Day 100 of 112-#readytodecimate
Wowza! What a week! I’m currently in Oklahoma City with my dad to watch the 2012 Women’s College World Series Softball Championships. My training schedule has been turned upside down, and with 12 days left to the marathon, I emotionally fluctuate between the utmost confidence of meeting my marathon goals and “But what if….”
But let’s back up.
Last Tuesday was our typical track workout-typical in that we rocked it!!!
Since I’m nearing middle age (if I’m not already there) and since it’s been 7 days since this track workout out, and since the daily temps in Oklahoma City are in the 90s, and since I spent 8 hours in the Oklahoma University Medical Center emergency room with my dad yesterday, things are a little hazy right now. But what I clearly remember from this workout is when one of the marathon runners we were talking to during a break (women who are 20 years older than us and who have run a TON of marathons) said, “The first marathon is your best. You never forget it.” And this was so great because it was exactly what Christy needed to hear at that exact moment. Well played Mayans (this is one of my new favorite catch phrases).
Wednesday we went swimming, and I felt inundated with “signs.” First of all, Christy bought a new bathing suit and we weren’t twins any longer. (Is she pulling away from me?) Secondly, we started off swimming in different lanes-and that hasn’t happened once during the training (Are we pulling away from each other?). And thirdly, since I was dealing with all of these signs I mentioned to Christy what was probably the worst one of all-I arrived home last Monday night from my Memorial Day weekend Up North to find that the ceiling fan had knocked down the Ann Arbor Marathon poster in the office and it was lying in the trash can. Oh, how did the swim go? I don’t even remember. Clearly it was overshadowed by all the signs.
Later that day I got on a plane with my dad for Oklahoma. We would watch 8 teams (South Florida, Oklahoma, LSU, California, Tennessee, Alabama, Oregon, and Arizona State) play up to 17 games over the course of 7 days. I knew I was going to have to evoke one of the #1 rules of marathon training-BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR TRAINING SCHEDULE. Since I was jacked up on anti-anxiety meds for the flight, and we didn’t check into our hotel room until midnight thirty, I decided to take Thursday as a rest day and Friday I would do my tempo run.
Friday, The Tempo Run That Was Not And The Swim That Was
I woke up early on Friday to head out to the Oklahoma City River Trails to run my 6-mile tempo run. But my foot was sore because I had stubbed my flip-flop wearing, exposed toe the day before at the game. This is what it looked like on Friday, “the day after.”
I sent a text to Christy P ASAP and she thought it was broken. ARE YOU F’IN KIDDING ME?!?!? A broken toe, two weeks before the marathon. This, I felt, was truly a bad sign. And a literal one at that. How am I going to run 26.2 miles with a broken toe!
After I calmed down and invoked one of the #1 rules of marathon training-BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR TRAINING SCHEDULE, I made some phone calls and had my dad drive me a few blocks away to the downtown YMCA where I would swim. Where I was greeted immediately by this:
So after I found another YMCA to go to and I called to confirm their lap times, I called my dad to see if he could come pick me up (despite the short walk from our hotel to the YMCA, I was trying to stay off my feet-SINCE MY FREAKIN’ TOE COULD BE BROKEN). Of course my dad had just arrived back at the hotel and, of course, as soon as he showed up to pick me up and transport me to the other YMCA, they opened the YMCA back up. I thanked my dad profusely, we agreed upon a pick up time that would be mutually beneficial, and I headed inside the Edward L. Gaylord Downtown YMCA.
I swam for 60 minutes-2,875 yards! It was a good workout, but, it had its consequences.
Did I mention that two weeks ago I spent about 7 1/2 hours doing yard work on a Sunday? Did I mention that I couldn’t believe how sore my right arm was? Did I mention that I ended up going to see my doctor before I left? Did I mention that I have a SEVERE case of tendonitis in my right arm? Have I ever mentioned that I am right-handed? Can you deduce from all these questions that it is getting difficult to use my arm? Texting hurts. I’m having to have my 69-year-old dad open bottles for me. I can’t hold things in my right hand. I have trouble propping open doors. And, who would have thought, clearly not me, that using my right arm to swim 2,875 yards would have made it much worse? And so here is how I spent some of my vacation time on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday:
So here I am, on “vacation” with two weeks before the marathon and I can’t run and I can’t swim with my arms. What the hell am I going to do on Saturday?
Saturday Aqua Jogging
Well, clearly, I am going to have to swim without my arms. How does one do this? One does this this way:
One wears this flotation device around one’s waist. One gets in the water. And one starts to jog. It is actually a lot harder than one might think (I sweat doing this), and it is also a lot more boring than one’s typical swim workout.
