Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Walk the Line

As sure as night is dark and day is light
I keep you on my mind both day and night
And happiness I've known proves that it's right
Because you're mine, I walk the line

Even though Mr. Cash wasn't talking about running in this works.

My reflective musing of the day is...there is always a feeling of "Walking the Line" with training. Why can I never choose between "pushing it" and "risking it"? We're always told to try harder, do more, leave it all on the _____________ (fill in blank: dance floor, course, field, whatever). Heck, we've all see The Biggest Loser.

But then there's an opposite voice saying don't do TOO much. Don't do 2 hard days in a row. Don't do hills and speedwork. Don't do a long run and then a race. Don't run on a mild injury; it might turn it into a worse injury. Blah, blah, blah.

It's "hell week." The last week of marathon training before the taper. Did my last 20-miler on Saturday, and I have a half this coming Sunday (Towpath Half in Peninsula, OH). And this week has just been six-milers every day.

Tuesday's and today's run were the same path: home to end of the Steelyard, then around the neighborhood for one more mile. Yesterday I ventured out to the Towpath and had a great scenic (and also hilly) speed session.

I have been nursing different minor injuries this month. Shin splints in the left leg (now almost completely better due to Kinesio tape and ice), now this weird pain in my right foot - like around my arch area, on the inner foot. Not plantar fasciitis, thank god, but still pretty uncomfortable. Do I rest? Or do I run? It's the last week of high-mileage, high-intensity training, so I just went for it. I can rest during the taper and hope that's enough to heal it.

Yesterday I started off taking it easy but then eased right into a hilly tempo run and felt great for the most part. I really felt that I was consciously "holding back" to not do too fast a pace. Good sign?

Then today I started off sluggish and blah, but by the end I just killed it. I was even planning on cutting it off at 5 miles because my foot was hurting -- but by the time came, I don't know if I was just numb or what, but it wasn't bothering me anymore so I added a loop around Tremont. A little over 6 miles.

But the whole second half of both of these workouts were filled with cautionary thoughts: is this too much? Am I going to be sorry on Sunday 'cause I expended all my energy today? Is it wrong that I ran a hilly workout two, well actually three, days in a row? Am I not looking towards the ultimate goal, which is running a comfortable (and hopefully faster than last time) marathon? Or is all this, in essence, like a "Last Chance Workout?"

When thinking about the arc of my training since July, I am probably doing the right thing by going a little harder when it feels appropriate because I spent a bunch of time in the "easy" training zone. I am definitely feeling more fit these days, and faster with more endurance and stamina. I ran the second half of all my workouts faster than the first this week, which should mimic the actual race. But I guess I just don't want to make a mistake or burn out. (Hmm, I guess this is where wearing a heart rate monitor throughout this process would have actually come in handy.) But hey, it's the last week, I guess it's supposed to feel like a lot, and I guess everything is supposed to hurt (Advil & Tylenol = my new B.F.F.s) and I am supposed to be super tired and therefore getting more sleep. I guess my lack of a job is sort of a blessing in disguise for this last grueling part of training. I don't know how I would have been able to handle both this week.

So...week in review/upcoming weekend:

Monday 10/5 - Off (Yoga)
Tuesday 10/6 - 6 miles (Steelyard)
Wednesday 10/7 - 6 miles, 2x2 miles @ tempo (Towpath)
Thursday 10/8 - 6 miles (Steelyard)
Friday 10/9 - 4 miles
Saturday 10/10 - Off
Sunday 10/11 - Towpath Half-Marathon (8:00 am)

Editorial comments: I might switch the 4-miler tomorrow out for yoga instead, and then run my "traditional" easy 2-miler on Saturday to loosen up the legs for Sunday. I figure I need a good stretch tomorrow, and I can give my poor arch a break. Maybe it'll also help me feel more refreshed for Sunday. I am going to try to "race" this half, as opposed to just use it as a training run, because it is still 3 weeks out. Well, I will play it by ear and see how I feel. I'd really love to use this race as a gague for how I might do on marathon day! The last half I did (2:17:30) was unusually fast for me, and that was a net downhill course, so we'll see if that was just a fluke or if my training really has been working its magic. :) This course is supposed to be flat as well...yay!

Will update with a race report on Sunday (if I don't have something to blab about sooner)!


  1. That is one hectic training schedule!!

    When is your marathon?

    Love this blog!!


  2. Hey Alex!!

    Thanks so much for reading! My marathon is on November 1 in New York, hence the crazy schedule. I'll be sure to post a full race report on here, as well as for the half I'm doing this Sunday.

    Looking forward to sharing war stories!