Anyone who follows this blog and has been reading it this past week, you know that this week has been a frustrating week for me with a surprise pain in my right leg around the ankle area. I had a lot of frustration settle into my mind yesterday as I did not get my long run in, my leg felt bad, and the 4 mile run did not do much to make me feel positive about the injury. I decided yesterday to get up today to give my ankle a try and see how the 20 miles would go. I was not too optimistic to be honest, but I was trying.
The last time I ran 20 miles was July 18th and it went horrible. It was the worst I had felt in my training up to that point and possibly the worse I have felt in my training altogether. You can read that post here. With many setbacks in that run like getting the chills and having to stop several times the last three miles forcing me to run them in the 10-12 minute mile pace range, it was not a good experience. I ran the 20 miles back then in 3 hours and 9 minutes which I was pleased with, but the run was a nightmare.
I got up this morning around 4:30, ate a waffle, and drank some Generation UCAN pre workout drink(this stuff really works!) I started running around 5:15 and my plan was to run a mile or so to test out the foot injury and gauge the pain level. If it was not feeling any better I was going to cancel the run, rest and recover, and be safe and hope for a better week next week as I still have two long runs of 18 and 20 in the next two weeks. I took off and my pain level was pretty low so I decided to keep going to the bike path and gauge the pain level again around the 4 mile mark. I did not want to get too far out on the run and walk my way home.
As the title suggests I don't understand the human body. It is a machine that you try to manipulate and control, but it really just works as it wants. After two days rest, pain in the foot, and a weak run yesterday, my body bounced back. I felt amazing. I honestly think it was the best I have felt in all my training. The pain around my ankle was low and eventually with some mental toughness it eventually went away once I quit focusing on it every 20 seconds. I still kept to a moderately easy pace running mile 1 in 10:08, mile 2 in 9:18, and mile 3 in 9:14. I was just going with the signals my body was giving me. I was not looking at my watch and just wanted to run at a pace that felt easy.
From mile 3 on I was running at a pace I have not ran at ever for a long run, especially a 20 mile run.
My marathon mile goal pace is 9:09 to finish at exactly 4 hours. Here is how the mile times broke down. Needless to say I was shocked when I plugged my watch in.
Miles 4-9 I stayed right around a 9:13-9:17 mile pace. Nice and easy and relaxed. At mile 10 I picked things up not realizing it at the time.
Mile 10: 8:56
Mile 11: 9:15(fix ipod, GU, and I dropped a water bottle!!!)
Mile 12: 8:36
Mile 13: 8:44
Mile 14: 8:33
Mile 15: 8:16
Mile 16: 8:17
Mile 17: 8:15
Mile 18: 8:21
Mile 19: 8:36
Mile 20: 8:32
I had a huge stretch where I was way below my goal time. I was feeling great. It did not feel hard too run at this pace. I was not pushing to my limits. During these miles I tested myself too make sure I was not pushing too hard. I was running at what felt like an easy pace(if I cannot sing my jams out loud, then I am running too fast for these LSD runs)
I finished the 20 miles in 2:58 for an 8:56 pace. This is a pace that is 13 seconds faster than my goal pace and about 11 minutes faster than the last time I ran 20 miles. This run was very important in so many ways. First, it let me know that my injury may not be as bad as it seems(ice and therapy is key). It has forced me to really take into account my body signs(you would think by now I would learn to listen to my body). Second, I really believe that I am ready for this race. I have been full of doubt, but if I feel like this on race day and injury free I should have no problem running the last six miles in under an hour. This leads to my third key of self confidence. I believe in myself more than ever and that makes up for all the frustrations and stress of the past week. I no longer doubt that I can run 26 miles.
I feel great. I am ready. I am GETTING IT DONE! I am not wiped out for the day and I feel like I can tackle any obstacle. I am ready for another great week of training. I am taking tomorrow off of running to play it safe and will get after it on Tuesday.
Never doubt yourself. Always believe as we never know what we are capable of until we try. Who knows what your body is capable of until we try.