26 days. That’s all that stands between me and my first half marathon.
Training for this beast has not been easy. I wasn’t even remotely in shape before I started back in August. I hadn’t been to the gym since before K was born (over two years), much less run a mile. But here I was, prepping for 13.1 in six months. Cue plenty of, “WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING?” moments.
The first month was rough, and then it got easier. I did a 5k and a 5-miler, and then, back in December, I took on a 10k. It was more of a cross-country run, thanks to the mix of sandy and muddy terrain, and it took place on the coldest morning of the year. The event was tough, but I didn’t feel terrible when I finished or for the remainder of the day. But the next day and the week that followed were hell. I suffered excruciating knee pain, to the point of tears — and I have a high tolerance for pain. I tried to push through it, but that only seemed to make the pain worse. I saw my mileage go from an easy six to a less than half a mile before breaking down. Thankfully, a friend realized what I was dealing with (ITBS), and he immediately ordered me to stop running.
Yes, stop. Completely.
This was hard to do. I needed to increase my mileage, but I also knew that I needed to heal my knee. The pain wasn’t going away. Reluctantly, I took nearly two weeks off from running. Instead, I cross-trained like crazy. I started going to the gym every single day. My mantra was: strength, elliptical, bike, yoga, repeat. I ordered a foam roller, and I stretched my IT band religiously each day, along with performing resistance band exercises. Finally, I was ready to test out my knee again. I eased into it, doing a walk/run routine on the treadmill for a few days before moving it outside. Success! My knee didn’t fall off, so I knew I was on the upswing once again.
It’s been six weeks since my race injury, and I only have four more to go until my half. I’m still off from my pre-injury pace time by about a minute per mile AND I do have to take walk breaks. I’m probably not going to reach more than a 9- or 10-mile training run. BUT, I feel okay. I feel like I’ve done everything I can to give myself the best possible chance of finishing and finishing under the three-hour mark. At least I hope I have.
Only 26 more days until we find out.