Longview Half Marathon 2016

Last Saturday, I ran the Longview Half Marathon. I have a lot of thoughts to unpack on this race. It’s pretty overwhelming, to be honest.

First thought: amazing!

I woke up that morning and (no surprise) my first thought was on how much I really wanted to go back to bed. It wasn’t nerves – I really didn’t have nerves before this race. Just me questioning my sanity. But I did wake up, start dressing for the race, and texted a few people.

My mother drove me to the race. We left in plenty of time, but when we got to the location, the traffic was TERRIBLE. There was only one entrance to the race parking lot, and it was not too well managed. It took us 20 minutes to get parked. I slipped on my tutu and immediately went to the line for the porta potties, with 30 minutes before the race started.

The line at the porta potties was long and moved slowly. Probably not enough porta potties for this size of race. I listened as they counted the time on the nearby speakers – ten minutes to the start of the race, five minutes… At this point, I was thankful for chip timing. There was NO WAY I was going to start that race without going to the bathroom first.

I was sitting in the porta potty when I heard the air horn to start the race. Not ideal, for sure, but what was I gonna do? I finished up and hurried to the starting chute.

It was NOT an ideal way to start a race. Most of the runners had already started, and assorted people around me were yelling “hurry! hurry!” I was running through the chute while simultaneously pulling my armband onto my bicep, arranging my tutu/belts/shorts around my waist, and carrying my DIY sleeves. I had been planning to wear my wings, but in the rush I had no time to secure the wings (or take the very cool pre-race photo I was hoping to take!).

My tutu, by the way, was a HIT! I made it with a strip of elastic and three rolls of tulle, all purchased from Wal-mart for a little under $7. In addition to being adorable (I got lots of compliments!), it made it far easier for my spectators to see me coming!

The first couple of miles were kind of a disaster. My pace was a wreck. Between all the people who had been yelling at me to hurry and the rush through the starting chute, I knew I was going way too fast. I was arranging my tutu and two belts WHILE I ran, which is certainly not ideal. It took a full couple of miles to get everything fixed in a way that was comfortable.

I also had to pull on my sleeves – a pinterest win! Before the race I’d bought a pair of knee-high socks at Dollar Tree and cut out the toes and heels. I pulled the socks onto my arms, with my thumbs hanging out of the “heels” and my fingers hanging out the “toes”. I wound up leaving them on throughout the race. I was able to roll the socks up and down according to how warm or cool I was. They also served well when I needed to wipe sweat off my forehead or snot off my nose. For $1, I wasn’t worried about damaging or losing them (although I wound up bringing them home and I’ll be able to use them for another race). I really loved these!

During the earliest part of the race, I discovered that in my rush through the starting chute, I didn’t start my Nike+ app correctly. I was able to get it started, eventually, but as a result I was unable to log the first quarter-mile or so of the race.

My nose continued running like a faucet throughout the race. Every half-mile or so, I had to blow snot rockets. (Don’t worry, I always checked behind me before I blew!)

At every mile marker, I took out one of my applesauce packets and took a hit. This proved to be a perfect level of hydration and fueling for the race. I don’t ever remember being thirsty or eager to get to an aid station.

There was a mini “race within the race” after mile 2. We were timed going up a (pretty significant) hill, and the fastest runners were awarded “king/queen of the mountain” medals. Of course, I didn’t even try to be the fastest on the hill. I just focused on holding my pace and effort steady.

Thankfully that was the only real hill on the race. The rest of the course was pretty flat.

Around mile 4, that injury in my left foot began to flare up. Every time my foot hit the ground, I would feel a jolt of pain in the ball of my foot. I focused on landing on the outside of that foot, which helped significantly.

I was feeling strong. I can’t explain this well, but I my legs felt good. I had plenty of energy left. I felt so good that, around mile 5, I attempted to send a text message to my mother to tell her my pace and when she could expect me to cross the finish line. Between the bouncing motions of running and my phone being inside an armband, that never happened. I just could not get the words typed! Luckily it wasn’t too important.

