Training took a back seat this week. I know the race is just a couple weeks away. I did get a five mile run in, but then was hit with tragedy. My dog, Jake, passed away. He has been by my side for 14 years. I love and miss him so much. So instead of running, I am just taking some time to grieve, cry and adjust. I can't say I will be ready to run next week or at all for the next couple weeks. But honestly, the marathon just doesn't seem as important to me anymore.
Rest in peace, sweet boy. I love and miss you immensely.
The motivation and positivity just keep on coming. Yesterday, I received two more reminders about the upcoming 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon. First, this package arrived from Clif, one of the race sponsors. It was a nice reminder that I need to get some gels/gummies for race day.
Also, Disney emailed to give me my final race day instructions. Just seeing that phrase in the subject line spooked me. I can't believe the race is just three weeks away. The sad part is I really haven't had any motivation to run since completing my 20 miler. But I need to suck it up, put on my shoes and get out there. I can't lose momentum now, especially with all the motivation and well wishes coming my way lately.
SUCCESS!!!! That is the word of the week. After two weeks of discomfort, pain and no running, I came back with three amazing training runs. More importantly, one of those runs was the big one - 20 miles. Yes, I completed my biggest training run to date. It was slow and took me almost 4 hours to complete, but I ran all 20 miles. No pain during and no soreness or stiffness the following day.
I am still in shock and awe of the accomplishment. This means training is essentially over. I still have to run a bit here and there, but nothing like I have been doing. Also, it reassured me that I can actually run this race. I needed that confidence boost. I was always doubtful about completing 26.2, but the injury made me doubt myself even more. Now, I know I will at least finish. I may not achieve my under 5 hour time goal. I may hit the wall and hate the last 6 miles. But again, I will run across that finish line.
Speaking of "the wall," I totally understand now why runners experience it. Once you get between miles 18-20 boredom sets in. The music on your iPod is no longer entertaining. The clarity in your head goes away and you start thinking "why am I doing this?" or "what else could I be doing right now?" The mental game then switches to coaxing yourself not to stop running. I just keep telling myself you'll get to the finish line quicker if you run instead of walk.
Thankfully after this week, I am kind of excited about the race. I am still a bit scared and nervous. I also can't believe it is just over three weeks away. But at least I can take comfort in the fact that I did everything I could to prepare, I will be there with my best friend and I have a lot of other friends and family who are supportive and know I can do this.
I think the tide may be starting to turn. I am beginning to get a little excited about the marathon again. Yesterday some motivation arrived in my inbox and mailbox.
First, I received an email asking me to print out my waiver. Sure, I have to basically sign my life away before running the race but it also included my bib number. Very exciting. I am #7742.
Then when I arrived home, I found this in my mailbox. It is my hotel reservations packet from Disney; complete with luggage tags for me and my running mate.
For some reason this has made it more real to me. Yes I have been training for 5 months and know I signed up for the race. But with my hip issues the last two weeks, I have found it difficult to be excited or positive about the whole thing. Now, I feel like this has invigorated me and given me some focus, which I needed. I want to get back to a steady running schedule and am pushing myself to kick butt on my 20 miler this week.
I am starting to believe, once again, that I can actually run this thing. Just four more weeks to 26.2.
10 miles. It doesn't sound like that big of an accomplishment. But to me, this week, 10 miles was a huge step in the right direction. I have not truly trained in two two weeks thanks to a hip issue. But on Saturday, I took a chance, put on my running shoes and hit the road. I probably should have run more than 10 miles, but it was really all my hip could handle and I didn't want to push it.
Now that I have a pretty decent long run under my belt, I feel like I could start training again. I am no longer scared or worried about running or doubtful that I can complete the marathon. I just need to focus and get back to the old routine. I am going to attempt my 20 miler this week. I have already put it off twice and with four weeks to go, I need to get it out of the way.
Also, I want to thank all my fellow marathon trainees and friends who have been so supportive over the past two weeks. I was really down and out and the encouraging words were extremely helpful.
I would love to start this post by saying... I'm back. But honestly, I can't say anything close to that. After a week of rest, my big return to training was flop. Sure, you could say I am being too hard on myself, but really I'm not. I could barely make it 8 miles this week. That is sad for someone who completed 18 miles just three weeks ago.
At this point, I have to say my confidence is a bit shattered. I am sad, angry, scared and worried my left hip will not heal in time to run the marathon. At first, I thought my injury was just an IT band issue, similar to what I experienced at the beginning of training. Back then, I just got some new shoes, a massage, did some extra stretches and I was back to normal after a few days rest. This time, I did all that and even took a week off, but it didn't help. My first 5 miler of the week was great. The second run should have been 8 miles, but I cut it to 5 because my legs felt heavy and the humidity was making it difficult for me to breathe properly. I figured, if anything, I could just make it up later in the week. Of course, I did not. I skipped the run because my hip still didn't feel quite right. Then came the weekend long run, which was a disaster. Everything started out ok. My new shoes felt great, my mindset was positive and happy, my body felt good... until mile 5. My hip started feeling a bit sore. I kept plugging along thinking it was just a fluke and I was just over analyzing every weird feeling because I was worried. But I had a reason to be concerned. When I stopped for a water/walking break at mile 8, I was in pain. My hip hurt, even when I was walking. So I decided the best thing to do was to quit while I was ahead and head home.
This whole week has just taken the wind out of my sails. Any bit of hope and positivity I had has been replaced with fear, sadness and sheer disappointment. I have taken my training for the race so seriously. I have put in all the time and hours to make sure I completed all my training runs, didn't push myself too hard and took care of my body. I honestly thought I was succeeding, but now this hip thing is keeping me from moving forward. Sure there are five weeks left until race day, but what if it doesn't heal soon? I still have a 20 miler to get in before the race. And what if I can't run the race because of the hip issue? I know there is no shame in walking. I planned to stop several times throughout the race for brief walks to give my legs/body a rest. There is no way I can run the 26.2 miles straight through. But I have trained way too hard to not be able to run and have to walk the entire thing. That would just be a huge disappointment. I have always said "one and done" when it comes to this marathon. I do not want to run another one of these... EVER. So to not be able to run this race to my full ability would break my heart.
I know I am being hard on myself and there is still time. I am just finding it difficult to think positive and have hope about all of this. My friends and family have been very supportive, trying to cheer me up and keep me positive, and I thank them for that. Hopefully, they know something I don't.