Tough Decisions

>> Friday, October 29, 2010

Last night I challenged myself. (I don't necessarily recommend you do this yourself, it's just something I did.) But with my knee. I can run up to 4 or 5 miles relatively pain-free . . . then the tightness and sharpness start to set in. I had 8 miles on my training plan, so after a week and a half of paying attention and heeding to pain, I wanted to see what would happen if I pushed myself.

Just a little push.

Stephen always says I'm "too conservative" with my training. Taking each and every twinge out of proportion. What would happen if I kept going after those warning signs? Would I have to stop? Or could I keep going?

Well, I started off the run, again, pain free. 35 minutes came around, and the tightness on the outside of my knee started. "Oh, great," I thought. So, I stopped and stretched. It got better. 10 minutes later, the sharp spot below and to the left of my kneecap started. I stopped and stretched. Felt a bit better. It was still tight, but another 10 minutes passed. Stopped and stretched again.

I kept repeating this process until I had finished 8.8 miles.

The pain level stayed relatively the same the whole way. Which isn't great news, but it's also not terrible. It felt so good to run. Seriously -- if my knee was in good shape right now, I can confidently say I could have run a PR marathon last night. I'm just that well rested and trained. And today I'm able to walk pain-free, so I think despite all the issues I'm having, it's getting at least somewhat better. :)

Which brings me to the frustrating decision I am 85% sure I have made: I will not run the Philadelphia Marathon in full. I can't see myself pushing to finish a 20-mile run this week. It doesn't seem like a smart thing to do. This means I really won't be ready. Nor do I want to have some awful pain crop up during the race and have to DNF or finish hobbling to the end point.

It's hard enough when I'm at my healthiest. And the "anything to finish" attitude doesn't sit well with me in this case. (Or ever, really. You shouldn't drag yourself through something if you are in complete agony!)

I emailed the race directors at Philly, and they said as long as I'm not trying to run a LONGER race (I'm not jumping from a half marathon entry to a full) . . . I will finish with an official time. Meaning: Though I'm not technically in the half marathon, if I choose to only finish the first half . . . I will still get a time. I won't disappear into some DNF oblivion like I did at Wineglass.


Because if I decide ahead of time that I'm only running the half, which is basically what I'm saying I have decided, I won't feel that awful sinking feeling I had before with the DNF. I know my body, and I know I shouldn't push through an injury just to get that marathon finish this year. There will be other races. And I can plan to enjoy myself more. Take more photos. Visit with more friends and family. Visit Lululemon, too! Eat frozen yogurt and cheer people on.

Plus: I still completed my training plan -- and then some! That's a lot of miles!

Onto a more varied routine for a while. And this is good news for all of you, too. Many of you wrote in the survey that it's hard to relate to someone always training for marathons. Or someone who only seems to run. Not just because you're new to running . . . but you're into other stuff. Well-rounded-ness. You also want to know the kinds of things we do when we aren't training for a distance event.

And there are indeed other things we like to do for fitness fun!

This weekend, I'm joining our local YMCA (image source). A no-frills gym that will get the job done. That's for sure. And I see pool running, yoga, weight training, cycling, and interval training in my future. Group classes, too. I may even -- GASP -- learn to swim properly. It's not that I can't keep myself afloat, but I know nothing of actual technique. It's so totally not efficient!

I'm starting to think this post was a lot more for me than it was for all of you. But tough decisions are necessary and difficult to make. This one's a biggie. Thanks for reading!

So, that's the complete knee update for this week. Thanks for all your emails, tweets, and comments. Your get-well-soon wishes and kind words. Now, with my shiny, new gym membership in the horizon, I'd love to know what you favorite cross-training activities and group fitness classes are! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

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