Most of the run is a blur, especially from miles 5-11 or so. The effect of the long run was starting to wear my body down, and my mind became almost completely focused on running. I really can’t overstate the amount of mental energy that I devoted to keeping my mind in a good place for running. Most of my thoughts were some variation of “You’re doing great. Just keep running. Focus on this mile, on the here-and-now. You can do this.” and so forth. Whenever a thought crept into my mind of stopping – either just slowing to a walk or quitting the race entirely – I had to push it out. Mile after mile, I didn’t think about anything else.

In the latter portion of the race, my foot was really starting to throb. I couldn’t flex my foot inside my shoe without feeling a shot of pain. I had to be even more careful to land on the outside of my foot and not put pressure on the ball of my foot. My mind was completely empty of thoughts not directly related to running.

I found myself crying out periodically from the pain in my foot. If I forgot to run on the outside of my foot, or if I flexed my foot within my shoe, I got that awful jolt of pain – and it HURT! But it didn’t stop me.

I was pleasantly surprised, though, to discover that I wasn’t feeling a significant amount of pain in my hips or back. In past races, that was a problem, but this time I felt nothing more than a bit of soreness.

I could also feel a bit of chafing at this point, inside my thighs and on the bottom of my arms. Luckily it was not severe enough to change my stride.

Past mile 11, and especially past mile 12, I let go as much as possible. I knew this was my chance to throw out whatever energy I could find. I was running as hard as I could but, amusingly, felt like I wasn’t moving much faster.

Shortly before the 13 mile marker, I was surprised to see my mother. I’d expected her to be at the finish line, but due to the logistics of the race parking, she had decided to intercept me at that point. It was a good surprise, though, and I pushed hard through that last bit.

As I approached the finish line, I could see my best friend, Theresa, waiting beside the chute. I was so glad to see her! She hadn’t been sure if she would be able to make it, which I understood, but I was so encouraged to see her. It means a lot that she was able to make it.

With the finish line in sight, I was approached by a cute young park ranger, who asked me if I was his friend who’d had a cold. I was thoroughly confused (how does this stranger know I had a cold?) but I said yes, and Park Ranger told me he was going to run to the finish line with me. That proved to be especially helpful – with him running beside me, I was able to push even more, running as fast as I could to the finish.

(I found out later that Theresa had told him she was waiting for the girl in a tutu. Park Ranger had been drinking energy drinks all day, and told her he was going to cross the finish line with Tutu Girl.)

A volunteer cut the timing chip off my foot, another volunteer handed me a medal, and a third handed me a bottle of water. I was, and still am, overwhelmed. This was, by far, my strongest finish to race of this distance. I was tired, very tired, but I wasn’t completely spent. I didn’t throw up. I felt tired, but I felt good.

My final time was 3:29:47.2. Longer than I would have hoped, sure, but pretty doggone good considering the mess that was my training.

After the race, I knew I probably should text several friends who had been following my race and supporting my training, but I didn’t. I was tired, and too overwhelmed to deal with the emotions of contacting others. I’m still struggling to sort out how I feel.

When I napped after the race (or at least, attempted to nap!), my body HURT. It took at least two or three days for the soreness to disappear completely. I had no blisters, though, and other than some chafing in my thighs, arms, and around my sportsbra, I was injury free.

I know this race was exhausting, but as the amnesia of a successful race sets in, I’m starting to feel more and more ready to run a full marathon. I’d like to heal my foot, obviously, and I am unsure of how to handle fueling for distances longer than ~16 miles or so. The applesauce packets, while efficient, are slightly bulky, and I’d have to carry a lot with me to finish 26 miles. Maybe I need to switch to gels, although I still find the cost prohibitive.

The mental training proved to be at least as important as the physical training. I am amazed, and pleased, that I was able to hold my mind in a good place for over three hours.

I don’t know what my future holds in terms of training. The chafing on my legs is healing, so I’m sure I’ll be back to running soon. However, I probably need to incorporate more cross training or strength training. I don’t know what that will look like. Training for a full marathon will probably take quite a bit longer than training for a half, so I’ll need to organize my schedule better.

