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Mar 23 / Jane

NJM Training Week 13 of 18

It’s no secret my marathon training has not been great.  Illness, injury and bad weather plagued the early weeks of training. At the beginning of March, Alex and I made the move to rejoin the YMCA.   Since then, I’ve been at least twice a week to use the treadmill on cold, snowy, and rainy days (I also started taking a Kick and Sculpt class on Wednesdays).  What it’s done most of all, is bring consistency to my runs.  I’ve been able to run at a designated pace, 4 days per week as my training plan indicates.  Unfortunately, I was still having problems with my long runs.

On February 15th, I completed a 15 mile long run.  Every week since then has been cut short due to knee pain and fatigue. It was so frustrating and discouraging.  But I wasn’t ready to give up yet.  I committed myself to a 16 mile long run with a new running group this weekend and trained smart, completing three easy 5mi runs this week (two on the treadmill).  Of course, on Friday I come to find out this group run I was planning for Saturday was actually happening on Sunday.  Ugh.  I had already plans for Sunday and needed to complete my long run on Saturday.  So I mapped a solo route with options from 16 to 18 miles.  16 was what I hoped to complete after only several slow 14 milers, but 18 was on my training schedule.

Planning on the full 18 miles, I re-taped my foot and tried a new method on my knee.  I planned my outfit and fuel: it was the first long run of training with my fuel belt, and I filled one bottle with water and one with coconut water; I also made sure to have enough Clif Shot Bloks (one every 3-4mi) and Salt Sticks (one every hour).   I set out other essentials: house key, phone, lip balm, tissues, breakfast…

Then, I set my alarm for Saturday and was up before it went off.  I took all precautions against knee pain, a dose of ibuprofen and Tiger Balm on the affected area. I was out the door on time (8am) with a new audiobook on my ipod (War Horse by Michael Morpurgo).  It was in the low 40’s when I started out, warming up to 65 by mid-day (yay spring!).  I had sporadic sunshine and increasing wind as my run went on…  But after the first few miles, I knew I’d be able to finish this long run.  I feel like I had a good attitude going into this run and I was prepared to get it done.

I had some soreness in my knee, but not pain.  I think the new taping technique is significantly better and I benefitted from the anti-inflammatory and Tiger Balm.  The weather was nice, finally feeling like spring.  There also was not much traffic out in the township.  I ran out to our CSA, Honey Brook, then past a horse farm where they were carting on two tracks. I paused at the farm (10mi in) to text Alex how it was going (REALLY good) so he wouldn’t worry about having to come rescue me at some point.  😉  Sally, my friend and virtual training buddy, also had sent me a good-luck text, so I checked in with her and wished her the best on her run.  (I did wish you well, didn’t I? I did mean to if I didn’t, I was so on Cloud 9 from a finally-good long run!) The last 8 miles were very windy, I couldn’t keep my headphones in, but it was not as windy as it’s been the past couple weeks.  And while the book is very sweet (and sad!), I was ready to just take in the run without the distraction of Joey’s adventure.

I finished my run with gas in the tank: I could have kept going!  18 miles in 3:09, a 10:30 pace.  Incredible.  My final mile was 9:40.  I don’t know if I could have done 8.2 more miles at that average pace, but I felt like if it would have been race day, I would have gotten through it with a smile on my face.  Honestly, I felt like a Rockstar.  FINALLY a good week of training!  I ran all the miles scheduled for the week and felt good about them, really good.

I hope this is the turning point in training I’ve been waiting for.  This coming weekend is the Philadelphia Stair Climb on Saturday, then the Love Run Half Marathon (with Sally!) on Sunday.  The following week is the culminating 20 miler, the final “long run” before TAPER.  And then we’re exactly 3 weeks from Race Day.  I’m floored with how quickly this training has gone by.  I’m also really looking forward to the next couple weeks; I’m looking forward to making a full recovery from injury, bad weather, and bad runs.

Whole and Happy.

Harness racing horses.

As seen on my long run route.

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