I'm just back from the final run of this training cycle for the Two Cities Marathon. I have a lot to say about the last 20 weeks. TWENTY WEEKS! I have never trained for one race this long before. I started the plan on June 15th which feels like eons ago.
Before I go into that, I have to share this:
Yes, folks. I'm injured.
Two weeks ago I ran my last long run. A little over 19 miles with 18 of them at 8:38 pace. It wasn't my longest run. It wasn't even my most challenging long run pace-wise. I actually felt pretty good the rest of the day after and was looking forward to starting to taper. The next morning I had 4 easy miles on the schedule and my knee threw the most immature hissy fit about the whole thing.
Ever since then it hasn't been the same. I've decided my biggest weakness as a runner is my stubbornness about sticking to a training plan. I should have thrown in the towel half a mile into that 4 mile run. But the knee loosened up so I finished. Who knows what would be happening now if I had just stopped then, but what is in the past is in the past.
I've been doing this long enough and have had enough injuries to know that there are some you can run through and some you can't. I've christened this tweak one I can run through if it means enough to me, but I probably should stop if it is going to heal.
I've been running with the bum knee for two weeks now and have figured this out:
1) I have not figured out a stretch I can do mid-run to make it feel better.
2) The longer I run the better it feels.
3) The faster I run, it doesn't feel worse, and actually feels better (this goes hand in hand with #2 as most of the speed runs I've done the last two weeks were also longer runs)
4) It hurts more going uphill (luckily Fresno is relatively flat, I am worried about the short steep underpasses a bit)
5) It hurts more when I stop and then start running again (hopefully I won't be stopping much in the middle of the marathon vs. my neighborhood runs with stoplights).
6) The last two runs I've worn my snazzy pink brace and it definitely lessens #4 and #5.
7) It tends to hurt the most between 1.2-2.5 miles and then it feels okay or there is just a mild awareness of it up to 13 miles (the longest I've run in the last two weeks).
I saw a chiropractor earlier this week who worked on it and found some tight muscles in the area which may be pulling on the tendons. I'm going back this afternoon for another treatment. What she has done has helped a little so hopefully another few days of stretching and rolling those areas out will improve things a little more.
This new development has obviously thrown a bit of a wrench into my game plan for the race.
I don't have anything to achieve or prove at Fresno that can't wait for another day. This isn't my 16th marathon in 12 months. I'm not running this one for my dad. It isn't my 32nd marathon on my 32nd birthday. I've told myself that if it gets to the point that it really hurts, I'm just going to stop. I've already run this course and while a great course to race, it isn't the type of thing you want to walk out the last 9 miles.
On the other hand, I've deemed my knee runnable so I am going to try. My main goal for this race was to go sub-3:45 and to get as close to 3:40 as I can. While training I thought that on a perfect day a 3:39 was probably near the absolute limit of my abilities. The weather doesn't look to be cooperating on that front and with my knee I don't think I have the gumption to pace for my super stretch goal.
|All the miles I've run the last 4.5 months|
I am extremely proud of the way this training cycle went. Race day is almost here and I always see it as a celebration of all these weeks of hard work. Whether or not it culminates in a new PR or even a finish isn't so important to me at this moment. I've gotten a glimpse of what I can do and I'm excited for what that means in the future. I'm in the best shape of my life, but that isn't always everything when it comes to your running performance on one single day. And let's be frank, my knee is in the worse shape of its life and its a pretty important piece of my machinery.
I haven't done much mental focusing the last two weeks but am going to work on that the next two days. We'll see what my body gives me on Sunday.