I can’t tell you how relieved I am this evening. I have finally had a really good week of running, my first in a while. Maybe my first since Victoria in June.
Let me clarify: I’ve had some “Not Terrible” weeks since June, but summer in South Carolina renders much else pretty much impossible. Amsterdam was a good week, but it was counterbalanced with treadmlll miles plus the ass-kicking of jet lag. The rest of the summer was hard because it was hot and humid. After a few weeks, the body acclimates to hot and humid, but that simply means that hot & humid suck less, not that they’re pleasant.
This week was a good week. A really good week. My hip, which has been bothering me a good bit the last couple of weeks seems to have turned a corner. I’m not sure when, and I’m not sure how, but I’m really relieved. It still gets a little tight from time to time, but nothing like it was three weeks ago.
It also didn’t hurt that today was the first day that really felt like fall. It was 50 degrees this morning. 50. It was also really windy, but I was so glad to be cold for a change that I really didn’t care about the wind even when it was full on in my face. I ran 18 miles today, and today was the first time a long time–like since January 2015–that running 18 miles felt fine. I felt like I could keep going if I wanted or needed too. I felt, again, for the first time this training cycle, like this marathon that I’ve been training for since July might actually happen. And not only might it actually happen, but it might actually go well. My goal might not be so crazy after all. As I said, it felt like turning a corner.
That was a corner that I needed to turn. I didn’t know how very much I needed it until it had happened. My confidence has been foundering these last several weeks. I haven’t talked about it, but I was starting to wonder whether the marathon might be a bad idea, whether my goal time was ridiculous. Whether I would even make it to the end of the training cycle and be able to line up at the start. Even when my long runs weren’t utterly terrible and demoralizing, they were hard. Much harder than I remember from previous training cycles.
I’ve tried to remind myself that the training program I’m following is really hard. Hansons’ plans aren’t for the weak at heart. Even the beginner plan isn’t really intended for a true novice. My plan is not a beginner plan. I’ve been working with my coach for almost 3 years now, and I trust her. I knew that the plan we put together would stretch me past my comfort zone. I knew that it would be a challenge. I knew that I would eventually be running 60 mile weeks and trying to tackle some difficult workouts. I knew that 20 weeks is on the longer side of training cycles. I knew that starting all of this in July would suck. I knew that while the temperatures would get better once the semester was underway, I would also be much busier. I knew that qualifying for Boston is a ridiculously hard thing to do (and it got harder this year with the cutoff to get into the race being more than 3 minutes faster than the qualifying time). I knew all of these things intellectually. I also knew that my coach thought that I could handle it, and I thought that maybe I could handle it too. I knew that I wanted to try.
But there’s knowing, and then there’s knowing.
For the record, I know that too, but I’m learning it again these twenty weeks leading up to Richmond, and as is typical, I’m learning it the hard way.
But this was a really good week. I made it out to the Cottonwood trail a couple times, which is good for my joints generally but also seemed to be good for my hip in particular. I hit my paces on the Tuesday & Thursday hard workouts and didn’t feel like dying afterwards. And today. Today, I ran 18 miles and felt really good pretty much the whole time, even with the wind, even with the hills. It helped that I did better with fueling today. I’m sure that it also didn’t hurt that the Ragweed seems to finally be dying down, and not a second too soon.
I tried to take an ice bath today after my run. For the record, all of the ice in my freezer, plus another bag from the grocery store, plus a whole lot of too-old frozen salmon filets didn’t really work for an ice bath. It was chilly, and hopefully that was not a complete waste of 15 minutes, but it was nowhere near icy. I will try this again next week, minus the salmon and with a second bag of ice. Possibly a third.
The run down for the week:
M: easy 6 Cottonwood
T: 3x 2 miles at 8:13/mile with 2 warm up and 2 cool down
T: 8 miles at 8:23/mile with 2 warm up and 2 cool down
F: 6 cottonwood
S: 6 Duncan Park
Sun: 18 Pretty much everywhere in Spartanburg.
So it’s wheels up for the next 41 day. Now is not the time to flinch.
[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Glenn Beltz]