It all started as a dream on a dirt track, twenty-three years ago…
Actually, not quite. It’s SF Marathon Week and I wanted to explain how I got here. I haven’t been blogging this week, and I’d like to say it’s because I’m busy running, stretching, building strength, and working on my mental game, but honestly, I’m just tired. The truth. I’ve gone on one run since Saturday’s 12 miler (yes, it’s Wednesday) and will try to jog tonight or something and I’ll go to the gym tomorrow but at this point I’m so exhausted that I feel like any excess reserves should be clung onto.
Anyways. Here’s my story of the long, arduous road to the SF Marathon.
March 13—move to San Francisco. Am training for Big Sur, but don’t think I’ll do that much more running.
April—hear about the SF marathon and the Nike Women’s Marathon on the same day. Impulsively sign up for the first half of SFM and enter the lottery for Nike Women’s full marathon.
April 27—find out I got into Nike Women’s. Get excited! Then do some research and realize (too late) that SFM has an AWESOME course and Nike Women’s full course kind of blows. Think about switching from the first half to the full at SFM.
April 30—At Big Sur marathon expo, I visit the SF Marathon booth and realize how much I want to run the full course. And then I realize that the medal is like 1,293,857 times bigger. That seals it. I will run SFM if I survive BSIM. Momentarily feel stupid for being partially motivated by the metal. Moment passes.
May 1—Survive BSIM. Get that unrealistic first marathon high where you feel like this is actually a really fun thing and you could do this more.
May 4—Email SFM to ask about switching to full. I’m still not fully on board and want to see what it takes.
May 4, hours later—receive email confirmation that I am now in the full. GULP. Was this a mistake? I’ll think about it and then I can always switch back to the first half (golden gate bridge half) before June.
2 weeks later—First half fills up.
Day after that—realize that unless I want to run the second half, I should start training for this marathon or whatever.
First weekend of June—run 14 miles in Boston. First training run.
Next week, Sunday—Run about 16 miles in Golden Gate Park. Tired, but whatever. I’ve got TIME.
That Tuesday—Talking to mom at boss stop. Remark how during my first training schedule every long run I experienced a different pain. Knee, IT band, foot, PCL… and how lucky I was that I didn’t feel those “growing pains” anymore. Completely jinx myself.
That Thursday—run 6 miles in GGP. Nice and easy. Get on bus. Stand up to get off bus and realize I can barely walk. Spend the next two days shuffling around and walking with an obvious limp.
Saturday—I wonder if I’m just sore and try to “run” my 18 miler and see if the pain comes out. One excruciating mile later I give up. This is the first long run in six months that I haven’t completed.
Entire following week—no running at ALL. Pain localized in quad. Go to chiropractor. Can’t help, says it’s probably muscular. Am walking very funny to compensate so pain spreads all the way down my leg, through my knee, shins, and to my feet when I walk. Overload on Advil. Take an ice pack with me to work and ice my inner leg. Hot.
Next Saturday—Am supposed to run 20 miles. Am in denial about the fact that I cannot run at ALL. Decide to do the elliptical and stationary bike at the gym for THREE HOURS to stimulate the endurance portion. All that happens is that I read a bunch of magazines, probably barely work my body, and get hit on while on the elliptical by a strange man. End marathon cardio session in anger!
Entire following week—see above description of previous entire following week. More ice. More advil.
During these weeks of no running, I go through all the stages. Shock, denial, anger, depression… I am frustrated but also realize that there are some good things about being injured, like making me realize how badly I want to run.
4th of July weekend—I test out my leg with my mommy on a few runs. The first mile or two are very painful. But then it dulls. Can’t tell if it’s actually dulling or if I’m just no longer realizing it.
A few days later—run 11 miles. Then later, 12. Very slow. Endurance is GONE. But I survive.
July 10—go to the 6 hour distance classic with a bunch of awesome bloggers. Tell myself if I do 18-20 laps, as long as it may take me, I can do the marathon. I do 19. Lots of breaks for chocolate or chatting so it doesn’t totally count. But it still kinda counts. I’m in.
July 16—run 14. Am ready to be done after that. Brrrrr.
July 23—run 12. Am ready to be done after that.
July 27—sitting here writing a blog. Realizing I have run TWO (TWO!) runs over 15 miles in the last nearly three months and that I am signed up for a 26.2. (Big Sur I did six or seven. My training plan pre-injury accounted for five.) Suffice it to say I am not really in shape for this run.
But I have a few things going for me here: absolutely NO pressure. None. At all. Before getting hurt I figured I would smash my Big Sur time at SFM. Now I just want to finish… but more importantly, I want to have fun. If not, what’s the point here? WOOO!
I have some other reflections on the mental terror I’m going to need to unleash on Sunday to get through this but that can be for another post. Until then I’ll say Happy Marathon Week! And I’ve got 4 more days to live in denial and pretend this isn’t going to be a relatively painful morning : ) But super awesome, too.
Have a great day!
What are you looking forward to this weekend?