and a Third to Go

#52toNYCmarathon
Week 34/52 recap

5.3 miles EZ – 5 miles hills – 10 miles paced

Of the 52 weeks I am blogging about training for the NYC Marathon (#52toNYCmarathon) this one ended the first 2/3 started with a sore calf on my left leg. The final miles of last week’s 16 mile long run really aggravated it and it was still quite tender the next day. I was able to make it through most of my PT and core work with the exception of destabilized cone touches. It just started to aggravate my leg too much so I stopped.

If I could only have been sensible and stopped when I was hurting last year at this time. When I push hard for the sake of other people, family or team-mates, I have a hard time putting my needs first. Because of not balancing my activities and rest, my upper and lower back was completely seized up. I rarely felt problems when I was running but by July would occasionally have a seizing and tingling pain running from my lower back down my legs to the back of my knees. It was so jarring a few times that I had to stop running and walk home. Even that didn’t make me rest because of training for Ragnar Relay, I would head right back out the next day to make up the run. Back to back runs have always been very problematic for me.

The rest of this week I was super careful about my calf. I was able to do all of my scheduled workouts but kept hyper aware of my leg. When it acted up again after a run, I would baby it with first icing and ibuprofen then Epsom salt baths and massage. I realize training is a balance and I haven’t been so married to my prescribed schedule that I didn’t consider asking my coach to amend it. I send weekly emails to my coach, Angie Spencer of Marathon Training Academy, and she is great. She advised that if my calf was still painful for my long run to drop the pacing and just run it easy. It turned out to be fine and yesterday I pushed hard with no consequence.

Being flexible with what is going on in my life and balanced with my choices has been a good theme for the first 2/3 of my marathon training. So, just like this week, the first 2/3 were spent building back carefully.

I ditched alcohol consumption this past February and after 4 months have noticed that I can remember more dreams for the first time in years. I am going to assume that means I am sleeping better, more REM sleep. Not that all of my dreams are pleasant ones, actually about 50% of them are quite disturbing filled with poisonous spiders, untrustworthy strangers and sad moments. Even with the nightmare I had last night, I prefer remembering dreams than being numb and more frequently sleepless.

I think about what this last 1/3 of a year’s training will hold for me. If I look at the marathon course itself, 2/3 of the way will be almost mile 18 on First Avenue in Manhattan and I will hopefully be able to see Jim for the first time on the course. I will be getting a big boost seeing him, and hopefully, my “daughter-outlaw” Amy before the section of the marathon where it gets super tough. If ever a marathoner is going to “hit the wall”, bonk or just stop running, there is a strong chance it will be in the last 1/3 of the race. The Bronx is where it gets tough, mile 20 is just over the Willis Ave. Bridge that separates Manhattan from The Bronx.

If you look at a marathon purely mathematically, it is true that there aren’t 10 more miles after mile 20. The final 6.2 miles are very tough and require a strong mental focus so many call that distance the last 1/3. I approached my first, The Wineglass Marathon, that way and think it was a good strategy. I can remember passing under a highway near the 20 mile marker and thinking, “I have never run this far before, this is uncharted territory.” It was an exciting adventure but it also got really difficult as the miles went on.

So today I steel my resolve just as I will as I head across the Willis Ave. Bridge into the Bronx. The last third of training and the marathon are going to require some really tough work and sacrifice. I will have to play mental games with myself to keep going and to make wise choices. I will need to fuel properly and have faith that the work I have put in, the groundwork I have already laid, is solid and will see me through even when I want to quit. I will evaluate any pain or discomfort I am in, assess the immediacy and emergence of it and decide if it requires caring, casting aside or coping.

I hope to wear this shirt that I made. Jim helped with the awesome front design and I painted it front and back.

I hope to wear this shirt that I made. Jim helped with the awesome front design and I painted it front and back. If you choose to copy/use it yourself, please give us credit.©

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