Oh the irony of life…! The last couple of weeks I was feeling a bit deflated when it came to marathon training. Then I ran 16 miles with and kicked off Week 13 of training feeling super optimistic and proud of what my body and legs can accomplish.
The 5 mile run on Tuesday felt like a breeze and it was the first time in a long time I felt fit, in form and generally positive about my running. The knee niggles and soreness that I experienced on my long run returned after 4.5 miles, but I was hoping it was just from tiredness and not something serious.
Having learned from previous mistakes of over-training and injury, I RICE-d (Rest/Ice/Compress/Elevate) my knees as soon as I got in and hoped for the best.
The following day I set out to do 9 miles but the knee niggles came back around 4.5 miles again, and I knew that I would be a fool if I pushed through. I stopped at 5 miles, a bit heavy hearted and sad. I was running super strong and confident for the first 4 miles, so it felt like a bit if a confidence blow to have silly knee niggles stopping me from running.
I decided to be sensible on Thursday and skipped my 4 mile run to let my knees rest. I was hoping that RICE-ing and resting for a few days would mean that I could take on the 18 miler on the weekend with confidence and a big smile on my face.
Saturday approached and as me and Cata set out to do our 18 miles I have to say that it was amazing running weather (sunny with some cloud, cold with a light breeze). We decided to do a reversed and slightly different route than our usual long one to accommodate my poor knees, incorporating less steep / long hill stretches and more parks.
Spring was definitely in the air, and even though I made the stupid mistake of (yet again) leaving my breakfast too close to my run, I was really enjoying it. As we ran through New Cross Gate and Peckham I couldn’t help but to smile and feel a sense of pride of how far we had come since the beginning of our training 11-13 weeks ago.
I started my training in mid January this year struggling to make it past 1 mile, and now I was about to casually run 5 more miles than what it takes to complete a half marathon!! Oh yes, not only was I a little bit smug and proud, but for the first time in a very long time, I was enjoying the feeling of running and the thought of the many miles ahead.
But then the pain in my knees kicked in between 4½-5 miles and I was faced with a dilemma – I could either carry on running and ignore the pain, whilst potentially hurting myself so much I would miss out on the marathon OR I could swallow my damn pride (and the fear of not being prepared enough come race day) and stop running.
A lot of thoughts rushed through my head for the following 3,3 miles, but in the end, I decided nothing was worth putting my well-being and race day at risk, so I stopped 8,3 miles in.
Annoyed, disappointed, sad, angry, jealous and defeated are just a few words that describes how I felt as I said goodbye to Cata by Oval tube station. I never thought I would be jealous of anybody having to run 18 miles (for “fun”) – yet there I stood on the platform, waiting for the train with a big lump in my throat.
As I shed a few tears being my sunglasses I realised how much this journey means (and has meant) to me, how determined I am to make it to the end, and how badly I want to run this marathon.
Those 26,2 miles might scare me to the core of my being, but the thought of not being able to run them due to injury that was a result of my own stupidity and stubbornness scare me even more.
So with that in mind, the plan for the next 10 days are as follows:
MARATHON TRAINING WEEK 14:
- Foam roll
- Do strengthening exercises to improve knees and related body parts