Are you shocked? Until today, I was doing okay.
I looked at my running schedule and it said "7." Are you kidding? Seven? And I don't run again til Thursday. And I only get to run 7 more. That is insane. Saturday is 6 and Sunday is just 10. I don't even want to talk about what the next week (race week) holds.
I headed out for my 7 today in the rain. There was no avoiding it, as it was going to rain all day. My legs, finally, felt FANTASTIC. I ran my first mile in 7:15 and it felt like a jog. Okay...so, taper works, but I still don't like it. I averaged faster than 3:20 marathon pace for the whole run without even trying. So I'm encouraged by that.
What was NOT encouraging was that my pain kept breaking through. I say breaking through because I had the TENS unit on. It was turned all the way up (as usual), but I was in a lot more discomfort than I usually am when I wear it. I also had, for the first time in two weeks...the left-sided pain. This was discouraging and confusing. I rely on the TENS to make my runs (relatively) okay. And this was the first time it didn't do that. Now, I've had this happen before, but it's usually fleeting. And this could have been, too (it was only seven miles, of course). Anyway, it freaked me out, naturally.
I was disappointed. When I ran my 22 miles with the TENS unit on and had manageable discomfort, I thought "Okay, I can do this. I can do that for 4.2 more." But today was so much worse...despite the TENS being there. It's been two weeks since my last cortisone injection, and it may be that it's beginning to wear off (it does help a little). I decided not to get one til next Monday--6 days before race day--to make sure that the cortisone is peaking at the right time. Otherwise, if I got it tomorrow, it would peak at the end of my taper.
Today was just a reminder that I have no control over what's going to happen to me on marathon day. The pain could be there. Well, it WILL be there...but it could be what I call unmanageable. As much as I want to, I can't predict if that will happen. If it doesn't...great. If it does...well, I'll do the best I can. I know I will finish. And I'm pretty sure it will be with a semi-respectable time. But after today I'm not holding myself to any time goal. It's too much pressure. If all I had to worry about was running hard, I could think about time and splits and pacing. The running hard isn't my worry--it's dealing with that stabbing pain. And, no matter your pain tolerance, your body just says "Whoa....slow it down....this is bad for us." I'll just do what I can. So I don't want you all to expect me to put up any sort of time (can you tell I'm used to striving for external validation?). If you track me, or if you are waiting on the edge of your seat to see what I ran...just know that, in this race, and I can say this with a straight face, the time does not matter to me. My victory is in even starting the race. To finish, well, I have to be happy no matter the numbers. I know that seems cliche and maybe even like a cop out....but only I am truly aware of the deep, dark moments I have experienced throughout this training cycle. It has been an internal struggle like no other I've ever experienced. I've covered many miles having to dig down to a place I've very rarely been. The fact that I'm not terrified to run is a miracle. So...while I will certainly be wearing my Garmin...I'm showing up on May 1 to start and finish a marathon. No other promises.