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Tenacity I have - The Lunch Hour Athlete

Training Log For: 02/05/10

Best runs in Los Angeles, California. Click Here.

Posted by Yvonne

This post is not part of the San Diego Rock N Roll story. But it will return next week.

"Marathons are about tenacity as much as talent. "
- John "the Penguin" Bingham

I did my longest run since starting training last saturday. 15 miles. I am not going to lie it was not easy. The week before that I had done 13 miles and I that went decently. So, I thought 2 more miles is nothing.

I knew I was tired from work and training the past week, but I had committed to this race and it couldn't all be peachy. If it was everyone would be doing it. So, I gathered my gear together, my water belt, one bottle filled with water and one filled with gatorade, three GU packs, my iPhone, extra hair ties, house key, bus money (just in case) and of course my iShuffle. I taped both feet up, to help with the plantar fasciitis, put my old orthotics (which I had not been a fan of lately) in my new running shoes. I headed out the door around 3 PM and knew that by the time I was back home it would no longer be light out. The mental struggle was already beginning and I hadn't even taken one step yet.

As I took my first steps into a warm-up jog, I knew it would take about 2 or 3 miles to find a comfortable stride and get mentally tough. The taping usually helps in the end, but the beginning breaking it in is never fun. Usually around 25 minutes into the run I start feeling good, the doubt goes away and I think for the first time I can do this and do it well. But I was around the spot that I normally start feeling good about myself and running and that feeling wasn't there. Instead it was replaced with pain and doubt. What happened? My feet were in so much pain, every step felt like a pounding. They ached and went in and out of being numb, from the balls of my feet to the top of my toes would go numb. I was used to one or two of my toes going numb during my runs, but it was fleeting and not debilitating. This was much different. What was going on? Were my shoes to tight? Was it mental? Was I too physically tired? I couldn't figure it out. All I knew was that I had 12 miles left and if I stopped now, I was afraid I would never finish. I kept running.

As I ran Sunset Blvd. west towards the Pacific Ocean, the uphills were normally something I looked forward to. I was always good at climbing hills. I always had strong legs for them. And once I got to the top I felt like a king (or rather queen). But not this time. This time the hills were literal uphill battles. A battle between my mind and physical pain in my feet. I kept thinking how unfair this was. I was in great cardiovascular shape and endurance was not a problem. The problem was my feet would not turn over faster and every time they landed on the pavement was extricating pain. It wasn't just the plantar fasciitis anymore. It had to be something else. But what?

Finally around mile 6 I pulled over and decided to take my shoes off and re-lace. I wasn't going to be able to run 9 more miles like this. I got back on the road and continued along my run. As I passed Temescal Canyon Road, I knew I was committing to this 15 miler run. But my feet already felt better. Why didn't I stop and fix my laces earlier. I am too stubborn, if this didn't prove it, I don't know what would.

As I reached PCH and what was supposed to be around 8 miles on my journey, I felt spent and discouraged. My feet felt better, but they were still sore. I think the damage had been done my taping and tight laces and was not going to get any better. Though I always bring bus money with me in case of an emergency, I thought it would be too big of a hit on my ego to quit now. I had mapped this route out like all my others and this was supposed to be mile 8, but it had nearly been 90 minutes already. And I hadn't run a 10 minutes mile in a long time. All could think was, "what is wrong with me?"

I took my second GU and continued along my way. And as I ran down PCH, I couldn't turn off my mind. Everything that I didn't want to think about was coming to mind. Making each step even more laborious. My best friend Amber was supposed to meet me here and run a few miles with me. She cancelled. My shirt was sticking to me and my bra rubbing my skin raw where the seams met. If I wasn't so fat, I would just take the shirt off. Why hadn't I worn a long sleeve. The sun was setting. The wind was picking up. I was wet and cold. And I still had 4 or 5 miles left. This was the worst run of my life. I would have paid someone to turn my mind off. This mental battle would prepare me well for the marathon. That was the only positive thing I could think off. If I could survive this, I could run this marathon. Or could I? If I had trouble with 15 miles, how could I expect to run 11 more miles? This was barely over half way past the marathon distance. And with that the little fleck of hope I had in my mind was gone. And my mind continued to go back 10 steps and forward one step for the next 4 miles.

I was less than a mile away from my front gate. And though most people probably couldn't tell, I was ecstatic to have made it, but I am sure I just looked exhausted. As I crossed Montana Avenue next to Brentwood Country Club, I looked both ways as normal, then crossed. I noticed a large SUV driving towards me in the distance, but it wasn't that close and I couldn't slow down I needed to get home. As I neared the other side of the road, I heard the SUV speed up then lay on their horn and honk as they passed me. Are all drivers this rude to runners? Or is it just in LA? Was that really necessary? What was he trying to prove? It wasn't like it would be much of a fight if they hit me. How much more hostile and rude can a human being be than to drive in a large SUV in a residential neighborhood, see a small female runner crossing the road, then speed up and honk in their ear? At the least this gave me something new to think about for the rest of my run.

I usually stop a quarter mile to my front door to walk and cool down. But this time I ran all the way to my front door. Because I was not physically tired. I was mentally tired and my feet had checked out a long time ago. I knew if I stopped to walk and cool down that it would just take twice and long to get home and it would be that much longer to be on my feet. As I walked in the front door, I knew I needed to stretch. But instead I found myself peeling off my clothes and jumping into the warm shower. Once I was dry and warm, then I stretched, grabbed a bite to eat, iced my poor feet, took several aspirin and before I knew it I had passed out in front of the TV. Thankfully, the roommate was gone this weekend.

The next day I drove the course I had just struggled through to double check my mileage. The odometer read 16.7 miles. Sometimes being a Virgo is a curse (read: overachiever). Thankfully my next long run was a week away and only 12 miles. This time I better not accidentally run 14 miles!