Let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk about all the good runs and the bad runs that may be….
Uh, sorry. Having a nineties flashback for a minute there. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while but not sure what to say about my running this training season. At the same time, I felt like I wanted to give an overview before I start doing more frequent posts about training and running and races (I mean, this is a running blog, supposedly. Says so right there in the name.)
So most of you reading this know that I’m training for the Chicago marathon, and people are usually impressed when they find out that I trained during treatment — that I ran as soon as I was cleared after surgery and all through chemo and radiation. I’m not going to lie, it’s been the hardest training season I think I’ve ever had. There were days when all I could do was put one foot in front of the other. I’ve pushed too hard and made myself sick (only once, thankfully). I’ve had to slow down. I’ve had to walk on occasion. I’ve been passed by walkers when I was “running.” Some days, running in the morning means spending the rest of the day on the couch.
And I know – I GET IT – that I’ve been through, you know, a pretty difficult year. I know that a double mastectomy is a pretty major surgery and that I still haven’t finished reconstructive surgeries (the tissue expanders can be pretty uncomfortable at times). I know that I underwent cardiotoxic chemo. I know that I had left-side chest radiation that most likely affected my heart and lungs. But it’s still hard to work so, so, hard at something and not get any better at it. It’s still hard to see how long it takes me to do a workout. Today it took me 2 hours to run a mile, run 10 hill repeats of 1/5 of a mile each (and walk back down), and then run a mile home. Last year that might have taken me an hour and a half. When you’re looking at 5 miles total, a half hour is a big difference.
I promised myself when I got the email that I had gotten into Chicago that I would never miss a training run that I was physically capable of doing, and I would give myself about a 93% on that – solid A. But I also promised myself, after we ran Goofy in 2015, that I’d never run another marathon unless I had gotten faster – my first 2 marathons were 7:05 and 7:03, respectively. I worked really hard to get faster last year, and initially thought I’d have close to a 2 hour PR in this race, or a 5 hour finish. Now? Based on my latest training runs, it’s going to be closer to 8 hours. And I’m honestly really pissed off about that. The whole point was NOT to make people wait around on my slow ass to finish a race, not to be embarrassed to tell people my time, not to have long runs that took 5 or 6 hours to complete in training.
Will I get faster? I assume so. I certainly hope so. It’s only been two weeks since radiation ended, and although I don’t really know how or when the effects of all of this will go away, but it’s safe to say it probably takes more than 2 weeks. On the other hand, will I get faster before Chicago? I doubt it. It’s 38 days away and I need to taper down before I run it, so I don’t have much time left to actually improve.
I’m still going to run the marathon, of course. I am capable of running Chicago, and we have our tickets and a place to stay, and tickets to see Hamilton and plan to see friends who live nearby. I’m going to “just do it,” as Nike would say. But I’m still coming to terms with the reality that I will probably not finish in the allotted time of 6:30 (my pared-down A goal) and I will probably not get a PR (my B goal). Which means I’m settling for my C goal – to finish. Honestly, I’m still working on being okay with that. But I’ll get there. On race day, I’ll lace up my shoes and strap on my water belt and go out and toe the starting line and see what happens. So far, that’s been a pretty successful strategy.