For now, though, I’m just focusing on how GOOD this feels. I’m ready for my next race now!

what a race!

I’m not even sure what to think at this point.

First there was the foot injury. Then there was the travel. Then, just to top things off, I got sick… a head cold that began as two days of a mild tickle in my throat followed by four days of coughing, sneezing, stuffy nose, laryngitis, and a horrible headache.

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Thanks to the stuffy nose, then the headaches, I haven’t slept well for nearly a week.

I’m excited by my costume for tomorrow’s race, and I’m excited by the opportunity to run. But I don’t even know what to think, and the race hasn’t even started yet!

Wish me luck!

Foot injury and traveling

*edit: I wrote this on Monday, hit publish, and walked away from my computer. I didn’t realize until today that it didn’t actually publish!*

*edit edit: maybe it did publish. I dunno. Too much stress!*

I’ve been a terrible blogger during this training season. I know there are several people who care about me and still read this, though, so let me try to catch you up.

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It’s been a rough one, to be honest. I have another half marathon, the Longview half, in a little under two weeks. Around late August or early September, I increased my mileage, replacing my 3.5-mile runs with 5 mile runs, in preparation for the race. At the time it made sense. I was pleased to see the spike in my weekly mileage.

Of course, it came back to bite me. My left foot began to ache, mildly at first, then much worse. Finally I realized this was not a normal tired-foot feeling, but an injury. 🙁 The pain was concentrated in the ball of my foot, where my big toe joins to the foot. With the help of Dr. Google, I think I have/had metatarsalgia. Thankfully, the treatment is simple – RICE (rest-ice-compression-elevation).

There are no words to describe how discouraged I was.

Instead of increasing my mileage, I had to cut wayyyy back. My runs became short and few. I would end my runs in tears, frustrated by the pain in my foot.

On top of that, I wound up traveling for most of the month of October. I drove to Boston to visit my sister, who lives there. It is very hard to maintain any kind of training schedule while traveling. I ran on a treadmill at every single hotel, every chance I got, but a two or three mile treadmill run just isn’t the same as an outdoor run!!

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Ironically, though, traveling and treadmill-ing was probably the best thing possible for me. That gave my foot a good chance to heal. It’s feeling much better, and I’m hoping the problem won’t flare up during the race.

Between injury and traveling, I haven’t had any really long runs – it’s been a few weeks since I’ve run more than three miles! I still feel strong, and barring a mid-race injury, I’m pretty confident that I will finish this upcoming half-marathon. Without the long runs, though, I will have to keep myself in a good place mentally throughout the run. I won’t have a recent memory of a solid long run to fall back on.

I’ve had to make some huge adjustments in my expectations, too. Finishing the race will be the easy part! I have to let go of my expectations of finishing within a certain time/pace, and that’s hard. I know it will be especially hard at the starting line, when I’m surrounded by runners. Experience has taught me that this is when I tend to push myself too hard – but I also know that this will be when it is most important for me to control my pace!

Less than two weeks, and I’m playing a very mental game. I’ll try to keep you updated!

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Shoe shopping is STRESSFUL!!!

And anyone who says otherwise is a liar!

Of course this summer has been pretty stressful, too. Running hasn’t gone well, overall. After the Independence half marathon in May, I allowed myself to slack off for a week or two… then I found myself traveling throughout June and July… life happened… and, well, I’m just getting back into the swing of things.

I signed up for the Longview Half Marathon on November 12. Why? I’m not sure. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I also found out about another half marathon, the Halloween Hustle Half, on October 30. It’s only a few blocks from my house… and doggonit, I’m tempted to sign up.

I’m struggling (a lot!) with core workouts. That knee injury from last April is much better, but still not totally healed, and I just don’t trust it for any kind of whole-body exercises like push-ups or planks. Obviously I don’t want to re-injure it! But I’m frustrated by all the exercises I CAN’T do right now.

