In 2013 I tried that same race and at halfway I was struggling to decide if I’d call my husband to pick me up because I could barely step with my left foot, or if I would persist and finish. I finished, but it took my forever to recover from injury.
Then on the following year I was feeling so well overall, after changing my diet, that I decided to sign up for the same race again to prove to the race and to myself that I could beat it injury-free. And so I did in 2014. I planned to walk 6 miles/jog 7, ended up jogging 10 and walking only 3!!!!
The song on my phone on that day that best translated how I was feeling on that moment goes like:
“I’m on top of the world, hey. I’m on top of the world, hey!”
It was much tougher than the first one, in spite of the awesome sunny but cool weather, compared to the rain and cold of the first one.
And I know exactly what made it tougher.
Because I pushed my body more than I should have.
In 2011, I had no ambition to even try to run. I was a walker, was training to walk and was happy to walk a half-marathon, thinking of that as an accomplishment big enough.
Between 2011 and 2013, my preparedness level went down, as I was not walking as consistently as before throughout the year, and I did not got even closer to become a runner. Still a walker and a slower one for lack of training.
But still I got ambitious thinking I could try to run at least a little part of it.
I did try running before, and ran part of a 10 k in August and part of a 5 k in October. But since October, my training was very little and was focused more on walking than on running. I did only one training run. Just one!
But still I got ambitious thinking I could try to run at least a little part of it.
And that’s what made my feet very very unhappy.
The first mile I started running because I crossed the start line with a friend who is a runner. We never really stayed side by side because even with me trying to run, she is faster and I didn’t want and would not slow her down. So after crossing the line, off she went on her faster pace, while I stayed behind on my very slow jog. Before milestone 1, though, I had already switched to walking, as my right foot was starting to hurt a bit.
It is a bit common, though, that my foot hurts a bit in the beginning, but as it warms up the pain fades away and I can walk a lot with no pain.
The second mile, I walked most of it. I may have jogged a minute here, a minute there, but it was a walking mile. And by the time I reached milestone 2, the problem was a different one and on the other side. My left foot was getting numb. So now I had one foot hurting and another one numb. Great!
The third mile, then, was a listen-to-your-body-and-try-to-find-balance one, in which I was trying to figure out how to make my left foot come back no life and the right one to stop hurting. And I did find the balance. By milestone 3, I had realized that for the pain the solution was to slow down, while for the numbness the solution was to speed up, so my job was to find a speed that would please my 2 halves. And that speed turned out to be 3.8 mph.
For the fourth mile, my strategy was to keep that 3.8 mph speed to make my feet happy again and it worked great. So great that by milestone 4, I decided I could risk jogging a bit more and decided to try to jog for a full mile.
The fifth mile was jogging. It wasn’t too bad. I could feel I was forcing my right foot again, but it wasn’t hurting much. For the lower back, it seemed to be even more comfortable. My muscles were ok. They always are. I like my muscles. And I was able to keep a speed of 4.8. Yay! On milestone 5 I switched again to walking.
The sixth mile was a full mile of walking. I felt my feet harder when I switched to walking than while I was jogging, but then the pain went sort of away. That’s when I had the great idea to play intervals until the end. I could walk 6, jog 7, walk 8, jog 9, walk 10, jog 11, walk 12 and jog 13, crossing the finish line jogging. That’d be perfect! With that idea in mind, at milestone 6, I switched to jog again to go on with my plan.
Seventh mile was jogging again. But my feet was not as recovered now as it was at the beginning of mile 5, so I was not able to keep the same speed. I was still able to push myself to jog the whole mile, but at a slower speed of 4.3 and with some pain. I was actually looking really forward to see milestone 7 and be able to switch again.
On the eight mile, as I switched back to walk, my feet started hurting more again, just like between 5 and 6, but this time the pain was much worse. It was actually awful. OMG!!! Hard to put any weight on my right foot. And I still had 6+ more miles to go. At that point lots of things crossed my mind, and I was torn between:
listening to the clues my body was giving me and call my husband to pick me up half-way through
setting my mind to complete the race, after all in a endurance race the mind is more powerful than the body and should be the one not to give up.
Ambition + pride + though-headedness make me pick number 2 and set my mind to finish, regardless of the incredible pain I was feeling.
And of I went, to walk for 6 more miles in spite of the complains from my right foot.
At some point, left foot started complaining too, after all, with the other one refusing to support my weight I had to put more stress on it.
Miles 8, 9 and 10 were painful and hard. My focus turned to try to be able to make it in under 4 hours, since the course would close after 4 hours… So I was trying not to let my speed go below 3 mph. And I was able to keep it at around 3.1 mph, which should be enough.
At milestone 10 I called my husband to let him know that I had 3 more miles to go and I was doing 3 miles per hour, so I would be crossing the finish line in 1 hour, so he could plan to be there by that time to pick me up.
After that, I don’t know if it was a psychological effect of knowing the end was close, or if it was the fact that my body was starting to get used to be ‘abused’ by me with all that walking-in-spite-of-pain thingy, but I was able to increase my pace and speed a little bit, doing 3.4 mph.
And with that I crossed the finish line after 3:33:04! Yay! I made it in spite of all!!! And faster than last time, which had a time of 3:49.
But with all the pain, especially at that night after a soaking relaxing bath, I started wondering if I should be proud to have finished or stupid for pushing too hard?
Today, after 48 hours, my feet are much better, but still hurting more than they should. I’ve been using pain-relief creams, massage, and rest, but the thing is still there.
I tried to read a bit about feet injuries and I guess it could be plantar fasciitis (which I have and that’s why I’m a walker more than a runner), maybe in great extend my peroneal tendons, maybe a tiny bit of Achilles tendons, most likely a combination of all three.
But one thing is for sure. I finished it and I have my medal to prove it! And in a few years I will have forgotten all the pain, but will still have the memory of finishing one more race.
So I guess that answers my questions and tells me I can be proud, just a bit more cautious next time.
What a better way to start a blog than in the night before my second half-marathon.
I like to walk and I have been participating in smaller races for the past 2 and a half years.
Tomorrow morning I’ll be participating at the 2013 Lake Sammamish Half-Marathon.
The first one I did was about a year and a half ago, in November 2011. At that time, I was training a lot and was able to finish the 13.1 miles in 3 hours 49 minutes, without pushing myself too much.
This time I am not as prepared, as I haven’t been able to train much. But I still think I can do in under 4 hours. Well, I actually have to, since the course closes after 4 hours anyways…
When I signed up for tomorrow’s event, I had the idea of maybe trying to jog part of it. I trained jogging once and never again, so I gave up the idea and will just walk. But I’m still open to see how I feel and how well I do it. If at the time I feel I can jog a bit, I will. But just a bit.
But it’s getting late and tomorrow the day will be busy. So I’ll go get some sleep and I’ll tell you tomorrow how it went.
PS. I must confess I’m already thinking of my third one… just thinking though… 😉