Yesterday, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was almost at the end of my last week building up to the Chicago Marathon. Running-wise, I had hoped to make this my highest mileage week but, as a mom and a teacher, this was my busiest week outside of training. By Wednesday, it was obvious that I had to trust the training that I had done to this point; the goal for the week was just to keep running.
Monday was a planned rest day and I spent my after-school time fulfilling mom duties. On Tuesday, I got two runs in (5K in the morning and 8K at night) as planned, but I coached my first soccer practice on Wednesday night, leaving no time to run. Despite a busy Thursday, I was able to make it another double day (5K in the morning, 12K at night), followed by an easy 6K on Friday after school.
Friday’s miles were tough. My legs hurt – right behind the knees, both of them. Looking back, I think it was from falling asleep late at night on the couch and overstretching the ligaments. At the time, though, I was certain it was running-related so I did what most runners would do; I panicked. I couldn’t be injured, not this close to Chicago.
That night, I decided to go to a power yoga class where I could give my legs the stretch that they needed. I had been avoiding Friday night classes for weeks as I often end up dehydrated and that effects me the next day on my long run. But the fear of injury trumped the fear of dehydration. Fortunately, it did help but not enough. I went to bed exhausted from the week and frustrated by the pre-marathon aches and pains. On Saturday morning, I woke up feeling better but not quite healthy enough to run long.
This weekend, then, I flipped my long run with my recovery distance. Yesterday, I ran a gentle 15K, using the time to work on my form and stride. After 30 minutes into my run, my legs were starting to feel more normal and, by the time I got home, they were fine. I was ready for my long run.
This morning, I headed out the door while the dudes and hubby were sound asleep. I had 35K in the books and wanted a 20K tempo in the middle. An hour after heading out, I popped back home to grab some Gatorade before I started; the littlest dude was awake and happily watching television, seemingly oblivious to my presence. I wondered if his older brother was still going to get up, as promised, and ride with me through the last 10K of my tempo; I was counting on him for fuel. “He’s reliable,” I reminded myself. “He’ll find me on course.”
My tempo was on a 5K loop – into the wind for 1K, down a hill and into the wind, uphill, down another less windy hill, and into the wind again until the end of the loop. I had to run four of them. The first three were fine; pacing was exactly where I wanted to be, but I suddenly started to feel nauseous at 17K, probably from the lack of water/fluids; it was obvious that the Littlest Dude was still the only one awake at home. I pushed through the next kilometre but had to stop at 18K. I was done. I decided to cool down and head home, for a total of 33K instead of 35K. What was interesting is I ended up keeping my pace the same without thinking about it. Sure enough, by the time I got home, one long tempo and a cool-down later, the Littlest Dude was still the only one awake!
So, in my busy week with a birthday, a swimming lesson, soccer coaching (twice), another soccer game and countless driving commitments from here to there, and work, I ended up with a fairly successful week. With a bit of creativity and juggling things around, I finished the week with 83K and a tempo that had been a bit of a monkey on my back. Now I can put my feet up in the air and start to enjoy the taper.