 

Today I ran 5.23 miles. The weather was beautiful, and today’s run went well. I’m pleasantly sore and, surprisingly, was able to hold almost a 13:30 pace.

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As I’m getting back into running, my shoes have proven to be a big source of stress. I went through two pairs of shoes while I was training for and running the Independence Half Marathon, and those shoes are just pretty worn out at this point. Both pairs have at nearly 500 miles to their credit. I’ve certainly gotten my money’s worth out of them, but it’s time for new shoes.

At the beginning of summer, I bought these:

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Now, like I said, I didn’t run a whole lot during June and July. So when I was getting back into running, I tried out one of these pairs of shoes… and it was a NIGHTMARE. I don’t know if it was the shoes, or if it was because I was out of shape, or (most likely) some combination of those, but it was BAD.

I went back to one of my pairs of 500-mile shoes, and I’ve been using those quite happily while I figure out how I’m going to get new shoes. I have been agonizing over the decision. I want to find shoes that are comfortable and not too expensive, and I’m borderline-paranoid about getting another pair of bad shoes.

Today I bit the bullet and bought one pair. Buying these doggone shoes has caused me so much stress, and I knew I just had to do it. Fingers crossed that these shoes will work… though if they don’t, I’m giving myself permission to buy another pair!

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One last thought:

Long ago, I got into a habit of taking a selfie of myself every time I run. It’s sort of like proof to myself that I got out there and did it. It’s nothing fancy, something I do for myself. But lately I’ve been toying with the idea of posting these selfies on Instagram. Whad’ya think?

Independence Half Marathon recap: slow, steady, and a side of vomit

I’m fighting a bad case of the “shoulds” right now. In a couple of weeks, I’ll be celebrating my 6-year “runiversary”, and in my mind, I’m thinking: I should be faster by now. I should be able to run farther by now. I should not struggle as much as I do. I should’ve gotten a better time in the race. I should’ve held a bigger pace.

And, because a pity party is never complete without a double whammy: I shouldn’t feel bad that I don’t run as well as I want. I should just be thankful that I finished.

Nevermind that I hurt my knee and spent a third of the race vomiting. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The morning of the Independence Half Marathon, I was remarkably calm. I am so accustomed to having nerves before a race, but I was really pleased that my nerves were under control. Not that I wasn’t nervous – I was! – but I didn’t have that awful pit-in-my-stomach feeling!

I had a light breakfast before the race, just a slice of toast. I was honestly unsure of how to eat before this race, since I haven’t really done morning runs in my training. I didn’t want to eat too much beforehand.

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My mom drove me, though luckily we did not have to go far to get to this race. It was only a five minute drive from my home. The race was a nice size – large enough to have good support, but small enough to still feel intimate.

At the start of the race, I purposely positioned myself in the back of the pack. I fell in with the 2:50 pace group… but, I’m sorry to say, this was my first mistake. Now don’t get me wrong – Bailey, the pacer, was very nice, and I enjoyed running alongside her. But I pushed myself for the first half of the race – I should’ve run with the 3:00 pace group and saved my strength for the last half of the race. I also changed my fueling strategy on the fly. Big big mistake!

I chatted with Bailey and the pace group, and I enjoyed that. It’s nice to get to know her, and honestly, Bailey, I think you and I could be friends. The pace group had a run/walk strategy. For most of my training, I’ve trained by running nonstop and only walking for aid stations, though. This had a huge mental effect on me.

I received several text messages in the first few miles of the race. Since my phone was in my armband, I didn’t stop to read the messages, but I knew they were from friends who were cheering me on. Even my sister, who is halfway around the world right now, sent me messages of support!

I held a great pace for the first 10k of the race – about 12:40/mile, with that pace group. But that was also pushing my limits. Halfway through the race, around mile 6.5, the increased pace plus the change in fueling/hydration really hit me. I began to struggle, and I fell behind the 2:50 pace group. SUPER frustrating.

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That’s me, in the pink/purple jacket and shorts, center and left, running with Bailey the 2:50 pacer in the yellow shirt.

