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Austin Marathon Training, Week 6

We are made of our longest days. We are falling, but not alone. We will take the best parts of ourselves and make them gold. We are made of our smallest thoughts. We are breathing and letting go. We will take the best parts of ourselves and make them gold.
— Chvrches

I love running.  I love running so much, but I am discouraged.  I’m so discouraged.  I am doing everything in my power to train my body so that I can run this marathon, but my body doesn’t want to work with me.  I’m still having trouble with my IT band.  Even after all the strength training, all the cross training, all of it.  So, I’m discouraged.  It was a busy, tiring, and hard week.  Here’s my recap of the week.

Monday—hips, core, arms, and foam rolling

After my slightly painful long run the day before, I wanted to rest my body a bit more than I normally do.  I spent most of the day sitting around the house and working and then focused on foam rolling in the evening.  It was so painful.  So painful.  I also added in some planks and some Tone It Up arm exercises, which always makes me feel pretty good.  I think I’m going to invest in some heavier weights in the near future so that I can keep gain muscle rather than just sticking with the tiny five pound dumbbells that I’ve been using.  It’s not hurting me or anything, but I think I need something heavier.  In any case, I ended with the clam shell leg lifts that were advised to me by my physical therapist way back when I was first going for my IT band, and that’s always challenging and feels pretty good.

Tuesday—3.24 mile run with Ole

Ole and I ventured back to Zilker Park for a quick 5K loop over lunch.  I felt pretty good about the pace—I actually felt pretty fast, toward the end.  While our average pace wasn’t very fast, keep in mind that Ole did his business twice in the first mile, and I stopped at a public restroom as well.  So we stopped several times at the beginning, which definitely affected our total pace.

Wednesday—rest

I hadn’t been intending to rest today, but I had several meetings in the afternoon and it’s just what happened.  I did walk Ole to our normal swimming hole, but otherwise, I mostly stayed in the apartment for the day.

Thursday—hips + core

I normally run on Thursdays, but it was a weird Thursday.  I started the day with an appointment with a mechanic, because my check engine light came on while driving back from our run on Tuesday.  It turns out my car was actually pretty sick and had to stay, so H had to come pick me up there, and then I had to drop him off at work.  It was a long commute of a morning, and I was pretty late for work at that point, so I spent most of the day trying to get all of my work hours in, and then I had to go pick H up from work, too.

Friday—1.75 mile trail run with Ole

I had this plan to explore a nearby trail with Ole, but I realized that the water was too high, so crossing the creek to get to this trail was a nightmare.  I did eventually find and complete a short trail run with a lot of altitude increase and decrease, but I technically broke the law—Ole wasn’t supposed to be on this trail because it’s an endangered bird habitat.  Because of the difficulty getting to the trail through the creek, I brought him with me on a short leash.  Never again, though—having some solo trail running time would do me some good.  The distance was pretty short on this day, but it was one of the more difficult trail runs I’ve done—the inclines were steep and the trails narrow.  I’ll definitely be going back to this trail—it was such a good workout.

Saturday—30 minutes of total body

I’ve started a new Saturday morning tradition at home.  I wake up at 7:00 am, take Ole outside, and then feed him.  I make myself some breakfast and bring it back to bed with me, along with my computer.  I then write for however long Andrew sleeps or says it’s okay that I do so.  (I’ve been doing a decent amount of freelance writing, which I love—I’ll continue to update my Freelance page as I keep getting new projects and have things published.)  I’m usually out of bed and ready to be active by 10:00 or 11:00 am, which is when I do my cross training or strength training.  On this particular Saturday, I went through my total body routine (which I detailed in last week’s post).  I could feel the burn in my shoulders, which I love—I’m hoping to find some way to become a regular yoga participant and start trying to do inverted poses.  The first step is strengthening your shoulders!

Sunday—9.85 mile trail run with Ole

This run… hurt.  It hurt so bad.  Ole spent about half the time off the leash, which he loved, but I didn’t love so much.  He just… he doesn’t stay close enough to me for me to always know what he’s up to.  And he has the tendency to swim and then shake off on strangers.  Oy.  Dogs, man.  That isn’t why the run was painful, though.

No, it was painful because I first rolled both of my ankles several times, and then, about 6 miles in, my knee started to hurt.  I was able to fight through it last weekend, but I think I was more tired this time.  My gait was already a little bit different because I’d rolled both of my ankles.  I was trying to run through it, to stretch it out, to do whatever it took to get through the ten mile run.  None of it was working.  By the time I was finished, I was near tears.  They weren’t so much tears of pain as they were tears of frustration.  I want this marathon.  I want it terribly.  And so far, I keep get thwarted by my own body.

I talked to H about it extensively, and he suggested that I stay on my training plan and see how it goes.  If I can’t work through the pain in a ten-miler, I should up the ante on the hip strengthening.  And if that doesn’t work, and I can’t get through the twenty-milers, then I should temporarily give up the dream.  Again.  So that’s where I’m at.  I have a 12-miler next weekend—I’m going to add hip strengthening exercises to each and every day this week and hope that makes a difference.  We’ll see.  But this was my trail pace this time:

So, as you can see, I’m feeling discouraged and frustrated this week.  I am feeling like I’m on top of the world in other aspects of my life, including my job, my home life, and my creative life.  But I can’t seem to get this marathon in the books.  It’s making me miserable.  I don’t want to believe that it’s not in the cards for me.  I just need to regroup, H says.  So I’m spending the coming week regrouping.  I hope it helps.

-A.

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