I wish you were a regular player on our dinner table, but when your average is around $5/pound, you have become a delicacy. I was thrilled to find you for $3.49/pound today. I bought a bundle and surprised Cora with you for dinner. She might love you even more than I do. Let's work on finding some common ground in the price department because you are always welcome here.
In other news, back in October, I registered to run my first half-marathon. And then approximately five minutes after I did that, I registered for my first full marathon. The half is the Lost Dutchman Marathon on February 16th in my hometown in Arizona. The full is the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon here on the streets of my very own city on April 27th.
There's a catch.
About two weeks after I started my training plan, when I was finishing up four miles at the midtown YMCA, I met runner's knee for the first time. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it is no joke. Not even an awkward laugh kind of funny. It's painful, and terrible, and I hate it. I took a week off, and read everything I could about it. I iced, I got a little knee band, and I went back at it.
Everything was going super amazing with my little knee band UNTIL I forgot it when we went to Jake's hometown for Christmas. I set off for a five-mile run. I was feeling good. When I got to two miles, I became aware of my knee. At 3.5 miles, I wanted to cry. I walk/ran the rest of the distance. The wise thing would have been to call for a ride. But no. I knew I could push through.
A few days later, back at home, I went out for six miles with my beloved knee band, but the same thing happened. About two miles in, my knee became miserable, but I knew I could push through. And by the time I called it quits, I'd gone about four miles. I got home, I iced, I read even more. I knew I needed to take more time off. You see, this isn't an instance where you should just run through the pain. Never. Not at all. Maybe if it started happening at the end of my half marathon, I could see it through, but no.
My fire has been lit. I've been ridiculously determined. I've had some of my all-time favorite runs in this stint of training mixed with recovery. My mind has been in the game, which is a major flip-flop from where it's been in the past. I've always known my body is capable, but when it gets hard, my mind never fails to ask (even when I ran in high school), "Why are we doing this again?" And I never had a good answer, so I didn't put as much as I could have into it. But I have a good answer this time. BECAUSE I WANT TO! (Plus a few more things.) Now, instead of my mind, my body really is hurt.
And being motivated and sticking to something is a really good thing, but it can also lead to denial. Me running through the pain was me being in denial. Big time denial. Now my half marathon in my hometown, at the base of my favorite mountain is 3.5 weeks away, and I can't not go. I HAVE TO GO. And I know I won't be the kind of ready I need [want] to be, but I want to be there.
So, even if I do more walking than running, my plan is to show up and leave my footprints on the course. I've been looking into switching my registration for the Memorial Marathon to the half-marathon. I don't know if it's possible yet. If not, I might very well be run/walking my first marathon on April 27th.
I'm focusing on strength training right now, and after a conversation with a friend (I'm talking about you, April) who has been knee-pain-free after switching to Newton running shoes, I found myself at Red Coyote (our super rad local running store) testing some out. Right now, the main contender is the Lady Isaac, but I'm also going to try on the Energy. I tried the Distance U, which is what my friend got, but it didn't fit the foot I had a stress fracture in as well as the Lady Isaac.
While at Red Coyote, I did another gait analysis. The evidence was so very clear. I am a MAJOR heel striker. Heel striking causes all kinds of issues on joints. The heel of my left foot (my injured leg) hits especially hard. Newtons were designed to help runners simulate natural running by getting them to land on their forefoot. (Not toes! Walkers land on their heels. Runners should land on their forefoot. Sprinters should bound on their toes.) I could really feel the difference when I was running in the Newtons on the treadmill and running back and forth on RC's little "track." I'm on a journey to fix my form.
Another thing to note: my current running shoes, which I have loved, are the Saucony Triumph 9's. Until recently, the standard drop from heel to toe was about 12mm. My triumphs have an 8mm drop, and I loved that transition. The Lady Isaacs have a 4.5mm drop (the Energy is 6mm). After I master landing on my forefoot, I might move to a 2mm drop. I definitely get the minimalist running movement. I wish you could see the stack of natural running books I have next to my bed. It all makes sense. My super cushy shoes of yesteryear have allowed my to get by with such an ugly heel strike because they've been absorbing my bad form. For some reason, my knee/IT band just had enough this time. (I'm not going to say that I didn't start out a little too strong in my training. Running felt really great until the moment it didn't. I was going with it.)
So, I'm still signed up for two first races. And I still want to do them. My expectations for my performance have definitely changed, but my desire to show up hasn't, and I'm really glad for that.
I've got my eye on the prize.