Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Just let me be mad, ok!" (28 days til the marathon)

I am in a good 'ol fashioned bad mood. It makes me laugh when I think back to the first week of "training" about a month ago and I was happy and excited about running a marathon. Now I want to spit on my running shoes, scream at my shins, and get fat on potato chips. Ugh - people warned me that my happy-go-lucky attitude would leave but I didn't believe them. It was probably the stupid "runners' high." (Can you hear my bad mood seeping out of this blog?)

It all started on Thursday when the sun was shining and I heard a new kind of bird. I heard the song of a pretty bird out my window and as I sang a little song in my head (la, la, la) I thought to myself, 'Ahhh...spring is on the way.' Sound happy? Well, I was. I rode my bike to the gym and by the time I left, only an hour later, it was puking snow out of the sky, blowing horizontal to the ground, and the temperature had plumetted. I stepped outside in my sandals and literally said, out loud so everyone could hear me, "Are you frickin KIDDING ME!" Had I jinxed spring only several hours earlier? (I think that was a bird from hell, sent from Satan to trick me.) So then my glorious evening was spent studying in the library, for FOUR hours, with a total of three other people in the whole building.

The next day I decided to ditch the books, ditch the training, and head out to the ski resort for one last weekend. First run down....injury. My shin splints, which had gotten so much better, were throbbing and I could barely make it down. I just wanted to cry I was so angry. I was upset at the weather, at the end of school workload, at this "stupid" marathon, (that was the word I used at the time,) and the fact that I couldn't enjoy the last weekend of skiing with friends. So I went home early and went on a miserable run. I called mom to complain but she didn't want to listen. "Mom! Just let me be mad, ok?" What a Friday.

And that brings us to today. The sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky, and every person I knew was up at the resort for a beautiful blue-bird day...except me. I wrapped my legs, went and bought some energy gel crap, and went for a run. Oh god, have you ever tasted those gel packets? It's like eating glue. But maybe it worked because I got a good 45 minutes in and felt great. I even ended the day by lounging in the front yard in the sun.

All in all, things could be worse. I just needed to whine a little bit so you don't think I'm actually excelling at this training thing. I have 28 days to train and 26.2 miles to master. Within that time I have to finish a 20 page final, finish my 65 page thesis, defend my research, graduate, move out of the house, and find a job in Minneapolis. Oh yeah, and consume a lot of energy gel packets. I think I'm going to need a lot more than "gu" to get me through these next three weeks.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 1 of Re-Training (34 days until race day)

Back on the saddle! Well, let's just say the saddle's a little loose and I wouldn't want to jump over any fences quite yet. If you got lost in that metaphor, what I mean to say is that I'm feeling a lot better but still not "race day" better.

It's been twelve days since I stopped running and I am back at square one. I have asked lots of questions, researched, and listened to far too many opinions, but all I learned is that my body will tell me when it's time to run again, not anyone else. Last week I got my second X-ray of my whole life to determine if I had stress fractures or not. Good news - no fractures! So I kept off the pavement for awhile and started cross-training like crazy. I was running on the elliptical (borrring,) biking on the stationary bikes, and boxing twice a week. Yep, I am in Pink Gloves boxing. It is the most amazing feeling to work so hard you feel like you're going to throw up and then walk into the center and punch the trainer's gloves as hard as you can until you can't lift your arms. So with countless mountain climbers, push-ups, high knees, and jump roping sessions, I feel like I didn't lose a lot of cardio. Now I just need to cut back on the beer and pizza and I should be good to go!

But oh my god...34 days? Are you kidding me! Within those 34 days I have to finish two papers for school, ski the last weekend of Big Sky resort, defend my graduate thesis, actually graduate, plan a going away party, pack up the apartment, and move back to the midwest. Oh yeah, not to mention train for a full marathon. Whew, let's see if I survive this thing!

Day one of re-training....34 to go.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

45 days until race day: Injury

Day 12 of training, 45 days to go.

I was kidding myself if I really thought I would stay motivated until race day. Let's just be honest, I am miserable. Sore, cold to the bone, shin-splinnting miserable. Last Friday I went on a nine mile run - nine miles! - but that was the peak. I took the weekend off (as a reward?) and traveled three hours to visit breweries and bar hop, leaving a trail of motivation behind each pint glass. Bad choice.

Monday was a day of misery. A northern wind whipped through the city with sudden gusts and bouts of rain. I was torn between knowing I should train, and a feeling of dread emerging out of the storm clouds. The black clouds hung like a devil on my shoulder, whispering to me, "No, you don't want to run, why would you want to run in this rain?" But my bright white, pretty shoes were singing, "Frolic! Let's run a marathon!" Who knew that training for a race would be a dichotomous battle between good and evil?

So I ran, but I regretted it. I have no shame in saying the devil won that battle. I had to cut it short because of severe shin splints and shooting pain in my legs. I hobbled home, knowing I was defeated.

Tuesday was even worse. I told myself, quit being a baby and get running! I had such a great run on Friday, only four days earlier, so maybe the pain was mental. Woah - was I wrong. Each step sent pain shooting through my bones and into my back. My feet were going numb. I had to grit my teeth to stop my eyes from watering. I started limping at 2.5 miles and had three miles until home. It was 30 degrees outside and the wind whipped my bare legs and arms. Shivering, cursing this stupid goal, I limped three miles home with the cold rain hitting my skin and my shins screaming at me. 

Success? Hardly. I would love to say that I am learning how to run in miserable conditions, and learning how to push through when I'm tired, but that is far from the truth. I am in so much pain that I can't even run. So what am I learning here? I'm learning to keep the fridge stocked with beer and make sure the peas and carrots are frozen when I get home so I can ice my legs. This week I am going to switch to biking and the elliptical (yuck) and, hopefully, let my shins heal. This whole running thing is new to me so I'm not sure exactly what I am supposed to do. I am open to suggestions of any kind.

45 days to go...will I ever make it?