So here it is, one week from the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Race ... a race I've been training for since the middle of February ... and as the time gets closer, I'm beginning to doubt myself. So far, I've been running up to 8.6 miles, and have even clocked 9.79 miles accidentally, but with the left knee pain I've been having, I don't know if I'll be able to finish.
I chatted with my coach at this weekend's training run at Monument Valley Park. This is our "taper off" week before the race so we weren't training at Garden of the Gods, and I asked her if I had a good chance of successfully finishing the race based on my longest runs thus far. She had admonished me a couple of weeks ago that I was running too far so I lightened up on my training, but now with the race a week away and me only running 8.5 miles on my long run days, I'm worried I won't finish. She knows about my knee pain and assures me I will make it, so I trust her. I'm just not sure if I can trust my body.
Everyone I talk to, I wax nostalgic about the joys of running, and wish that everyone who is physically capable of running, would do it. When I look in the mirror at the transformation my body has gone through from the running and weight lifting, I am amazed. Not only do I have muscles where only flab used to exist, but emotionally, I am soaring through the clouds. My thighs are muscular, my calves, my arms, even my buttocks are shaping up with all this training! So surely, with all these new muscles and hard work I've done, I'll make it, right?
After reaching the halfway mark of Goose Gossage Park on Saturday's run, the pain was so bad I ended up walking about a half a mile before reaching Fontanero Street. I haven't had to walk since our very first training run back in February, so I was a bit depressed and disappointed. As I came down the home stretch, though, I was encouraged to see all the Nielsen Challenge runners giving it their all to reach their 2-mile finish line, so I pushed past the pain and jogged the rest of the way to our designated parking lot. It was nothing a little Aleve, ibuprofen, and ice couldn't fix. At least, temporarily.
Looking back at the last 15 weeks, I am proud of how far I've come and all the hard training I've completed. On race day, if I have to walk, I have to walk. My initial goal was to finish, and if walking is required, then that's okay by me. However, if I do need to walk, then at least it'll give this Tortoise more incentive to train harder for next year's race in order to beat this year's time.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race! Or at least, FINISHES the Race!