Training for the Marine Corps Marathon has sucked. I ran two marathons last year and while that training was challenging, especially considering that they were my very first, this cycle has presented challenges that I couldn’t have prepared for and have really kept me from putting in the mileage that I hoped to this time around.
First there was the stress fracture of my 4th metatarsal, right before my two week vacation to Israel. Immediately prior to the fracture, I had really been pushing myself, apparently a little too hard. But it felt so good! I was running regularly in my VFFs. I PRed a the beautiful Decker’s Creek Half , and slow as I am, I was keeping up with the paces of friends who were running 10 minute miles for long distances. I knew that the Marine Corps Marathon could be awesome and it would be seriously possible to cut my marathon to around 4:30. Then on a run to work there was a sharp pain in my foot around mile five and that was it – 3 weeks of the boot. In Israel. Hiking. With no running (except to catch flights.)
Just as I was getting back into the swing of things, my Grandmother’s health took a steep decline and she eventually passed away. Needless to say, running during this time was not exactly a priority.
Two weeks ago I got the cold from hell. No energy means no running. I skipped my long run completely one weekend, putting in just 15 miles for an entire week.
This leaves me at just under six weeks to go until race day with the short runs leaving me sore and long runs on the weekends feeling like a death march. Though I’m raising money for the American Cancer Society (donations welcome!) I haven’t been running with the group or even with friends because I’m just too embarrassed for anyone to see how badly I’m struggling.
That is up until this past Sunday. I got up around 7AM, took the dog out for a mile, gathered my gear and went to my current favorite trail. We had brunch plans but I still had about four hours to put in my long run and I was shooting for anywhere between 17-20. The way things have been going, I figured that would be enough. It was a beautiful morning, cool and a little dewy. The woods smelled like fall. Everything just clicked. Each step felt good, sure. I took a little walk break every two miles or so to simulate water stops and even with waiting for some red lights at intersections, I ended up putting in almost eighteen miles with a pace at about 12:05/mile. For the first time in months, when I got home I didn’t growl when asked how my run went. So, I guess this means I’m ready!