The funny thing is, as soon as I fell behind the pace group and began to focus only on my own pace (coming through my earbuds from my iphone), I also began to feel a little better. THIS was what I knew. This was how I had trained. Just me, focused on myself, cheering myself on. I wasn’t talking to anyone or getting distracted by other people or their paces.

I was very much aware that I had started too fast, and I was paying for it. I was angry with myself. I knew it was becoming more unlikely every second that I would reach my goal. I’d blown it, and that was totally on me.

At the same time, with the exhaustion setting in, I felt oddly accepting of my situation. I knew that I could only go as fast as my legs would move. If I couldn’t come in under 3:00, that was okay.

In fact, I wondered during this time if, maybe, I may just not be a sub-3:00 runner. I still wonder that. Maybe I’ll never finish a half in under 3:00. During the race, I could accept that.

I was taking water and gatorade from the aid stations. I’ve done this in my past half marathons without a problem. At mile 9, I walked through an aid station and drank a couple of glasses of water and gatorade, as I’d done at the other aid stations. Unfortunately, a few steps later, I realized that my body was not going to cooperate with this. I leaned over and threw up the water/gatorade, two or three times, until my stomach was empty. My first mid-run vomit – that’s gotta be some kind of milestone, right?

I kept moving. Of course, at this point, my pace was completely shot. My stomach was empty, but I was still periodically dry-heaving. I was dehydrated but I couldn’t keep anything down, including water. My total focus was on just moving forward, running when I could and walking when I couldn’t run.

Long runs like this bring out funny aches and pains. My left bicep felt sore, and my left butt-cheek was also feeling painful. My lower back was sore. My legs were exhausted. My feet hurt, but I wasn’t chafed.

About 13 miles into the race, with the finish line in sight, I saw my mother and my friend Theresa by the side of the road, cheering me on. That was a welcome sight and gave me enough push to keep running.

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I crossed the finish line, feeling much more exhausted than I’d hoped – but I crossed it! Mom and Theresa were waiting for me. I hugged them, but I saw a curb and sat myself down. My poor legs were begging for a break! Someone handed me a bottle of water, and I immediately took a couple of drinks to quench my dry mouth.

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After a few minutes, I decided that I felt good enough to stand again. However, once I stood, I immediately began to feel dizzy. I grabbed a nearby gate, to wait for the dizziness to pass. Unfortunately, I felt a telltale rumbling in my tummy, so I turned away from the gate… and threw up, again! Luckily I was too exhausted to feel embarrassed!!

I sat back down on the curb to wait for that feeling to pass. A really kind woman approached me and asked me if I would like her to go into Terra, the nearby health-food store, and get a bag of ice. I told her that yes, that would be nice, and she did. I don’t know who she is, but I hope she knows how much I appreciate her kindness!!

Mom and Theresa were watching me, and I was starting to feel well enough to feel a bit embarrassed. I was just sitting, and I felt bad that I wasn’t any more active for them! I really appreciated that they had come, but I didn’t feel good enough to express that!

After several minutes had passed, I tried standing again, and I felt MUCH better. My blood pressure had evened out a bit, so I wasn’t dizzy. I felt good enough to walk, albeit slowly, and to get a few more photos.

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We returned to the car, and Mom and I drove Theresa to her car. I insisted on getting out and giving Theresa a BIG hug before she left. I so appreciate that she came! She knows how important this race was to me, and it means a lot that she came out for it.

Mom brought me home, and I fell into a recliner. I was still quite dehydrated, and I hadn’t had any more to drink, for fear of throwing up again. At home, I sucked on some ice cubes, which seemed to rehydrate me at the right pace.

I was amazed by how tired my body was. There were several people I’d wanted to message, to tell the how I’d done in the race, but I was too tired to even lift my phone! I also was still waiting for my official race time.

I began shivering from the ice cubes, plus the chill of evaporating sweat. I took that as my cue to take a shower, followed by a nap. I didn’t eat much, just in case my stomach wasn’t ready for it.

I slept for several hours in the late morning/afternoon, and finally got my race time in the evening: 3:13:48.

