I’ve not written much about my marathon training. Writing about it means thinking about it and thinking about it brings up fear. You see, this is my third stint at marathon training and so far I have no medal to show for the effort.
The first go-around I trained and remained healthy. On marathon day I made it to Mile 21. I was so excited, a marathon medal was 5.2 miles away. However, I didn’t make it to a check point in time. I and everyone behind me were swept from the course. I returned to Nashville with no medal and no self-esteem regarding my running hobby.
Later that winter I decided to train for the Little Rock Marathon that would be held in March. My Saturday long runs became excruciating. I landed in a podiatrist’s office and learned I had bone spurs on the top of my right foot. They were rubbing the tendons causing painful tendonitis. The only solution was a four-hour surgery to correct that problem and to remove a bunion. I also had (and still have) tendonitis in the left foot around the arch. I just live with that. I also live with ongoing pain from the foot surgery. But you know, there are a lot of active people out there who have more pain than I have, and they don’t allow themselves to be sidelined.
This fall I was inspired by Sid Busch, whom I met at a race expo and keep up with via Facebook, to give the marathon another try. I signed up for Little Rock, which takes place on March 6. A good friend of mine is going to do the half marathon so we’ll have fun riding and rooming together.
Now, about the fear. The memory of not finishing my first marathon attempt is stuck in my head. Two weeks ago my plan called for 14 miles and I just dreaded it. Somewhere along the run I remembered that completing 14 miles would mean I’d broken a distance barrier. The longest distance I’ve covered since the foot surgery was a half marathon last March. That was a pretty painful experience you can read about here. I was incredibly sore at the end of the session, but I covered 14 miles and I was thrilled.
This past Saturday my plan called for 16 miles. Sixteen happens to be my favorite number and the date was 1-16-16. If 14 miles were painful, how would 16 feel? To my relief, I didn’t feel any worse than I did after the 14-miler from two weeks ago. I’ve been following an anti-inflammatory food plan since January 2. I’d lost 11 pounds by Saturday and I think the food plan and weight loss helped a bit.
I’m not gonna lie. The last three miles of Saturday’s session were tough. I wanted to quit. but I wanted to complete 16 miles (on the 16th of January 2016) just a little bit more. I was spent by the time I finished. I started to panic at the thought of having to run 10 more miles on marathon day. But here’s the thing. I was projecting how I will feel on March 6 based on how I felt on January 16. Then I remembered I wasn’t supposed to be able to cover a marathon on January 16. I’m building my mileage, according to a plan, in such a way that by the time the day rolls around I’m supposed to be ready.
Now I’m reminding myself to trust the plan. Just trust the plan.