I did twenty miles!!!!!!!!!!
I am riding this crazy high, because last week I was ready to quit running, quit the marathon. Actually for the past month I’ve been feeling like that because I haven’t had a successful long run since my randomly awesome 15 miles in Michigan. Every long run has been cut short by pain, mostly back pain. Before that it was GI issues. I have not had an easy summer. Never the less, here I am victorious on the other side of 20 miles, and it feels incredible (and sore!).
I have been seeing an active release chiropractor who has yet to adjust me. We start off with heat on my back, ultra sound, and a little movement and stretching on his table that moves. Then, we work through a series of positions and stretches where he uses pressure on different parts of my body. For example : to stretch my IT band, I am on my side on the table and he is lifting, twisting, and stretching my leg while one of his hands applies pressure to the IT band, moving down its length. I leave feeling loose, limber, and like I had a pilates type workout. It is really amazing.
On Sunday we did a Punch-a-Thon at my gym (blog coming tomorrow) which was a serious 90 minute workout, but one that I felt really good throughout. On Monday I visited my doctor (Dr. Aloi in Freehold) and got a great stretch of sore muscles. Tuesday I ran 20 miles and I had NO BACK PAIN. Insanity. Today I went back to the doctor and he worked out everything I pounded into my body during those 20 miles. I feel incredible.
What I’ve learned from this summer is to listen to my body. There’s a difference between pain from exertion and pain from injury. You have to listen to figure out which is which, and both deserve attention. I have become so in tune with my body through marathon training that it’s much easier to distinguish between the two.
So here is how I did 20 miles, besides building up to it. First, I asked my husband to ride his bike ahead of me. This way I had someone who knew the route, and I wasn’t worried about slowing another runner down, even though my friends have so graciously slowed for me on long runs. Also, he was able to carry a bunch of extra water, my BCAA drink, gatorade, extra fuel, and a different pair of shoes. He would ride ahead to the next turn and wait to direct me. He got a good workout too!
Next, I split the run into 5 mile chunks. At each 5 mile interval, I stopped to stretch, fuel, and hydrate. This set me up for success not only physically but mentally. When it got tough, all I had to do was make it 3 more miles, or 1 more mile, before a break. Often we runners don’t fuel early enough, and by the time fatigue sets in it’s almost too late to fuel. Each section was increasingly more difficult, but I made it.
Finally, I told myself it was okay, whatever happened, and tried to stay in the moment. Before I left a friend said, “Enjoy it!” and I laughed. Enjoy 20 miles?? How?! But a couple of times I actually looked up and around and enjoyed my surroundings. The weather was beautiful, the grass green, and the scenery was nice. I did enjoy it.
After my run I reached to the sky and celebrated, then promptly laid down and thought I might never get back up. Hubs helped me raise my feet up, and for the first time after a run I didn’t feel like I was going to pass out (I got the blood flowing to my brain and not my legs. Often after the run I feel faint, and I can’t form words well. Not good.) The rest of the day was a lazy one, and I am still sore, but I finished. Now I have a one way ticket to TAPER TOWN.