Oh, I forgot to mention this as well (good times, good times). The day before the aqua jogging, I used these flippers during my 2,875-arm busting swim workout because it is all they had:
Of course, nothing on this trip in terms of my workouts is going the right way. So perhaps you will not be surprised to learn that I had to stop using these flippers because they did this to my left foot:
Sidebar: Athletics Etiquette
I am all about rule following. I have been my whole life. I think it is a necessary construct for a civil society. And I believe there are rules to be followed in the athletic arena, and by “rules” I mean social courtesy. When Christy and I started swimming at the YMCA in Ann Arbor, we were newbies. And we tried to defer to the social pool norms-fast people swim in the middle lanes and slower people swim in the outer lanes. Also, whether it was intended for this or not, I believe the black lines that are in the bottom of the pool in each lane should serve as divider lines, i.e., I’m on this side, and you are on that side.
So when one aqua jogs, one does not need a lot of space, one needs 1/2 the space that one usually needs when swimming normally, as one is “swimming” upright. So it was with great frustration that when I was using 1/2 of my 1/2 lane, i.e., 1/4 of the whole lane, that the skinny bastard next to me seemed to be using 3/4 of the lane. It was made very clear to me, however, upon his exit from the pool, why he was so rude. I was sharing a lane with Mr. Burns, of Springfield, from The Simpsons.
Sunday-Rest Day-Before Monday’s 13-Mile Run
Just to refresh your memory, all of this (these injuries and the training rescheduling) is taking place around going to watch the WCWS softball games. Which in and of itself does not sound exhausting, but it is. The ASA Softball Hall of Fame Complex is only about 15 minutes from our hotel; however, once you are in there and have paid your $20 to park, you can’t leave and get back in.
On Sunday, there was the possibility that there would be four games and I would be at the complex for up to 10 hours, with a nice long 3-hour “break” during which there would be nothing for me to do. Thank goodness this was not the case and the second game was over around 4:00. HOWEVER, Sunday’s weather, the day before my 13 mile run-a day for rest-was a high of 92 degrees “felt like 97” and I’m sitting on aluminum bleachers and the sun is sucking the life out of me.
On Sunday’s rest day, I had a healthy breakfast of oatmeal, but what was I going to eat for lunch when I had no way to leave the complex? I opted for carbo loading and some fruit, which I ate under a tree, sitting in dirt, because that was the only place I could find shade in the “feels like 97 degrees” weather.
After the games, we headed back to the hotel and I was just exhausted. I showered, got into my pajamas, ordered room service for dinner, and jumped into bed. Oh, another sign you are aging: You don’t care that you are wearing your pajamas down to the busy hotel lobby to get “breakfast” for the next day.
Monday, FINALLY!! Running Again!
Yeah! I feel alive! My left foot wound and my right foot toe are feeling much better. I have 13 miles to run and I’ve scoped out the place I am going to do it. It is only about a 5-minute drive away and although there is NO shade along the route, it is flat, runs along the river, and had some nice views. I ran on the south trail of the Oklahoma River Trails. It is a 7-mile paved trail so I headed east to the end of the trail, turned around, ran past my car and headed to the west end of the trail, turned around, and finished about a 1/2 mile from my car.
When I used to run B.C. (Before Christy) a training run of any kind meant a 10-minute mile pace, and I usually felt tired the whole time. These days, when I am running a 9:20-9:30 pace not only do I not usually feel tired, but when I try to slow down, I feel like I am barely running. I tried to be very aware of my pace times to avoid a repeat of the 20-mile run (going out too fast), but my overall pace for the 13 miles was a 9:21, which is great-but it was trying to maintain that pace during the last 20-mile run that just killed me.
I decided after the 20-mile run that I needed to stay away from these times, that they would do me in, and that I didn’t need them anyway because to hit my 4:15 goal time, I would be running a 9:44 pace. But here I am a week later running those exact times that did me in, and I felt good! And, the day before in Ann Arbor, Christy ran 13.23 miles at the same pace! So is this something that we shoot for or try to avoid? Or maybe we don’t shoot for it, but we don’t shy away from it either? I honestly am not too sure.
Christy and I decided yesterday during one of our multi-daily text sessions to run the Ann Arbor Marathon with a pace team. And since they don’t have a 4:15 pace team, just a 4:10 and a 4:20, we are going to run with the 4:10 pace team. The pacing is being provided by marathonpacing.com and although she doesn’t know it yet, my marathon goals/future/dreams lie in the pacing ability of Pacer Hong.
I have to admit that 95% of the time I am supremely confident that I can meet or beat my marathon goal, but it is that nagging 5% that gets me. And when I start to doubt myself I think about where I am now vs. where I have been in the past during marathon trainings. I’ve never trained as hard as I have this time around, I’ve never been in as good of shape, and, most importantly for me, I am emotionally in a really great place.
Here in Oklahoma, dealing with my dad (it gets tough for me at times because we approach and respond to things so differently), and the change in training schedule, and the toe and foot injuries, I ran a pretty damn great 13-mile run. And while I attribute this to being in shape, I feel it has way more to do with how I handle things and that despite the, at times, nagging 5%-I know deep down inside, where it counts, that I can do this. And I will do this.
My husband has been telling me that I will decimate this race. I believe him. I really, honestly, truly do. It won’t be easy, and it probably won’t be pretty, and I’m sure that 5% will creep in, but in a game of mind over matter, the mind really does matter!
Carry on friends, carry on.