Stop and go

I’ve written and posted a lot about my experience as a runner.  You might have noticed a significant lack of, “Yippee, I finished my marathon” posts.  In late January and early February, as I started what I consider my “really long runs” I started having pain.

I couldn’t sleep well because joints and muscles were complaining at night.  I felt pretty good during the day but when my body and mind had time to rest, the complaints came loud and clear.  Additionally, my run times were getting significantly worse.  I’ve never worried about being a slow runner, or even a slow walk/runner, but I was losing time in a big way.  On my 18 mile run, some of my miles were a full 5 minutes slower than regular miles.  It was grim.

My instincts told me I needed to stop trying to get to the marathon and listen to my body.  I checked with a friend who coaches college runners, and he agreed.  He told me that my base mileage wasn’t sufficient to support the marathon training.

Here’s what that means:

  • I was running 3 mid-week runs averaging about 10 miles total
  • I need to be running 3 mid-week runs that average around 20 miles total before I add on the marathon long runs.

I was under-prepared and my body knew it.

It was a sad, rainy Sunday afternoon when I sat down at my computer and cancelled my registration for the New Orleans Marathon.

I cried a lot.

But I also had the sense that I’d done the right thing, and that by listening to my body, I had avoided real injury.

Sometimes, it’s really difficult to do the right thing.  I had to put aside what I wanted to be true and just look at what was really true.  I had good feedback from my body.  It took weeks for all the aches to stop, but I am now pain-free.

My new challenge is now to start running again.  That seems ironic to me.  I struggled to let myself not run 22 miles, now I’m struggling to get out the door to do 2 easy miles.  Maybe I’m afraid they won’t be “easy” or perhaps I’m afraid I can’t really run 2 miles.  I don’t fully understand it.

Let's Go

Let’s Go

But sometime this weekend, I’m going to lace up my shoes, turn up the volume on my iPod and get a road-level view of the wildflowers.  Since my mileage goal is low – 2 miles with a rest break in between mile 1 & 2, it’s not going to take me long to do the run.  In fact, I’m certain that writing and publishing this post will take longer than that run.  But it’ll be a big run in terms of conquering fear, and I’m looking forward to a new beginning.

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