In this edition of Martini Fridays, Adrienne Martini, training for the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon using the Train Like a Mother: Finish It Half-Marathon plan, celebrates some spring-like—or definitely not winter still—weather.
Saturday’s “only 8 mile” run felt like 20 miles, which makes me think that I needed the step-back week more than I’d thought. It was one of those Godzilla-stompin- on-Tokyo runs, where I felt as graceful and swift as a giant and clumsy lizard or, more accurately, a dude in a hot and heavy foam costume.
Working in my favor was our recent less-cold snap—I categorically refuse to call 45 degrees warn—earlier in the week. My favorite track is finally dry enough to use. I love going long on the track because I can just zone out without too much worry about traffic. If a car finds its way down there, so many other catastrophic things will have occurred that the car will be the least of my worries. Also, the hamster-on-a-wheel tedium of a track run is vastly outweighed by the forgiving surface that I love.
Even though the calendar claims it’s spring, the weather here hasn’t gotten with the program. The wind made my plan of 12-minute miles nearly impossible. Adding to that irritation was the fact that I can’t seem to slather on lip balm before I leave the house. I probably have a dozen tubes of the stuff in various pockets but never think to stick my hand in any of those pockets before taking my mouth-breathing self on a run.
But, it should be noted, I got it done—even if my lips needed a good sanding by the end. Little victories count.
My lower leg complained for the first half-mile, then didn’t utter a peep until I stretched afterward. The ache has migrated from the meaty muscles in the back of my leg (my gastrocnemius and soleus, to be precise) to the wiry one at the front, the tibialis anterior.
True story (short version): after series of life disappointments when we were living in Austin, Texas, I spent six months in massage therapy school, stopping just short of testing for my license because I had the sudden realization that I didn’t want to spend my days touching naked strangers. The anatomy lessons are still in my head, however, and have made it much easier to enumerate exactly where I hurt.
It’s perfectly normal to worry about every last little twinge in the run up to your first half, right? Because I’m getting a little a) obsessed and b) fatalistic. While I’m 90 percent certain that the ache is nothing to worry to much about, I’m 10 percent convinced that it’s a sign of something catastrophic. The idea of having to stop two-thirds of the way through training for this race fills me with buckets of sadness, which then leaves me convinced that pushing through the pain to make it to a race is how I’ll do myself a permanent injury. Then I’m convinced that I’m going to wind up with plantar fasciitis or stress fracture and then I’ll just never run again and be miserable and ... and.... and.
I’m not alone here, right? These sorts of thoughts will only increase as May 4 gets closer, yes? For the record, I’m pretty sure it’s just a strained muscle that just needs extra stretching and foam rolling and pain plasters. (Unless it isn’t.)
Adding to the crazies is my day job. It’s mid-term time at my college and I’ve been spending lots of quality time sitting on my bottom surrounded by stacks of paper. All I do lately is grade, schlep my stacks to another location, then grade some more. Sometimes, I make coffee, then grade even more. My eyeballs hurt more than my calf does right now. And I’m increasingly convinced that it’s time for bifocals. Hooray?
Two things that I’ve been meaning to mention but haven’t:
Thing one: In an earlier blog, I wrote about my struggle with postpartum depression and my plan to use my first half-marathon as a fund-raiser for Postpartum Progress. I’ve set up a Go Fund Me page for those who’d be willing to shove a couple of bucks their way. Any amount will help further their mission, which is to help moms who are struggling with psychiatric disorders.
Thing two: The lovely Dimity hooked me up with the equally lovely Christine Hinton, who wrote the Train Like a Mother Training plans. We talked about my extra week dilemma and she worked up week 10.5 for me. It consists of a couple of short, easy runs and 9 miles on Saturday. So that’s how long I’ll be going then, as long as I can still see and my right calf doesn’t fall off. If only one of those fates befalls me, I’ll still give the run a whirl.
How much do you fret before a big race you've trained hard for? And how far in advance, exactly, does the fretting start?