It's been a while since I've done an update on my running, so here goes. At the beginning of the year I set the goal of running at least 625 miles by December 31st. I want to run an average of at least 12 miles each week (either four 3-mile runs or three 4-mile runs). I figured that would be a reasonable enough goal for myself. Even if I don't plan to do any marathons this year, 12 miles is a modest weekly mileage that I should be able to maintain just for general fitness.
Well... I haven't done such a good job of that so far. I ran 34.5 miles in January (not terrible), but only 4 miles in February. The trip to see James in Europe really threw me out of my routine. I started back in March and ran 48 miles, but April was a dismal 26. Traveling for our house hunting trip got me out of my routine again and I've had a hard time getting back in. Since the start of May I've only run 7.8 miles (4 in the last week), but I'm hoping to get in at least another 10 next week. If you've been keeping up with the math, that's only 120.3 so far for the year. I have 504.7 miles to go!
I haven't run a full marathon since the Kentucky Derby Marathon in April 2007. It was a rough experience. We'd run the Virginia Beach Marathon a month before, but I didn't run a single step during the six weeks between the two races (BIG MISTAKE). I was okay until about mile 13 or 14. Then my joints really started to ache. The thing about the Kentucky Derby Marathon is that the first half of the race is fantastic. The half-marathon (they call it a "mini" marathon... weird) is great. Lots of support on the course, lots of spectators, and you get to run through Churchill Downs. But as soon as the full and half marathons split off from one another around mile 12, the course goes completely dead. There were very few water stations and only one medical station. At one point, my hip was hurting so badly that I was literally in tears. The pain was excruciating. Eventually we found a medical station and I popped a couple Motrin to keep the pain at bay so I could keep going. We were on pace to finish before the course closed... but only barely.
The race took place in downtown Louisville and the city had posted notices saying that the downtown area would be closed to vehicle traffic until 4:00 PM. When we got to about mile 19, the Louisville PD started moving runners onto the sidewalk so they could reopen the roads to cars. By mile 22, my right Achilles tendon was hurting so badly that I was afraid I might actually injure myself. I wanted to stop and walk, but I didn't want to get pulled off the course (there's my pride rearing it's ugly head). James' Camelbak was empty and the volunteers had shut down the water and aid stations!! I was just barely able to keep moving and now there was NO water. Furious and desperate doesn't even begin to describe how I was feeling. After mile 24, an SUV almost ran me over because the cop posted at the intersection wasn't stopping traffic for runners anymore.
We finally crossed the finish line with a time of 5:50:16. My hands were swollen so badly that my fingers looked like giant sausages and my ring finger was slightly discolored. My hip felt like my leg was going to fall off. And my Achilles felt like it would snap in two at any moment. It was horrible. Never before or since have I known pain like I felt that day. Thank God it wasn't my first marathon because I would never have done another one if I didn't know how good an experience it can be. It was mostly my own fault. I took too much time off before the race and wasn't properly prepared. But it was also partly the race organizers' fault for shutting down the water stations before the course closed. Even though I know all this, I haven't been able to make myself run another full marathon since. I just have this huge mental block because I'm so afraid of getting myself in the same situation again... being under-trained and under-prepared. But I think I'm ready now.
So James and I are planning to run the inaugural Crazy Horse Marathon in Hill City, South Dakota in October. I have 19 weeks to train. My goal is to be able to run the entire 26.2 miles without walking a step so that I can run a PR (personal record) at the Outer Banks Marathon in November, and finish in less than 5 hours at the Little Rock Marathon next March. It's going to be a real challenge training during July and August when the heat/humidity peak for the year, but we'll just have to take that one day at a time. So for the next 19 weeks I'm going to do regular updates on how my training is going, as well as details about my workouts and the results. Crazy Horse, here I come!