This week was a lesson in patience.
Due to the holidays, my training plan for these first few weeks has looked a little different. While I will normally do long runs on Saturdays, I’ve had to move them to Sundays due to Christmas and New Years. That has given me Monday as a rest day with Tuesdays and Thursdays as easy runs and Wednesdays as the speed run.
With that in mind, I strategically scheduled my booster shot appointment (get vaxxed friends!!) for Wednesday. That way, if I had any side effects, I would only miss Thursday’s easy run and be good to go by New Year’s Eve. Neither of the first two shots hit me hard so I was hopeful that I could maybe even make up the run on Friday.
I didn’t want to wait to get boosted until after the marathon so I figured best to get it done early in training so I didn’t miss anything.
Luckily, I had no side effects except a sore arm. But on Thursday, it was sore enough that I had to take a full rest day since I could barely extend it in any direction. Since I didn’t have any other side effects, I was hoping it’d feel better by the next day so I could make up the six miles. Unfortunately, though it felt ten times better when I woke up on Friday, I still had a bit of stiffness in my underarm area.
This is when I had to force myself to be patient and make the smart decision to take that extra rest day. My instinct when it comes to fitness has always been to tough it out, which is admirable but ultimately stupid. I had to convince myself that I wasn’t making up an excuse to not run, and that six miles in the Florida heat could really exacerbate the pain.
As the day went on, the soreness disappeared almost completely. If it wasn’t NYE, I probably would have pushed myself to do an evening run but by the time I felt well enough, it was too late to squeeze it in.
So I took two full, consecutive rest days.
And you know what? On Sunday, I beat last week’s 10 mile run by 20 whole minutes.
Sunday was the hottest run I’ve done so far. Already pushing into the 80s in the early morning with 95% humidity and not a single cloud in the sky for cover. I was DREADING the 10 miles all weekend. Especially after three days of not running at all, and four days since the last easy run.
The first mile confirmed my anxiety. I felt so sluggish and slow and tired. And then I got into mile two and felt a bit better. And then mile three felt pretty good. By the time I reached my best friend’s house for a water break at the end of mile four, I actually felt pretty good and was surprised to see I was averaging a faster pace than last week.
If it wasn’t so hot, I would have felt great. The sun was brutal, but my leg and arm muscles felt good. After another water break at my cousins’ house a mile later (halfway point), I was actually really surprised at how good I felt.
Yes I was exhausted and drenched in sweat and my face was so red it was practically purple. But my energy levels were high. My muscles felt strong. Another five miles actually felt doable (which believe me, did NOT feel that way last week).
I was worried that I wouldn’t have another water break for the second half but the majority of it was in shade so it was actually okay. Despite a bit more walking breaks and starting to really feel fatigued around mile seven, my pace was still pretty steady and much better than last week’s.
I hit mile ten at just over two hours (20 full minutes faster than last week!!) and as the sweet sweet view of my house came into view, I realized I was feeling pretty okay. Parched and purple sure but okay. A bit of soreness while stretching but nothing like last week when I felt like I couldn’t move at all.
It’s amazing to feel my body getting used to these runs. I feel exhilarated when I’m done. Proud and powerful. Truly an amazing feeling.
And even though right now, I look ahead to the 15-20 mile long runs and feel positively terrified, I just think back to three weeks ago when doing 8-10 felt insurmountable.
One more week to complete my first full month of training.
Yeah I got this.