Mile 20

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I'm now up to the half marathon level and half way through my training. Right now I bet you're scrolling up and down the page wondering where the first half of the training blogs went. Well I'm not the most natural blogger. Please ask me about my training because I'm not going to write everything- and I need my hands to communicate the full extent of the journey.

So you know why I wanted to do this from my past blog. I originally was going to start training in November. I couldn't believe my luck when I found out that not only did Carolina have a marathon club but they were running the exact marathon that I had set out to do (the Bi-Lo Myrtle Beach Marathon on Saturday, February 17th, 2007.) Before coming to the club I was running 3 miles in 27ish minutes, 3 to 4 days a week on a treadmill. My first club meeting was the culmination of pre marathon training training, so the club was running up to 5 miles.

Coming from a treadmill, I was worried about running far away off campus, getting tired and not keeping up with the pack. We ran across an exit ramp and up a mile long hill. Since I lost the pack on that hill, I walked up the hill and then took a long cut around campus that I knew of instead of following the route. I didn't run the whole route, I had lost the pack on a comparatively short run and my competitive ego was hurt. I was feeling defeated until I got back and found out that there was a group of slower runners behind me!

With that encouragement I showed up to the next practice. Now this run was on my favorite route (the Hospital route) that was 3 miles. I started out at the Varsity pace again and was depressed again when I fell behind on such an easy run. You know it's actually a very good thing that I didn't blog these first couple of weeks. If I had ruminated over those disappointments I probably would have convinced myself out of the marathon.

I've taken Alex's major for granted, but looking back I'm realizing how provident it is that I'm dating a Sports Medicine major. Around this time I told Alex about how I was fulfilling my fears by tensing up and falling behind the pack. I don't think he realizes it but his coaching me on how to run loosely and helped me to psychologically relax. That next long run, I found what I call the rec pack. The recreation pack actually runs for fun, the company and to get out in the sun. There were runners like me who exist? Most mediocre runners are cynical and hate every minute that they run. If you constantly complain about running I suggest you try swimming since it is a low impact sport and spreading negativity is just annoying for those who try.

The best part about training has been finding out how far my body will naturally go. I didn't measure the hospital route and so I only used it when I was tired because I thought it was only 2 miles. It is so much easier to run outside and now that I've trained I feel like whipping out a 5 miler every run rather than a dinky 3 miler. After the 6 mile run when I found my running buddies I came across another problem. Since I lost weight while increasing my mileage my IT band was rubbing against my hip bones. I had snapping hip syndrome or ITBS and it was painful not to run. (What a terrible problem.) I'm almost done with physical therapy.

Although my ITBS was literally a PITA, the hardest physical strain was on my 10 miler when I didn't properly hydrate. My run buddy and I are working on making water stops now that we're running longer. On the 10 mile day though we did not have a water stop, we ran up hill for 8 miles (what were they thinking?) and by the 9th mile the saliva in my mouth was crusting on my teeth. We were almost back to campus running from the Carrboro side of Cameron to Raleigh Street when my throat just closed up. I was still running because I couldn't stop and was breathing in hard ratteling breaths. Breathing was frustrating and I was emotionally chocked up. My run buddy coached me to run to the Old Well and with effort we finally got there. I chocked down the water, spitting and heaving, trying to get myself back together again. I've drank from the well on the first day of classes for the past two years but I've always regarded it as the Alumni's poster child. That day was Family weekend and so some poor family was taking a picture in front of the landmark. They have no idea how important that well was at that moment while I was clinging to it for dear life.