Well, not quite. This is the penultimate week of marathon training, with next week being the WEEK of the MARATHON. Now, I know half of you are pumped about Boston and ready to see race recaps and how people deal with the not-so-pleasant weather conditions. However, don’t forget there about 10 of us running the London Marathon, Darß Marathon, and various other races the weekend following. 7 days, y’all.
But first, let’s recap the last 7 days.
First of all, Spring has arrived. But also, taper miles:
Longtime readers will recall that I ran a half marathon last Sunday, and all that lateral running sat in the muscles and I had DOMS through Tuesday. But then Tuesday, despite residual soreness, I couldn’t sit still any longer and went down for an easy run, followed by an easy run on Wednesday, followed by an easy run on Thursday… you know the drill. I actually meant to take Thursday off, but…SquadRunner points were at stake! Also, I had a mild case of depression and sometimes a run is enough to take care of that. It wasn’t, but it certainly didn’t make things worse. Friday was a warm-up run for Saturday, and Saturday, well, today, the wheels nearly came off.
First of all, no shot at the doctor’s yesterday. Turns out, she does do her job after all, and since I reported not feeling all that much better since last seeing her, she didn’t want to just put the bandaid on the issue, but decided she wanted to see my insides. So I’m having an MRI done of my back to help figure out if there’s a nerve being affected or whatever. Whatever being a scenario I don’t want to think about. I also have PT prescribed that should help get me some movements/stretches to help get this pain in the butt gone, and if that doesn’t work, she did say I could come back for a shot. At least for the marathon. Because running since March has been not so much fun.
Today’s ten milers, the last longish run before the race, the run that was supposed to make me feel confident and ready, just was no fun. First the arches hurt, which I fixed by stopping, untying the shoes, taking out the inserts, stretching the feet, putting the shoes back on, etc. Then I started feeling a pain in the top of the foot, near the toes… oh no!!! Oh no, that could be a stress fracture… hope it’s not a stress fracture. Um, yeah.
It’s probably not, though not totally out of the question yet, since the foot still hurt through the end of the run, through stretching and foam rolling and after going to take a shower. In the shower, I did a few stretches (I know, that’s so sexy), and then the foot did seem to feel a little better. At least it doesn’t hurt like it did. Here’s just to hoping that it was the shoes, since my ASICS Gel-Excites are still yungins.
Really, though, I just still have the same old pain in the butt. The one that the doctor says is caused by a pinched nerve in my back and that seems to be causing problems all throughout the back of the leg. The same one that has restricted my movements and makes me feel like I’m running in sand and can’t enjoy my runs every day. Apparently, what I have is not an injury by technical standards, since it seems to be a bio-mechanical problem that is only made apparent by running, but would exist anyway. This is probably true. Still, it feels like a running injury, because it makes me feel like running less would make it better. But that’s obviously not an option.
Today, I finally was faced with the possibility that the pain will be there for the marathon. And that I may not have the glorious feeling of a race and stored-up energy from carb-loading and tapering. I mean, I will probably feel that, but I’ll also probably be feeling the pain the entire time. And I need to be okay with that, if this race is even going to be a success. And while I don’t seem to be able to get rid of the pain, I can redraw my standards for what is meant as a “success.”
At this point, I should be grateful that I’m not injured. I can RUN next week. That’s a better scenario than the past two years. I’ve trained the full 15 weeks. I still had a decent run today (8:25 pace, though it felt really hard- part of which is due to the very mild cold I’m experiencing). And the race itself is in a beautiful part of Germany and the weather is supposed to be perfect. I should appreciate what I have.
Realistically, can I reach my goal of sub-3:30? Maybe? With a bit of luck and a lot of gumption, I could meet my goal. I won’t know until the 22nd what my body feels like doing. What’s that thing they say? You can’t control the situation, but you can control how you react to it. ? Well, that’s what I’ll do.
At this point, I have a two-pronged plan:
If I am feeling well after one more week of taper, about 3 (or 4, let’s see how I feel on Monday) days of rest, one more week of getting used to the time zone and conscientious eating (i.e. carb-loading!), I am aiming for a sub-3:30, which is a 7:59 pace (or less) and for a podium-finish. gasp! I know, I didn’t mention this before, but now I’m putting it all out there. Last year’s race was won in 3:19 and third place came in 3:31:36 (it’s a really small race, ha ha). Now I’m not saying all I have to do is run sub 3:30, and I know that each race is dependent on who shows up and what the conditions are, but all I know is that if I’m aiming for sub-3:30 and I’m setting it as a goal to get third place, gosh darnnit, who is to say it’s impossible?
So there’s that.
On the other hand, let’s say I feel like I did today: sore butt, sore feet, and generally struggling to keep an 8:25 pace (or, this pesky half-cold becomes a legit one), my goals will be to go sub 3:45, sub 4:00, and if the worst comes to the worst, finish the thing. I mean, I’m getting a shirt, for goodness sake! I need to represent.
So, cheers. Here’s the last beer before the race, supplemented, of course, by 1.5 liters of water, and a few shots of the Berlin Half-Marathon! (you thought I was going to say whiskey, huh?)