Okay, so Week 4 is in full swing…8 miles down, 11 to go. And doubts are creeping in, despite the fact that I’m totally on target, JUST got off a 5-mile run in which I did NO walking, and basically have no reason to worry. Why? Runner’s World is telling me I’m crazy to be doing this.
For starters, let me tell you about the havoc that was (not) wreaked upon my running schedule this week.
I did a 3-miler on Monday. No sweat. As it should be.
Then…yesterday (Tuesday) was the first day of school. And, of course, I wore brand-spankin’-new fabulous-looking heels with a brand-new outfit…’cause, you know, it’s the first day of school, and, as my brother puts it, you “gotta come correct.” Two trips between my car and my classroom and I’m hobbling. By 0715…before school even started…I was pulling off the new heels and putting on the backup pair (old, tried, true, and thank GOD I put them in my bag just before I left home) and staring at the open blisters I’d ALREADY gotten on the inside of both heels! By the time I got home in the afternoon, I discovered a THIRD, puffy and full of fluid, on the outside of my right pinkie toe!
HOW WAS I GONNA RUN 5 MILES WITH THESE???
It wrecked my whole evening. I spent an hour on the couch in agonized indecision. It seems comical now, but I was truly stymied. Do I pop it? What about the ones that already popped? Will they get infected? Should I go get the pedicure I didn’t get this weekend? Will that make it better? Or worse? Will I miss training runs? Will I be sidelined for days? A week? Am I roadkill? Will this wreck my training program? Destroy my marathon hopes? And for God’s sake, what on earth am I going to wear on my feet for the rest of the first week of school to go with all the fabulous new outfits I had in store?? I am OUT of COMMISSION!! Catastrophe!! What’ll I doooo???
It took me a good hour or more to get hold of myself and regain a grip on the situation. It was my mid-length run. It didn’t matter whether I ran on Tuesday or Wednesday. Monday was a 3, Thursday is a 3. It was a matter of deciding whether to do Mon/Tues back-to-back, or Wed/Thurs. I figured, easier to do short/mid, then have Wednesday to rest before running again Thursday. But the truth is, it didn’t matter. Putting the 5 off till Wednesday wasn’t going to affect the big picture at all.
I decided to let the blisters rest a day. Went to Rite-Aid at 9pm and bought three (yes, three) different blister-remedy-systems (one of which was actually for corns, but at this point, I was still a bit desperate). Tried two of the three (not the corn one). Have had big (substandard-Compeed-like) blister patches on both heels since last night…they worked like a dream…and strips of moleskin around the pinkie blister that I popped this morning.
And this evening, when I did my 5 (in 56:20, solid 11ish pace, no walking)…they gave me absolutely no trouble at all.
Much ado about nothing.
Breathe, Christine. It turned out fine.
So…why the extreme freak-out? Because of what I read yesterday afternoon in my terrified I’m-gonna-miss-a-mid-run-and-wreck-my-schedule state…articles linked through Couch to 5K‘s Facebook page, and written by people who write for Runner’s World.
One of them was called Ten Things Runners Do To Mess Up Their Workouts. My sins were #7 (Going Solo) and probably #6 (Aiming Too High)…though I get gold stars for getting adequate rest periods between runs and telling myself “I can.” The other one was Five Training Don’ts For Beginning Runners. On this one, I violated #4: Don’t race. And don’t even think about running a marathon. Not yet. You’re learning how to run, and you’re conditioning your body. Racing is for runners who already know how to run and are ready to test their bodies. If you must run a race, look for a low-key 5K (3.1 miles) and consider walking part of it.
But I’ve already done that….
Am I no longer a beginning runner? After all, I did just run 5 miles straight, without walking…for only the second time, but the second time nonetheless. And the Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer swears over 200 people (at the time the book was first published, 20 years ago) of all ages and ability levels were able to start (AND FINISH) this program once they’d gotten to the point where they could reliably run 30 miles without stopping.
Soooo…am I crazy? Or is this Runner’s World guy wrong? I mean…two years ago, having never gone hiking, let alone backpacking, I bought a pack and flew solo to another continent to spend a month hiking 500 miles. Given that, is it out of character for me to register for a marathon, just two weeks after I ran my first nonstop mile? Or was I just lucky on the Camino, and revisiting that kind of rashness is ridiculous, foolish, and possibly dangerous hubris? Did it teach me the wrong lesson? Am I tough, capable, determined, and fully able to do this? Or should I listen to this article guy and tell myself it’ll have to wait?
See…the thing is…once Abbey gave me this training book…one designed for people like me, people at the same stage of their athletic journey as I am…I couldn’t think of any good reason why I shouldn’t be able to do what all those people had done. The only thing working against me was that I had no one who was willing to undertake it with me. But two years ago, I had no one who wanted to do the Camino with me, either. And there’s lots of other things I like to do that I’ve had to decide to either do alone or not do at all. And I’m not willing to sit on the sidelines just because I don’t have anyone to play with. That’s a victim’s mindset. So…if the only difference between me and those people in the book is COMPANY…well, then I’m going to have to be just a little bit tougher than they were, I guess. And cross my fingers and hope people are still reading, and that they’ll respond and cheer me on.
So I hate to thumb my nose at Runner’s World, for cryin’ out loud…but I’m sorry…I have marathoner friends who tell me I CAN do this, and I have FIFTY training miles logged to date, and I have A THOUSAND DOLLARS to raise for the kids at St. Jude, and so…
Forget you, Jeff Galloway…I’m running this marathon.