I’m starting to worry a little bit. We are in our sixth week of training and the back of my ankle has begun to throb. I dismissed the pain for the last three weeks, assuming it would disappear. Unfortunately, the pain has gradually gotten worse.
Last Saturday we ran 10 miles. That’s the most we have ever run in our lives. However, I think it only added to the pain in my leg. I fear it may be tendonitis, which is my biggest fear. Ever since I tore ligaments in my right ankle a couple of years ago I have dealt with tightness in my ankle. Luckily I went to physical therapy for two months following my injury and I assumed it was much stronger now. I feel, though, that my previous injury is directly related to the pain. The funny thing is I can run faster than I could a year ago. The pain usually subsides about five minutes into my run, but when I stop it slowly creeps up again. I wanted nothing to derail me from my training program, but it’s looking like I may have to take a week off and see how my ankle responds. That’s hard for me to even think about and harder for me to even attempt.
Running is my escape and it is something that I need in my life right now. I have been so excited since we started training for the Rock n’ Roll marathon in San Antonio that I have been willing to fight through my shin splints and knee pain, but I know this is far more serious. I fear that I may tear my Achilles tendon, which I believe I came close to during my recovery from my torn ligaments. That lingering pain is a voice that tells me to slow down. I just don’t know how I can do that. I never thought I would be a runner, not like this. I have surpassed all my expectations and I expect to continue to do so. I know, however, that I must remain healthy and listen to my body. It is just becoming increasingly difficult as the half marathon approaches. It is about a month away now and I want to be more than ready for it. I want it to be the beginning of many races to run in the future, but today is just one of those days where the future seems so far away. I guess for now all I can do is pray and hope.
I never thought I was a long distance runner. To be honest, I never thought I was much of a runner at all. Time has a way of skewing perceptions of yourself, especially when once familiar things have become absent. I was once fast. My legs were never strong and they were way too short for long advantageous strides, but I used them well. I sought after quick taps to the ground and rapid churning of the legs to separate myself from slower runners. But, a brief stint running track in third grade sidelined any hopes of a future life in running. A half-mile race and a second to last place finish engrained in my mind that I was never meant to be a long distance runner. I remember feeling slightly disappointed at my finish because deep down I knew I never pushed hard enough. My goal at the time was, ‘don’t let this guy behind you pass you.’ Thus, I settled for mediocrity.
In my twenties the most I ever ran was a mile and I was proud of myself for clocking seven minutes. It reinforced once again that I could run quick for shorter distances, but that I was never meant to run more than a mile. I hadn’t learned how to pace myself. I was like a horse in the starting gates, determined to get out quickly. I was never much of a cardio workout person. I preferred to linger around the weights. But then something happened before I turned thirty. I started working out hard with my girlfriend and actually doing workout videos – they are hard for a guy to do. Needless to say, I preferred to do it with shades drawn and lights turned low. During that time I started to realize I had more endurance than I thought possible. Part of the reason I hated workout videos was my perceived inability to keep up with them. I have to hand it to all women for putting themselves through such torture. My respect level for any workout class has increased dramatically.
In an attempt to further our new cardio regiment my girlfriend and I started running frequently. We started with three miles, gradually increasing the length to five. It was an amazing feeling every single time we finished, granted it was on a treadmill. After a couple of months we decided to run a 5k. Our goal, we told ourselves, was to finish. However, we both unexpectedly ran much faster than we ever thought possible. Every week we sought to get faster, but the treadmill hindered our progress. We believed that running outside was much harder and so we tended to stray from it. Finally we found a park that exceeded our expectations and found we loved to run outside. Yes, it can be harder to run outside in that there is no air condition in the summer, but nonetheless we kept with it. To our amazement we won medals in our respective age groups for a 5k. We both felt a ‘What now?’ sort of a feeling and in the back of our minds loomed a feat we were both not determined to accomplish…A half marathon!
For me it was enough to be running 5 miles. 13.1 miles is ridiculous to even think about, or at least it once was. This blog is focused on our training along with the trials and tribulations of working towards finishing our first half marathon.