I'm at that point in my training where I am down on myself. I am sore, frustrated about being sore, anxious about getting my runs in while sore, questioning my goals, and over-analyzing the whole bundle.
My left shin has been sore since last week's (awesome) tempo run and it's totally got in my head.
I took Monday off, and it felt better. Tuesday I ran 12 miles and it felt good, but got pretty sore that night. Today it was sore in the morning, but felt better by the afternoon. Right now it's ok (well, this exact second it's submerged in ice water, so it feels numb). That's the exciting play-by-play of how I feel. I am on freaking orange alert all the time monitoring how it feels. It's exhausting!! And what's funny is that it's not a bad pain. When it feels "not bad" it's a 2 on a scale of 1-10. When it is "bad" it's maybe a 4. I've had "9" pain and this is nothing like that. Why can't I just relax?!
This is a familiar pain that occurs every single time I run high mileage in training for a marathon. The predictability and familiarity is part of what annoys me so much. Why can't I just train for a marathon and feel good the whole time? Wait, that is ridiculous isn't it. Of course I'm sore! If it wasn't my shin, it would be something else.
In addition, I'm constantly adjusting and re-adjusting my schedule for the week and worrying about every single mile in my program. In addition, my confidence is all over the place- mostly I feel good but sometimes I fill with doubt. I think it's the doubt from the rest of my life overflowing into my running. The whole job thing, what am I doing with my life, etc.. It's just a lot going on in my head.
I did a good thing and reached out to my friends today. Maritza and I have been partners in running and best friends for a few years now and I needed her pep talk. I also talked to Aron who has been a great friend and training partner, even though we haven't exactly met yet. Both of them told me exactly what I needed to hear and I am now officially shutting down the pity party and moving on! Here are some of their very kind and supportive words:
Maritza: "You know what you have to do - you are a marathon ass-kicker and now you just have to run smart. I have no doubt in my mind that you can do it, that you've GOT this. Your motto until taper? A great run is a HEALTHY run!!!"
Aron said a lot of the same stuff and also emphasized how CLOSE we are to this race. There's not that many hard runs left! Maritza had this great analogy about how if my marathon training is a mountain, I'm already over the peak. That made me feel good! I know I've put in a lot of work and don't need to stress so much about what is happening this and next week.
Finally, Maritza told me that since I'm such a goal-oriented person, I should "sit down, re-evaluate your goals based around getting to race day healthy, make some lists and focus."
Ok, can I just say I love these girls? That was all so good to hear. So, following Maritza's advice, I am making a mental adjustment and shifting my focus to staying strong and healthy and arriving at the starting line in 4 weeks ready to race. Here's a soul-soothing list of my ideas of how to achieve that:
1. Keep an eye on the shin and any other pains, but keep a cool head about it. If it hurts very bad, skip a run. If it's minor pain, just accept it and go about my business. I am going to be fine.
2. Reflect positively on all the hard work I've put in so far- awesome long runs, fast tempo runs, big overall mileage, a strong half-marathon time. I rock!
3. Look forward to the final few weeks of training and the race. It's going to be tough, but the taper will work it's magic and I will rock the marathon!
4. Be healthy: eat healthy foods and moderate portions, avoid excessive alcohol, drink lots of water and tea, take my vitamins, wash my hands and be careful to avoid germs.
5. Baby my legs: do longer warm up and cool down walks, stretch thoroughly after each run, ice after every run and whenever else I feel like it.
I know I'm going to be fine and I know this kind of anxiety is normal. Writing all of this out made me feel even better. :) It is nice to know there is this community of runners who all know how I feel and I really appreciate all your support. Thanks for letting me vent! :)
Oh, and here's a quick run report:
8.0 miles/1:09:18/8:40 average pace
I decided not to do the interval workout as written and do an easier version instead. 6 x .25 miles with .25 mile recoveries. I felt good but held back a little on all the repeats, which came in consistently around 1:49. It was a good run overall.