I Can and I Will….my mantra over the last couple months that I’ve used to pull me out of my defeated days or when those negative thoughts crept in during runs.
But here I am! …9 days out from the Boston Marathon. I almost don’t want to write this post because I am so close to making it to the start line that I envisioned every day I was stuck in the pool in January…I just want to put myself in a bubble from now until April 17th.
In November, I bought the Lauren Fleshman Believe journal as a way of pumping myself for the changes I was making to better my running. I decided to hire a coach and take my training to the next level. I wanted to stay dedicated to tracking not only my miles but the shoes I wore and the way the runs felt. I was doing a pretty good job staying faithful to the journaling process…. until I was hit with my knee and then hip injury at the end of December. Dealing with an injury is hard enough.. having to open a notebook just to write about how bad the run was or filling in 0s for mileage was just plain brutal. Now that I am feeling good and have come SO far since January, I had an urge to want to go back and track my training on paper. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to recall exact details so I just printed out a blank calendar and filled in strictly mileage and anything I could remember about the run. I actually have pretty vivid memories from many of my runs (maybe it is because I only run 3 days a week haha..not too much to remember). I opened up my Garmin App was ready to fill in the calendars February – April only to see this…
I obviously knew my milage increased as my injury was getting better but seeing the progress right in front of me hit me with a wave of happiness and pride. It hasn’t been easy but I am so glad I stuck with it. There were many days in the course of these 3 months where I felt defeated. Felt like the fight was pointless. “Why am I doing this for a 3-4 hour race?” This question crossed my mind on every single one of my defeated days. I am not sure I ever came up with a concrete/logical answer. But then again, runners are not very logical. But we are fighters. We fight through pain and then sign up to do it again. We push ourselves to limits we never thought were possible. Why? Because when we fight that fight and come out on the other side, the feeling is euphoric. The tears we cry when we are injured and the unnecessary stress we endure are not pleasant. Marathon training is just like the race – the struggle and pain is real and it hurts.. but we know that if we can keep fighting for a little longer, we will get there and the personal victory will be sweeter than ever.
If you read my blog, you know that I don’t use the conventional marathon training plan that most have. So I guess it is only natural that this training cycle decided to go off track leaving me to crank out those long runs in a short amount of time. Thankfully, this is not unknown territory. My first marathon training went a little something like this..14, 16, 18, 15, 21, TAPER…something you would NEVER see in a book about training for a first marathon haha. I’ll let the pictures below take you through the last couple months, the chipping away at long runs with each passing week and the amazing women on my running team that are always there to keep me company.
There are lots of smiling happening in these pictures because finishing the run I feared all week each week is such great feeling. Despite the smiles, not all runs felt great. The prolotherapy helped my hip A TON and I was able to make significant progress but I had runs where I could feel my hip or sometimes I even felt my OTHER hip due to compensation. Those bad runs always got the best of me and I would worry that I was digressing but then I’d have a good run and be on cloud 9. The phrase, ‘roller coaster of emotions’ was DEFINITELY me. I did everything I could to reign it in most days. The 21 miler after New Bedford Half marathon defintely beat me up mentally and physically. I had to really take a step back and plan out the taper. If I was going to end this cycle strong, I had to have faith in the completed long runs and take the taper weeks seriously. I decided to make my runs a bit shorter but increase speed. Quality over quantity.
I definitely played it right because these progression/tempo runs were actually really fun, empowering and just what my body needed. I have a 10k race tomorrow that I will treat as a final tune up run and then it is just short shake outs, stretching and yoga!
Nama(stay) healthy, strong and confident in these final 9 days!
The journey is not over yet!