I thought I'd do a marathon update today. First, a little background on my running history and decision to run a marathon - I have always wanted to run a marathon, but never had the guts to do it. I've been running for 13 years now; it all started my freshman year of high school when I signed up for cross country on a whim, pretty much to stay in shape for swimming season in the winter. I discovered quickly that running is so much better than swimming - I am a lover of all endurance sports, but running is a lot more social than swimming and also is a great way to spend some time outdoors, soaking up some vitamin D and see what's going on in the neighborhood. Throughout high school I ran cross country and track competitively, and then in college enjoyed running just to stay in shape (i.e. keep the freshman 15 from becoming the freshman 25) with my best friends and roomates. Since college (5 years) I've been embracing running in a different way, as more of a personal challenge. I've run lots of fun run 5K's, do the Peachtree Road Race every year with John, and have completed 2 half marathons at around 8:30 pace (here's the link to 2009's half re-cap). So around Christmas time, I figured if there was any time to finally accomplish my goal of completing a marathon, it would be now. No kids in the picture, my endurance was in good shape just coming off the Thanksgiving half, and I thought by the time my super long runs would get going, that spring would be in the air. Yeah...still waiting for that!
So far it's been a pretty good 10 weeks. I've stuck to Hal Higdon's Novice I training schedule and have missed a few runs, but not many. A lot of my runs have taken place on the treadmill, because of the cold weather, and because it's generally easier on my body. That's OK - I actually don't hate the treadmill like most runners, especially in the winter. It actually forces me to slow down - I run between a 9:00 - 9:30 minute mile on the treadmill, but if I'm out on the streets it's hard for me to stay at that pace - for some reason I always want to go faster! I'd say my best run so far was week 9's 10 miler. It came almost effortlessly and it was a beautiful day, which didn't hurt. I walked in the door with my hands up in victory - I can do this! The following week, (last Saturday) 15 miles really messed with my head - I was so nervous, as it was the longest distance I'd ever run. I did 10 on my own, swung by the house, and John did the last 5 with me, which was a huge help! I realized what a mental game a marathon is, especially when you don't have a training group. Lucky for me I've got a very supportive man!
Now that I've done 15, this weekend's 16 doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but that's not to say training's gone smoothly without some hiccups. Like I mentioned in my last post, I'm having a lot of knee pain. I've been icing after every run more than 4 miles, but after last weekend's 15 miler, I had to take 3 days off - today's going to be my first day back. I picked up some knee straps last weekend at the Big Peach, but the lady behind the counter told me what pretty much already know, just don't want to admit - my knees will continue to hurt until I start to do some strength training for my quads and hamstrings.
These straps definitely helped during the run, but even my ice bath didn't cure my post run knee pain. Going to a cocktail attire auction Saturday night after my 15 miler meant having to put on some 3 inch heels and suck it up - but let's just say by the time the clock struck 12 that night I was hobbling! (And at the McDonalds' drive through - small french fries - oops!) I need some advice - do any runners out there think that it's too late to start strength training to see any changes in my knee pain over the next 8 weeks? I'm such a cardio girl, it's hard for me to wrap my head around how quickly I can see change in this arena. At this point, the pain is so bad I'm willing to commit to whatever it takes to get it better, I'm just concerned that it's too late.
So that's it! 8 weeks to go - I'll try to start posting updates on my training more frequently if that's something that's interesting to you. The schedule for this week is: Wed, Thurs, Fri: 4, 8, 4. Sunday: 16! I'll check back in soon - hopefully with some fun eats to share.