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Journey to mile 21

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I realized after the spark convention that I haven't blogged AT ALL about my marathon training. WHAT?!?! I don't know where my head is! I have had successes, set backs, tears, frustrations, happiness, soreness, tiredness, achiness, fun, excitement, nervousness and more!! What isn't to love with all those emotions involved!!!

So, let me briefly tell you how I started on this journey! I had just completed the Carlsbad Half Marathon in January and I loved the camaraderie and friendships I found and formed (all through SP I might add!! Big ups to the Spark San DIego team...whooo hooo!!!) and didn't want it to end. One of the girls (coffeerun aka Jessica) stated that she was going to be training with the West Coast Road Runners and would be training for the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon.

Well, let me just say that I must have still been in an adrenaline induced, lost my mind for a moment type coma and signed up for the marathon right along with her. So, it didn't really hit me until a few weeks later what this really entails. All I knew is that I loved getting up on Saturday mornings and hitting the pavement with this new social network that had been created. It included Felicia aka FHamwey, Cellia6191 aka Marcy, and at the very end included Happy92003 aka Kelly.

Going into this marathon training program only 3 of us had committed to training for the full marathon. Jessica, Marcy and I were the three. Kelly and Felicia joined the running group so they could train for the La Jolla Half Marathon.

I started off the training the following weekend after the Carlsbad half and I was still nursing knee injuries that first started in April of 2007. They had come back with a vengeance while I was training for the half but I made it through by icing, taking Ibuprofen and doing other sorts of cardio (not running) during the week. By the time we had completed the half the pain was manageable but the type of pain I was feeling kept changing. This wasn't going to stop me though. It was certainly frustrating but I am one tough cookie!! I might add that I am a tad bit stubborn at times, too! More to come on that!!!

I figured that the running club would start out slow and the significant decrease in mileage would give my knees a rest that they so desperately needed. I might add that I was not really a runner at all before this. I had completed some 5ks but nothing longer than that. I just jumped head first into the half marathon training!! So for the first three weeks things were okay. I was still having IT band issues in both legs but it was still what I would consider manageable. This didn't stop me when I was training for the half marathon and so I pushed forward. Around the fourth week of training the mileage was climbing quickly and I was trying to do some running on the treadmill during the week but taking it easy...either walking fast or jogging slow, sometimes alternating.

I met my friend Kelly at the gym for one of our mid week runs and I started up the treadmill and I could barely tolerate the shooting, sharp pain I felt in my left knee. This was not the normal pain that I had been feeling and I grimaced. Kelly knew immediately that I wasn't okay. I had to stop. I couldn't even freakin walk. URGH!!! I can't believe this is happening. I was so upset. I knew that I had to go see a doctor. I had a feeling that they wouldn't offer much help but figured at this point it was necessary. With the pain moving and reinventing itself, I felt stupid going in there and telling them, "well 3 weeks ago the pain was here, and 2 weeks ago it is in the other knee and over there, this week I can barely walk and it was in the knee that was doing pretty well."

I called the doc to make an appt and because she was booked with other patience, she recommended that I see a sports medicine doc. AWESOME!! I felt confident that this guy would give me some great advice and help. I went in there, he examined me, asked questions, moved my legs around and basically said "stop running." Umm, excuse me?!? Do you know who you are talking to? This really isn't an option. I mean, sure, he probably has a point BUT come on now. I already paid for the training group and my entrance to the marathon. I was not going to waste almost $200 bucks cuz some doc said I had an IT Band issue and probably some overuse injuries as well. FOOEY on him. He doesn't know me!

Well, that tough girl exterior only lasted until I got home. I saw my honey and just started crying. I was super disappointed. What does this mean for me? I didn't want to let my running buddies down and mostly I didn't want to let myself down. I didn't want the money to go to waste and I wasn't ready to quite. I put on my Rock N Roll Marathon shirt and just cried. He held me tight and said "don't worry, we will get through this." After my pity party was over (cuz that wasn't getting me anywhere) I decided to cowgirl up and form a plan.

I sat down and considered my options. I Could just listen to the doc and quit. I could slow down and walk instead of run and see how the knees felt or I could just keep doing what I was doing and possibly do more damage. The second option seemed to fit the bill. I decided I would join the walking group of the West Coast Road Runners and if all else failed, I knew I had given it all my heart.

For the next few weeks, I walked. And let me just say, it totally sucked!!! The runners would start later but eventually start passing us up. That was hard for my ego to swallow. I was jealous and while I am not super competitive, not being able to give those routes my best effort (while running) was really tough mentally. But guess what people!?!? Your girl is pretty darn tough!! Hehe...

