Saturday, December 11, 2010

20 miles

There are many different runs. Some leave you feeling exhilarated. Others leave you feeling accomplished. And then there are the runs that leave you feeling gutted and devoid of any mental or physical energy.

Want to guess which sort of run I had today for my 20 miler?

YEP! The one where your soul is totally dead by the end.

Okay, so it wasn't ALL bad. I was well hydrated and ate a good breakfast and started out feeling very strong. I felt some tightness on the outer part of my knee. My right hamstring had been bothering me a little bit after Tuesday's treadmill run but I had rested for a couple of days and figured that I would be fine. But as I started in the early miles of the run I felt like there was a rubber band being tightened on that part of my leg. It was annoying but manageable.

Around 9 miles we stopped to go to the bathroom. No big deal. But as we started up again I found myself hobbling. The "manageable" pain was worse and it was causing me to compensate by leaning to my left. At this point I realized that what I thought was hamstring pain was probably my IT band, and I started to freak. I have friends who have had ITBS and it was painful and sometimes lead to physical therapy. NOT ALLOWED on my second to last long run before my first marathon.

Fast forward to mile 13 and I was on the verge of tears. It wasn't even that the pain was that overwhelming, it wasn't. It was the fear that this one little thing could have negated months of training. Liz was helpless as I kept myself together by a thread. I made a decision that I'd run until the pain stopped me and until then I'd suck it up and just GO.

By mile 17 the pain hadn't gotten worse, but it also hadn't gotten any better. At this point I's ascertained that it hurt more to go from a stop to a run than to just keep running. This should have been motivation to just run it out, but instead it was frustrating to get stuck at traffic lights as we ran through downtown Boston. I thought to myself "I could just take the bus back to Liz's apartment, it wouldn't be a big deal," followed directly by "STOP BEING A WIMP, YOU HAVE FELT WORSE PAIN THAN THIS AND SURVIVED. SHUT UP AND RUN."

So I ran. Well, actually I think it was more of a weird shuffle than actual running. If I'm being honest, what got me to the end was more that I knew it would hurt more to walk the remaining distance than to just run it out. When I finally finished I did cry a little. Training for a marathon, or any race for that matter, is an emotional process. I have realized that I am even more stubborn than I'd originally thought. Despite feeling awful I refused to let the run beat me.

I realized long ago that not every run is going to be the kind that leaves you feeling amazing and exhilarated. I've also learned that it's the runs that gut you from head to toe that make you a runner.

29 DTM!


Mary McManus said...

That is an incredible quote Jessie - it's the runs that gut you that make you a runner - woo hoo! Oh girl you ARE a marathoner. xoxo - see you next Sunday.

Jana from Running Vegetarian said...

Good job girl!

I had issues with my IT band before. NOT FUN!

I remember training for my 1/2. You are right that training for a race, especially your first race of a certain distance, is an emotional process. I cried several times during my training and I imagine I will cry many times during my marathon training.

Dori said...

So sorry about the pain. Please ice, take naproxen and rest. And I KNOW the marathon will be better than this run! Regardless, YOU RAN 20 MILES!!!

Every Little Thing said...

Congrats on finishing through the pain! All your training will get you through, but mostly it's your mental toughness that will win you each race :)

Unknown said...

I'm amazed at your strength and determination. Pushing through pain is always tough and ends up being way more emotional than you think it will, but the fact that you powered through and kicked ass shows just how strong you are in every way.

Kori said...

You're a badass. I'll remember this when I'm crying during my training in March.

Unknown said...

@mary - thank you for your tireless support and optimism. looking forward to seeing you soon!

@jana - i've never had issues with my IT. that's probably clear by the fact that i thought it was my hamstring ha! i cry a lot while i'm training for races, and for different reasons. sometimes it's frustration, sometimes it's pride -- the emotions run the gamut, that's for sure.

@dori - i did run 20 miles!! i'm going to do all of that plus buy a foam roller so i can stretch. i hope the pain goes away soon

@stacy - that's such a great quote, it's so true that your mind can take you further than your body ever will.

@monica - yes, i felt totally raw (mentally and physically) at the end of the run. i actually asked liz "now that i'm done, can i cry now?" haha.

@kori - if you cry nearly as much as i do, you may want to invest in some serious boxes of kleenex! :)

KJ said...


When I finished my marathon, (oh gosh, almost 3 years ago...) I wanted to cry so bad, and started to, but the gasping breathing and sobs were not working for

Unknown said...

I am so proud of you! 20 miles is awesome. You are so strong. I already told you you're my marathon training hero. so commited. Training is not easy. But the marathon will be with what you've been doing. You realize you're on par for a sub 5 and thats amazing for a first timer with past knee issues etc. I am so proud of you!!Keep it up

Unknown said...

@kj - i am certain that i will probably cross the finish line and burst into a mess of tears. and then i'll probably fall and have to crawl off to the finisher's corral. haha

@ashley - aw thank you lady, you've been so optimistic and supportive and i really do appreciate it! just need to get through the next few weeks.. so close!!

Betsy said...

Congrats on your 20 miler. Training is tough, but you're doing awesome!

Penelope said...

Awesome job!! I injured my IT band while running a half marathon last May and am just now recovering. It's the worst!! I ran *one* mile last night, for the first time in months, and I can't wait to get back on there.

So inspiring to hear about you pushing through 20 miles!