FUN! I had seen so many beautiful things during my time I was out yesterday- the amount of beautiful birds during these cold winter months is just awesome. I love their chirps, they are like little miracles, and some of the blue birds colors just AMAZE me! And I saw so many pretty TREES- some with amazing white bark, and I went by a peaceful stream with rushing water. It was so quiet, peaceful and serene. And for so much of it, I felt actually okay- which reminded me that all of my work for the past 2 months has really paid off and gotten me stronger! Even though the ending didn’t work out, I am stronger and more fit! And… now I have a lifetime memory of the Saturday morning that I kneeled, crying, on the side of North Shore Drive in Reston, emerging minutes later from the woods and over a guard rail to cross Baron Cameron, nearly having to hop home in 32 degree weather.
I will end this now with one last bit of reminder to myself= it is much colder to finish the last mile or a run in this temperature NOT RUNNING! By the time I entered my garage, I think my frozen fingers hurt just as much as my hip!
2nd reminder to self….. maybe I should consider carrying a phone on long runs.