I'm all in. I skipped my run yesterday to rest the leg, but that didn't stop me from signing up for two races today, the Akron Marathon and the Buckeye Half Marathon. (Well, OK, I would have signed up for both races if online registration for the Buckeye Half Marathon didn't end last night. Dumbasses.)
I feel like I could have run last night. The whole day I was prepared for 8 miles at an easy pace. Then, climbing the three flights of stairs to my apartment, I felt the thereness in my right inner thigh and decided to scrap it. Maybe my body is telling me something, I thought, and maybe I should listen.
As a result of not hitting the road, I felt unusual. Off-kilter. I was used to my schedule, my ritual. Suddenly, it seemed that my running, always The Great Equalizer, had gone on holiday by mistake.
Running and life have hitherto been in perfect balance during this training season. Confidence bounced from my soles with every stride. Mind and body were in harmony. Training runs reflected my race goals. Now, however, certitude has given way to doubt. This is where I need the mental strength that Michelle J wrote about Monday.
This leg pain is a test of faith.
Faith in my training plan.
Faith in my leg's healing.
Faith in my previous race experiences.
Faith in my strategy.
Faith in my perseverence.
Faith in my sheer stubbornness.
Faith in my self.
These are not leaps of faith. Logic builds a bridge to these beliefs. Though, I must see through the clouds that my anxieties have created.
For six weeks, my training plan has been perfect. My long runs built conservatively (minus one minor absurdity) and included more 20-milers than last year. My tempo runs were a more consistent pace. I included regular speedwork with specific parameters. And my rest days and back-off weeks have kept my legs strong and fresh. I even started cross training.
I have been injured before. I have been cautious. I have listened to my body. I have taken it slow. I have rested, iced, compressed and elevated. I have taken anti-inflammatories. I have stretched. These are the things that have worked before, and I believe they will work again.
My focus is on this weekend. I have run this race before. Although the race organizers have changed the course route, I still know the course terrain. Although last year's performance was my toughest race, I have learned many lessons from it. With less preparation and coming off another injury this spring, I set a new half marathon PR in Cleveland. And once this race is over, regardless of my performance, it will help me guage my preparation for the marathon.
My strategy for the half marathon is to completely ignore Martini at the start, to run my own race, to rein in my pace during the middle miles where I struggle. Until the 10-mile mark, and then I will let it go, my finishing kick carrying me to a sub-1:50:00 time.
I have never DNF-ed. I have persevered through bad weather, high temperatures, stomach issues and chafing. The pain I have felt running is not the worst pain I have felt.
Like the ass you know me to be, I am stubborn. It is not something I can control. It is simply a fact of my being. I may struggle, but I will not quit.
I have worked hard for these races. I am prepared. I will run well.