The weekend just goes by way too quickly these days, but getting up this morning was a tiny bit easier than most Mondays since I knew it'd be a 3-day week. Of course, it was also a tiny bit harder to get up because it was pouring down rain. That just makes me want to stay in my warm bed with my kitty cat.
Friday evening my parents helped me take down tree #1 and put up my brand new tree #2. Dad made this huge plywood base to weigh down the bottom so that (fingers crossed) it can't topple over if Tucker decides to shimmy his way up it again. I'm ultimately glad things turned out this way because my new tree is so much prettier. I promise some pictures soon.
Saturday I met up with Bob at the park for a very chilly 10-mile run. I haven't had to bundle up so much since last year, so it was a huge adjustment to feel so constricted by clothing. I'm glad to have a chance to run in my winter clothes so that I can be used to them before the Memphis marathon. It's still too early to see race day on the weather forecast, but so far it's looking like it'll be a chilly day. I don't mind. That's why I picked a December marathon.
We did the 10 miles in about 1:42, which is about a 10:10 pace. That's pretty close to race pace, so I was pleased. HOWEVER. I started feeling my left ankle again and a new pain flared up in my left hip. I'm NOT pleased about that.
It reached the point after the run where it hurt to put weight on my left leg. It's this really strange sort of twinge in my hip area. One moment it feels like it's just a tight IT band/hip flexor that I need to stretch out, and other moments it feels like something more. I'm trying really hard to not freak out right now. I am starting to feel a little worried that I'm not going to show up to the start line with fresh, pain-free legs like I intended. Not only that, but I haven't been having much of a taper. It's been more like a dramatic cut back in mileage.
I'm going to spend some time this week focusing on icing and stretching in a hope that it really is just some tightness that can be dealt with. I've been reading a lot of stuff today that sometimes we have more aches and pains during our tapers because our bodies are healing the damage we did in training... and so we can feel it. Oh how I hope that's all this is...
I'm starting to think that the whole marathon before a marathon thing was not a good idea. I mean, it really is in theory... but I am thinking that my body in particular might not be cut out for it. It's hard to remember, but I don't think I had quite so many aches and pains during my previous training plans. However, I also forget all the aches and pains I feel DURING the marathons and then sign up for another one... so maybe I've always had these kind of things flare up and I choose to forget all about them.
Anyways, I'm going to give my hip and ankle a little TLC. I thought about doing some bike riding today, but I'm just going to take another rest day. I can put weight on it now, so that's got to be a good sign, right? I'm going to attempt a VERY easy jog tomorrow, but if I can feel my hip at the start I'm going to bike instead. Then, I've got my 5-mile race on Thursday. If it hurts, then I'm going to take it really easy. If not, then I'll run for time. Then next week? Maybe 2 very easy light jogs, but mostly resting, eating good food (carbs!!!), and stretching. I need to feel good at the start. Surely to goodness cutting way back more than usual during this taper won't cause me to lose much fitness.
I don't know what's going to happen on race day. I'm beginning to feel like I should change my expectations a bit. I don't know that a 4:20 is possible, but I think that aiming to beat my PR of 4:31 is still a doable goal. And honestly? A new PR is a new PR... it can be 4:30 and I'll be really happy. I can always aim for 4:20 another time. And regardless of how I finish, it'll still be marathon #5 under my belt.
But still... I really want these aches and pains to go away. It's hard to not worry about them a little.
Sunday I volunteered at the Flying Monkey Marathon, and it was good fun. I helped out at the finish line food table and got to see all of the runners after they finished. It was really encouraging to be out there and to see people finishing a REALLY tough marathon. I got to hear a lot of interesting stories and meet a few really cool runners. I'm glad I spent my day out there.
I also stopped by the church that sponsors the Thanksgiving race and picked up my race number and shirt. They were also giving away posters of Ryan Hall. I got a little more excited about this than is probably necessary. People were like, "Who is Ryan Hall?" And I was like, "Um, only the coolest American male marathon runner right now! How can you not know how awesome he is?!" Ok, not really... I kept my mouth shut. But I was really excited and am totally going to hang that poster on my closet door to help inspire me to be thankful that God gave me a body that I can use to run, and I'm going to get out there and run my best.
I'm not happy about the aches and pains. I'm not happy about how my taper is going. But I'm still looking forward to race day. My friend Bennett is coming to run, too, and he always makes things fun. And the race is in Memphis where the boy lives, so it'll be fun to have him there. I'm going to run. It may be hard. It may hurt. It may not go as well as I've been planning. But regardless of what happens, it'll be a good day.