September 15, 2011

I need more tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmeeee!

It's finally here. The day I've been preparing for for half a year now. The St. George Marathon. It wasn't supposed to sneak up this quickly, but it did. WOW. In less than three weeks, I am going to be (hopefully) be running 26.2 miles.

I feel ready in a lot of ways. I mean, I've been training and preparing like crazy, so I feel I've done my part. I wish I had taken my training more seriously in the beginning, but I got caught up to my schedule and I've logged some serious hours and miles, so I guess that's all I can do.

However, does one EVER feel prepared to run a marathon? I mean, the farthest I've ever run is 21 miles, and I've done it once. Once! The marathon is 5 miles longer than that. It seems crazy to think that my body will just understand how to do that. But I feel assured that it will, so I am powering forward. I have never been so excited, overwhelmed, anxious, sickened, empowered, confident, and terrified. Simultaneously.

I have no goals for this race, other than crossing the finish line. I am hoping I can do it under the 6 hour max requirement they have, but we'll see. I don't care if it takes me 10 hours and I'm crawling across the finish line. I just want to finish. On my own, without being driven across in an emergency vehicle. I think that's a fair and attainable goal.

October 1st is the day! Wish me luck!!!!!!!!

The ol' training plan

Training has been going really well. I have been pleased lately to learn just what I am capable of. What my body and my mind are both capable of. We are amazing creatures. I AM an amazing creature. I think we rarely give ourselves enough credit. I know I don't. I am quick to cut myself down, and slow to recognize my acomplishments. I've been really working on that lately because that's not who I am. It's not who I want to be. I want to be strong, confident, humble, and loving. And I can't love others truly until I love myself. This is another way runnning has helped me, and another way in which it's intensely spiritual to me. It is helping me love myself. Forgive myself. See myself as a strong, capable woman who needs to be more patient and kind. To HERSELF. And I have been. The harder my training gets, the more I'm able to let go of my expectations and just BE. It's invigorating. Empowering even. I think even after my race is done, I'm going to continue to run. I'm hooked.

Anway, on to how my training has gone. I have been running 5-8 miles a day, 4 days a week (M-Th). I rest Friday and run a long run on Saturday. Sunday is my recovery day where I go on a long walk. For about a month there I had been running a consistent 8 minute mile. Some days were a little slower, some (amazingly) were a little faster. But on average, about an 8 minute mile. And I could maintain that speed over an entire 8 mile run. It was the peak of my physical prowess. I felt amazing. Then I ran my 18 mile run. Keep in mind, it was my 18 mile run last year that ended up taking me out of the marathon due to stress fractures on my tibia. So I entered the run with a bit of trepidation. But I felt much more prepared this year than last, so I held my head high and went out on my long run. It was exhausting. At mile 13 I felt amazing. So so great, and I felt like I could really do it! By mile 14 I was ready to die. It's crazy how just 1 mile takes it out of you, but it happens and it happens fast! I was spent. I slowed my pace drastically to prevent an overtraining injury. I still felt like I was going to pass out. My slow pace kept me from returning before the sun came up so it started getting hot. Really hot. Arizona hot. It made the run much harder, and again I slowed my pace. By about mile 16 I thought I might pass out or vomit (or both), and my pace slowed to a walk. I walked the last 2 miles. I finally arrived home, hot, sore, miserable, sick, and painfully depressed that it took me 6 hours to run / walk 18 miles. I knew then that I would never be able to run the marathon. Not with the few short weeks I had left. I was depressed.

Fast forward 2 days to when my foot was still hurting from the run. Not just sore, but excruciating, where I couldn't even walk on it. A trip to the dr and an xray later revealed that it wasn't stress fractures, but I had torn ligaments in my foot. It wouldn't keep me from running, just make it extremely painful to do so. I took a week off to let it heal and then started back with low miles. That 8 minute mile I was running? Yeah, it got flushed down the drain. It's now a 10 minute mile. I'm actually quite okay with that because even a 10 minute mile means I'm still running! It could have been much worse.

Fast forward 2 more weeks and I had my 21 mile run. I was very anxious because the 18 mile run was such a bust. But I knew it had to be done, even if I walked half of it. This time I put bananas and powerbars every 5 miles because I felt that maybe my lightheadedness from the 18 miler was due to improper nutrition. It made all the difference. I was able to run the entire 21 miles, and do it in under 4 hours. I just needed some fuel! I was beaming when I got home. I've never felt so fantastic. Even Sam kept saying "I can't believe you just did that." Well, I did. And I own that. That feels good to say.

I should come clean and say that I *did* walk once. During the sweet guitar solo in "Sweet Child of Mine". So, about a tenth of a mile. Enough to recharge, not enough for me to feel like I didn't run the whole thing. I've since been able to cut my time down to a 9 minute mile, but not consistently. I don't mind. I just want to keep running, however long it takes.