Thursday, April 10, 2008

Another Adventure: The 1/2 Marathon

This Saturday, April 12 at 8:00 a.m., to be exact, I will be attempting to run 13.1 miles in the Oshkosh Half Marathon.

I've never been much of a runner, but I try to be every once in a while. Back in 2003 I walk/ran the Fox Cities Half Marathon in 2:49:46. I also weighed about 40 pounds more than I do now. I'm not saying that means I'm going to fly through this at record speeds -- no way. In fact, I was better trained back then at 40 pounds heavier! I followed a very strict running program for months before the event. For this one, I've worked some interval training as part of my recent, simple "try to work out every day" regimen.

I decided, sort of last minute, to take this challenge on. Mostly, I would like to see how I do and go from there. I am concerned that being undertrained for a Half Marathon could be a critical mistake. I know that my legs can carry me 13.1 miles. I know my lungs can handle it. I know my mental toughness can help me accomplish just about anything I want to... but can my knees do it? If they lock up and stop moving, I might be done...

I ran 6 miles last Sunday to see how I'd do. I ran the entire 6 miles straight in about 55 minutes! I was thrilled! However, my left knee did not share my enthusiasm. It started to feel a little crampy at about mile 5. About an hour after I was done running it started to stiffen and hurt at the slightest movement. Going down the stairs was the worst. I smothered some Biofreeze on it and stretched, repeated for a few nights, and at the moment my left knee is pain-free. But I worry that this will happen in the middle of my run and I'll be "peg-leggin'" the last 6 miles and hobbling, possibly crawling across that finish line!

As long as I finish, that's really what matters... but I would prefer to cross that finish line with some dignity. Ideally, I'd like to sprint when I get there... hopefully my high hopes will carry me farther and keep me stronger.

Well, we'll see what happens, and I'll post an update as to how I do. I read that my pain is most likely caused by my IT band, which I've read about in the past. It runs from your hip, down the side of your leg, and underneath your knee. Mine's always been really tight, so I plan to stretch the living crap out of it before the race, stop at mile 6 for another stretch, then do some more pulling on it after the run. I hope that will cure the "peg-leg" problem this has caused me in the past. I'll have to share that story at a later time... it's a doozie!!

I was thinking about what sort of time I'd like to make on this run, and I guess I broke it down into a few different goals. Of course, goal #1 is to finish. Goal #2 is to beat my time from 2003. Goal #3 is to make it under 2:30:00. I don't know if I'll do that or not, but I'm certainly going to give it a fair shot!

Wish me luck!!!

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