I’m struggling to accept that time. It’s not what I hoped. I hurt my knee and I vomited/dry-heaved for an hour. There’s no way I could have performed at top capacity. But I’m embarrassed to admit, I don’t feel good about that time. I wish I’d done better.

I don’t know yet what to do with this.

ready? Maybe…

T minus 3 days to my race.

I have been feeling oddly relaxed about it. It doesn’t even seem real. That’s a good thing, though – anything that decreases my anxiety is good. I suppose it helps that I’ve had oodles of work this week, and a big deadline. I haven’t had much space in my head to think about the race.


I ran on Tuesday, 3.7 miles, and had a really surprisingly strong pace. I planned to run on Wednesday, but a storm prevented that run. I decided maybe that’s a good thing, because I can focus on that strong 3.7 miles. I’m at a point where there’s absolutely nothing I can do to improve my race. My body is as strong as it will be, and it’s strong enough.

As long as I do not get injured again, I’m confident that I will finish the race, and I do not think that’s likely (knock on wood). My knee has plenty of range-of-motion to run. It still hurts if try to bend it beyond 45 degrees or so – an extreme bend, like if I was to sit on my heels – but I don’t plan to do that during the race, of course! I still have a funny feeling like I’ve got a knot in the top of my calf muscle, just below the knee, but I can’t get it out with the foam roller. In fact, my legs feel a bit tired when I’m resting. But that feeling goes away when I run.

Tonight, I drove my race route – something I have never before been able to do! I’ve trained on several parts of this race route before, so I’m familiar with these roads. It’s a beautiful area, very flat. It should be a fantastic race.

Now, as I am constantly reminding myself- I am ready. I am familiar with this race route. I know I am strong enough.

healing an injury and prepping for the race

Oh, my knee… the cause of so much frustration this week…

My knee is feeling a LOT better overall. It’s not totally healed – it still hurts (A LOT) when I bend it too far. In fact, I’m a little concerned about re-injuring it due to absent mindedness. I frequently forget about my inured knee and try to kneel or bend in some habitual way – I am quickly reminded of my injury! But I have sufficient range of motion for running, and I can mostly walk without a limp.

I ran twice last week… 

  
3.7 miles on Wednesday…
  
…and 5.1 miles on Saturday. 

I was cautious about running any more than that, though. Another injury would be catastrophic right now. Running was doable… but my knee/leg felt TIRED afterward. Thanks to my very generous friend Theresa, who took me to her gym, I was able to incorporate two or three sessions on a stationary bike – low impact, that felt good.

  
I ran 3.75 miles today, which went surprisingly well. The first mile or mile and a half was tough. My knee felt just a little bit achy, and I was frustrated. It was hard to get into the run. But the last couple miles were fantastic! At some point, my knee stopped aching, and I was able to just run. I slipped into that “zen zone”. Near the end of the run, it finally dawned on me that my knee had stopped aching.

Of course, after the run and shower, my knee felt a bit achy again. That’s okay, though, as long as my knee is okay with running. I finally feel like I’m getting better.

I’m pretty insanely nervous about my upcoming race, and not being able to run as much isn’t helping. When I’m not running as frequently, it feels like it’s more of a mental struggle to push myself to run. It’s one more challenge in the mental game. It’s strange, because I know that running twice a week is still a pretty good amount of running, and I should be feeling good about that.

Of course, with my injured knee, I’m running slower than I would like. That’s indirectly due to self preservation (I don’t want to push myself and gain another injury) and directly due to the injury (my knee feels good enough to run, but I can still feel a tiny bit of discomfort and just can’t push myself as much as I would like).

I know that, come race day, I will have to adjust my mental expectations. Pre-injury, I ran 8 or 10 miles at up to a 12:42 pace – that would be fast enough to do a half marathon in 2:46:29! Phenomenally mind blowing fast! But with my knee, I just do not expect that I will be able to do that. I’m focusing on 13:43, the benchmark I’ve held since I signed up for this race. 13:43 is the pace to finish in 3 hours. Under 3 hours is still an amazing pace, still a great PR, and, I’m afraid, still going to challenge me.

