My running goes on, despite my lack of blogging about it. I think I might've exhausted all the interesting topics about marathon training the last go 'round because the more I try to come up with an entertaining blog entry, the more I realize running really is just about putting one foot in front of the other. One can only make that sound fascinating for so long.
Nevertheless, I'm plugging along... although I'm still enduring my share of speedbumps. Until I have reason otherwise, I'm choosing to believe the opinion of my physical therapist that the pain in my shin is NOT a stress fracture. It must be one mother of a shin splint, though, because there are mornings after a run when I feel like my entire lower leg is about to self-amputate any moment. I suppose that would make for an entertaining blog entry, so you might want to stay tuned.
I stuck to a week of rest last week, but then decided I needed to get back into the swing of things and ran a long 14 miles on Saturday morning. Energy-wise, I felt like I could go forever (meaning maybe another mile or two). But again, those nasty speedbumps in the form of an achy shin and some stubborn tendonitis in my knee crept up, casting that shadow of doubt over my ability to continue on with this silly goal of mine. I constantly remind myself if running a marathon were easy, everybody would be doing it. I don't necessarily want it to be easy because then where would be the sense of accomplishment, right? But couldn't we try for semi-easy? I'd even go for somewhat difficult.
Before this blog entry really plummets downhill, however, I'll employ my inherent optimistic attitude and make note of a few positive observations from my last month of training:
- The only hard part about running early in the morning is initially forcing yourself into the vertical position it requires. Once overcoming that hurdle, running in the morning is positively divine. The air is fresh and cool, the sunrise is casting its glow over the fields and the roads are quiet and serene. There is something very satisfying about coming in from an hour long run before most people have even attempted to clean the sleep gunk out of their eyes.
- Ice baths are only excruciatingly painful for the first 30 seconds. If you can get through that part, you're golden. I've learned to bring a book or magazine while ice bathing to take my mind off the discomfort... which although may not work entirely, it at least fills my mind with some useful knowledge instead of focusing on my desire to shoot my frozen legs off. And once your legs finally do go numb, the trick is to NOT MOVE AN INCH. If you do, you'll just have to go through the whole miserable process again. I think, were I to be presented with the choice, I'd almost always go for a warm bubble bath, but ice baths definitely have their place. Maybe next time I'll try it with a little soft music and candlelight, see if that helps.
- Energy gels are an evil necessity for distance running, but I've finally discovered a flavor that doesn't actually taste like warmed snot. Ironically, it was the flavor I avoided all this time, thinking it would be second only in disgust factor to drinking the juice out of a jar of sweet pickles. The flavor is chocolate, of course. Of course! Is there anything chocolate-flavored that doesn't taste better? How foolish of me to ever think otherwise. When I tried my first chocolate GU, I had to look at the package again just to make sure it wasn't a melted Snickers candy bar. Okay... maybe it wasn't that good, but I can guarantee I won't be buying strawberry banana or mango tangerine energy gels again anytime soon. Kind of like I won't be choosing an apple over a chocolate chip cookie as a post-run snack anytime soon.
So, there's my status quo. Could be better, but could be a lot worse. I'm still running and as long as that's the case, life is good.