After about 4-6 weeks of walking with only a tad bit of running, the knee was feeling better. I started running more and more. I am still not at 100% and I still struggle with the knee pain. It wanders from one knee to another and sometimes it doesn't hurt hardly at all. I feel that I am blessed to be able to run at all and I hope that I can take some time to slow things down a bit after the marathon is over and recuperate. They may never be 100% but I need to make sure I am not doing any long term damage. I want to be able to chase my grand kids around...which hopefully won't be for many, many, many years and my daughter takes a different route than I did (otherwise I could be a grammy in 3 years at the ripe old age of 33! Pray for me....and her!!! I am teaching her but that is another blog for another day! Sorry, I digressed!)

We are now only 3 weeks away from the marathon and there are two of us training for the full!! Marcy had an injury about the 5th or 6th week of training and was never really able to shake it. Unfortunately, she hasn't been training with us for quite some time now. Boo! We miss her but wish her a full recovery.

Felicia trained until the half marathon 2 weeks ago and is now getting some much requested R&R and is enjoying sleeping in on Saturday mornings instead of getting up and running with the group! BTW, she did AWESOME at La Jolla and next year she is gonna conquer that hill. I hope to be by her side!!

Jessica had a number of family obligations that interfered with her training. She is still planning to run at least half of the marathon and more if she is feeling good. No telling how her story will end. She, too, did an awesome job at La Jolla. Way to go girls!!!

Kelly was only supposed to be training for the half but when she went to sign up, the race was full. She was very disappointed and I tried to convince her that she should just do the full marathon with me instead!!! She went home and talked with her hubby and he convinced her!!!!! WHOOO HOOOO!!! I owe that man!! Otherwise, I would be out there training without my best running buddy ever!!! Lucky me!

So, in closing - this has been quite the journey and I highly encourage ANYONE to get out there, set your sights high and just go for it!!! What is that one saying, shoot for the moon and even if you fall short you will land among the stars??? I probably shattered that saying but it is oh so true!!! These training programs are set up for those who have little running experience. I do recommend trying a 5k running program before starting and getting some of those races under your belt first but put together a plan!!! YOU CAN DO THIS, TOO!!! I NEVER EVER IN A MILLION YEARS thought I would be doing a marathon. Imagine my surprise sitting here saying in 3 weeks, I will be a marathoner!!! Can I get another WHOOOO HOOO!!???!!!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    That is so funny about you signing up while you had runner's high basically - lol!! That is how I ended up doing my first half. I had just finished my first 10k (before that race I would only run about 3 miles for cardio, not because I considered myself a runner).

    I am scared to do a full. I honestly think I know too much - lol!!! I think you did the right thing signing up without questioning it ;).

    I am glad that you were able to work through the knee problems.
    4074 days ago
  • HAPPY92003
    No, YOU are the best running buddy ever!!!! LOL We do make an awesome team!!! I can't wait to conquer those 26.2 beautiful miles!!!!

    emoticon emoticon
    4082 days ago
    Awesome story, Leah! I love how motivated you are, and I'm so happy you shared your insprirational story. That's great that Kelly is out there with you--how wonderful to have a partner with you on this semi-arduous journey!!! Can't wait to hear how these next three weeks of training go...and your FINAL results!!!!!
    4082 days ago
    Girl, I have IT Band issues that surfaced for the first time last year -- I am really working hard to try to not have them affect me as I train for my potential marathon in December. *HUGS* It kinda makes me feel better to know someone else struggling with this.
    4082 days ago

    You're so freakin' motivating!

    4082 days ago
    I want to run someday. Thanks so much for sharing!
    WOOHOOOoo for you, lady!

    4082 days ago
    emoticon ! I had similar experiences when I started training last year for the LA marathon... without any running experience, I had major physical ailments. I kept seeing Drs. who kept telling me to stop running - do you know my response? Find another doctor!! I finally got a "team" together - podiatrist, chiro, physical therapist - and finished. What a feeling! Now I'm hooked on 1/2's, but as a pace leader for the Loma Linda Lopers I am committed to helping my group finish in SD. I will run at their pace (which is a run/walk program anyway) and the goal is just to cross the finish line. On the other hand, I've been striving for PRs at my recent 1/2s!

    Thank you for sharing your story, and best of luck in SD! Look for me at the after-party (or on line for the porta-potties!!)
    4082 days ago
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