I wanted to curl up in the fetal position after 8.1 miles. That’s my longest run so far and in a month, I’ll be doing 13.1.
Honestly, the thought of doing 5 more miles is painful. 8 miles? Nearly killed me and I almost never want to do it again. It’s not that I couldn’t do it–I could. My stamina was there, my mind was on course, but my body? Every joint ached. I had to stop every ten minutes and massage my knees because they were hurting so much. This is pretty normal on my 6 or 7 mile runs. My left knee will hurt off and on but I put up with it because at least it’s not my IT band that hurts, it’s just a dull ache this time. (A couple months ago I hurt my IT band and it involved me walking down a hill crying in agony. My goal: never to repeat that again.) Last night, around mile 7.3, my ankles started to hurt. Then my hips joined in on the fun. When my joints ache like this, I wonder if I can make it 13.1 miles, or if my body will just shut down on me.
Half marathon training has been a lot harder than I thought it would be. It’s not like I thought it would be a walk in the park. I’m not that stupid, but I didn’t think that I would run into as much joint pain as I have. I ran the Bolder Boulder twice and both with very little training involved. Certainly no pain, outside of muscle soreness, and I breezed through the 6.3 mile course feeling like a rockstar.
The more miles I add on to my runs, the less rock star I feel and the more old I feel. I start wondering if I just started this running game too late. Maybe if I’d been running since I was 16, 20, 24…maybe then I’d be better suited for this. My knees scream at me, reminding me of how inactive I’ve been my entire life. I feel great after the runs, and usually the pain only lasts as long as I’m running (today is a different story. Just call me Gimpy McGimperson). I almost feel invincible but every run something new hurts: ankle, foot, hips…pains I’ve never experienced before.
I’ve thought maybe it’s the shoes. I got new shoes back in June and ever since have experienced problem, after problem, after problem. It’s almost enough to send me back to my eight year old shoes that everyone yells at me for keeping and using for so long. But I’m stubborn and I’m sticking with my new shoes. Sometimes, I’m fine. My joints don’t scream out in pain and I can run the 7 miles no problem. Other days I want to cry it hurts so damn much.
I’m not following a training plan, which I probably should be. My schedule is so all over the place every week that it’s hard to really commit to a schedule. Last week, for example, I worked 11 hour days and the last thing I wanted to do was run. I did run one of the days but not getting home until 9:15 at night was hard. JUST SUCK IT UP! you might say. I clearly did not.
Then there’s the mental aspect. Some weeks I am a rockstar; I’m excited to be out running, I can run for miles and miles and I feel on top of the world and really good about my training. I can do this! I exclaimed two weeks ago. It was the first time I felt like I could do this half marathon. But there are off weeks too (I’m not talking just one run, but entire weeks full of runs), where I feel like every half-mile is a monumental effort and didn’t I just run seven miles? Why is two so goddamn hard? It’s these weeks where I think that there’s no way I’m going to be able to do this half marathon. The mental part is definitely the hardest to compete with. I’m not just battling my pain, I’m battling the constant internal monologue that is telling me oh, just go sit on that bench. Take a break. You can do seven miles tomorrow.
I’ve been told that I don’t have to do the half marathon, that I can just back out and no one would think any less of me. But I put this goal upon myself, I placed this challenge in my head and I want to meet it. I, for once, want to do something that I didn’t believe possible for me to do.
I want to prove to myself that I can do this.
September 14th. It is on.