OK, even I'm starting to think that maybe this marathon training isn't exactly the healthiest thing to be doing.
This weekend was my final training run: the 20-miler. After a teeny-tiny freakout following the 18-miler a couple weeks ago, I listened to advice from people (thanks!) and re-thought my runs. I parked my car in Griffith Park such that I had a 4-mile north loop and 4-mile south loop; I could then hit my car every 4 miles for some gel and some water (as opposed to going 6-7 miles between breaks last time.) HUGE difference. I actually ran the entire distance. I was ready to die at the end, but I made it.
You've seen my shoes. They are old and gross, and I knew long ago that I would need a new pair before doing the marathon. I also knew that it wasn't a good idea to run a marathon on a brand new pair of shoes. I did some research, and it seems that people generally buy their new shoes about a month before the big day. That gives them plenty of time to break them in. So last week - 1 month out - I bought my new running shoes. And yes, they are a bit stiff.
Smart: putting your clothes out the night before a run.
I did my run at the Rose Bowl today. It was pretty cold - in the low 50s - when I started. Normally when it's that cold I break out the jogging pants. The tight, form-fitting, clingy pants. It ain't pretty, but they are warm and very comforatble to run in, and if strangers have to see me, so be it. But since it was President's Day for some reason I wanted to wear my red-white-and-blue shorts so I froze a bit and wore them instead. Thank goodness. During the run I ran into a bunch of friends (like 8 of them) who were out for a stroll around the Rose Bowl. I already felt self-conscious enough in my red-white-and-blue, stars-and-stripes "Captain America" style bike shirt I was wearing; they didn't need to see me in stretchy pants too.
I've been doing most of my runs along the dirt horse trails in Griffith Park. The mostly-packed dirt is much softer and flatter than the pavement, so it's easier on the knees/shins/feet. The problem with dirt trails is that they're... well... dirty. It's especially bad when you pass a horse which has kicked up a huge cloud of dirt which then sticks to every sweaty body part you have.
For several months I've pictured myself finishing the L.A. Marathon. I envisioned running past thousands of spectators along the Los Angeles streets, then crossing the finish with a big smile on my face as I looked back on my accomplishment. But tonight, I had an Epiphnay. I will not be crossing the finish line with a triumphant smile; I will be crossing it writhing in pain.
I woke up this morning planning on doing the Next Big Run: this one is supposed to be 18 miles. But for some reason my left shin feels really bad. It's not quite painful, but it's definitely "discomfort with extreme prejudice". It;s odd because it felt fine after Thursday's run and it wasn't bothering me yesterday.
OMG, you're not going to believe where I got a blister. Somehow, and maybe this could only happen to me, I managed to get a blister on my forehead.
You would think it's pretty simple to go for a run. Put on some sneakers and go, right? Wrong. I feel like I'm packing for vacation every time I go out. If I do a long run after work, this is what I have to remember to bring with me:
Remember a month ago when I realized that having to go to an expo the day before a race to pick up your registration packet helped build excitement for the race? Well that novelty wears out quick. I had to drive 120 miles today round-trip to pick up my packet for the Pacific Shore Half Marathon. No, it didn't get me psyched.
I finally decided to start skipping some mid-week runs. Stupid Dutch has been giving me a lot of advice about recovering from runs (ice baths, rest, drugs), and I usually just blow him off but he finally convinced me that running while my shins are still hurting is not a good idea. Because he's been so supportive, I should probably refer to him with a more respectful title so you may see me referring to him as Coach Stupid Dutch from time to time.