Be Better! Go Faster! Stop Hurting! Hydrate!

It’s official. I am a totally injured runner.

I mean, obviously most people (especially those of you who read this) know that by now, and even I knew it – I just didn’t want to believe it.

Last night, I iced my leg for 20-30 minutes. I did a few stretches – not three pages worth – but a few. I rolled a bit on the foam roller.

Today, I got up, ate breakfast, and felt decent. I successfully ignored the pain in my leg as I walked the mile to my running group, knowing that it would go away in time. I opted to run 4/2s, knowing that 5/1s would kill me – as they have all season. I even tried to run with people instead of zooming off by myself.

I think I was fucked before I even began. I am terrible – TERRIBLE – about drinking water. Give me coffee, or give me death. One of the coaches said, “Make sure you are good about hydrating. If you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.”

I was already thirsty. Uh-oh.

So then I ran slow-ish, which seemed to aggravate my leg more. I didn’t want to get too far ahead, as there was one other person who was also going 8 miles in the group (the rest were going 6), and company on long runs can be motivating. By the time I got to the third mile, I saw that my friend had a person to run with, and – as much I tried to keep it at an even pace – I thought I needed to speed it up a bit and did so by mile 4.

Between mile 4 and 5, I just took off, but I had no idea what I was really running or doing. I felt out of control, out of breath, and almost out of water and electrolytes. The pain shot throughout my limb, from my ankle to my knee – but going slower made it worse. By miles 6 and 7 I was running between 12:30 and 12:50. When I tried to run the last mile, I had to stop. I walked the eighth mile, letting my leg calm down a bit, but I was frustrated.

It’s hard because I think there a couple factors going on – but I can’t exactly pinpoint what it is. In trying to look over my running activity since March, I can’t find an exact pattern; then again, I don’t really know what to look for. All I know is that I was getting faster, and I feel like I’m backsliding.

Maybe I was never as fast as I originally thought, so what I’m mistaking for getting slower is my actual pace. Some of my runner friends intuitively know their pace – can tell by how their legs feel, their breathing, etc. All I know is that I am somewhere between a 13:30 and a 12-minute mile, and that I’m relatively decent at starting out slow and getting faster during the run. I use my phone as a pacer because a lot of the time I am running by myself – I do not have enough money to get a GPS watch just yet. I think, once I am able, this might clear things up a bit.

Maybe it’s the fact that I am so dehydrated. Water … tastes like water, and I really can’t stand it. Maybe it’s the fact that my nutrition is so horrible and out of control.

Maybe it’s my running shoes. I used to wear Asics, but I switched to Mizunos for this training session. My feet have been eaten up since. Maybe it’s not the shoes; maybe I need an insert for the shoe of the leg that’s been giving me trouble. Then again, my leg has been swollen for years with no real cause; maybe all the running is just aggravating it.

Maybe it’s the weather. This summer hasn’t been kind to anyone, and you’re bound to go slower in the heat.

Maybe it’s just the increased mileage, and though I’ve been 10x’s better at following my training schedule, I’m sure my lackadaisical attitude in the beginning didn’t help.

I’ve iced twice so far today, and will do more later. I also have to make sure that I stretch – I can already feel my calves locking up.

After my run today, I put my ego aside, and looked up possible pace scenarios for the marathon. I think, if I can stay consistent I can finish the marathon between 5:30 and 6:00.

Sigh. I’ve got a lot of work to do.

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