For now, I’m just focusing on this race. Ice my knee, rehab, and be ready for a great race… regardless of my pace or time.

injured but improving

The good news is, it’s better than it was.

The bad news is, it’s still not where I want it to be.

Saturday night was pretty rough. I was only comfortable with my right knee slightly bent. It hurt to fully extend my leg, and it REALLY hurt to bend my knee more than about 90 degrees. I could only rest when I was on my side, but even that wasn’t totally comfortable because I couldn’t easily move. I didn’t get much sleep that night.

I was exhausted on Sunday morning due to my lack of sleep. I could put weight on my leg, but I could only walk with a limp. It was difficult and frustrating to move.

On Sunday afternoon, I took an ibuprofen and went back to bed. Surprisingly, I slept hard and had a great 3-hour nap.

As I lay in bed that night, I was surprised to realize that I was laying on my back, comfortably, with my leg extended. That was my first clue that I was improving ever-so-slightly.

Today, I skipped my run. My knee feels better, but still not 100%. I can straighten my knee, and I can bend my knee farther, although there’s a point (around 45 degrees) where it still hurts quite a bit. I’ll take another day to rest, but on Wednesday I might consider a short run.

Truthfully, I am reasonably confident that I’ll be in good shape by the time my race rolls around. I’m just overwhelmed with race anxieties! 🙂 Even though I know my body will be in good shape, and even though I’m confident that I can finish 13.1 miles, I want to improve on my previous times. I want to finish 13.1 miles in less than 3 hours. I want to feel strong the entire time. I’m not confident about that!

I keep trying to squeeze in a really good long (12 miles or so) run before my race, and I keep getting sidelined by one thing or another – weather, injuries, you name it. I’m (still) extremely tempted to run that long distance next weekend, but I’m also very much aware that I have a highly increased risk of (re-)injury, and a more severe injury could prevent me from running the race entirely. It’s a huge risk. I don’t like it, but I don’t know if I have a choice!

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I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later.

Today, I planned to go for a 12-mile run, my last long run before my big race. Didn’t quite work out that way! After about 3.5 miles, I fell pretty hard, and managed to tweak my right knee.

I’m still not exactly sure what I did. I wasn’t surprised when my knee hurt a little bit after my run. I WAS surprised when it didn’t stop hurting. I was honestly expecting to bounce back up, dust myself off, and resume my run. Instead, I lay on the ground holding my knee and figuring out what I was going to do.

 

my sunglasses didn’t survive the fall. i would be upset, but i never pay more than $1 or $2 for sunglasses and i’ve had these for two years. time for a new pair!

About this time, I found myself surrounded by three individuals, one woman and two men. They were extremely concerned.  I figured out that they had been driving by, saw me laying on the ground, and stopped to see if I was okay. I never did get their names, but I definitely want to thank them for stopping. It’s nice to see a bit of kindness in the world.

The pain had let up significantly, and my knee wasn’t swelling. My knee was stiff, but it was bearable. I seriously, seriously considered resuming my run, or at least trying. 3.5 miles is such a short distance! And I’m feeling so unprepared for my upcoming race!

 

sitting in the grass, pondering the severity of my knee injury

Reluctantly, I decided to quit. If my knee was really injured, I needed to focus on getting it ready to run again before the race. I knew I needed an ice pack. So I called my mother and asked her to come get me.

 

icing my knee

Did I mention I was reluctant? The weather was great today. And I really, really want to prove to myself that I can run long before the race.

As far as injuries go, I do think I lucked out. My knee is now very stiff and tender, and it hurts to bend it, but overall I think it isn’t too bad. There’s almost no swelling or bruising. It probably won’t take long to heal, and truth be told, I feel bad complaining about it. I don’t think it’s wise to run on it right now, but at the same time I feel like it barely qualifies as an injury.

With the race only four weeks away, my anxiety is really starting to build. Why am I doing this again?!?!