Race day is three days away and yet I want to finish my training story, so here goes. When I completed the 20 miler I felt like I could run further but I was happy to stop, as I was very, very hungry. I felt very strong and confident and was excited to tackle more rigorous training and pick it up a notch. There weren’t many free days left on my calendar for long runs and I still was experimenting with food and drinks. I wanted to learn how to avoid the two most frequent mistakes runners make while running a marathon, consuming too few calories and not hydrating adequately. Three days after the 20 miler, I ran 12 miles on the grass on Commonwealth Ave. from my home in Needham over the Hills in Newton to Boston College and back. By the end I had some very mild foot cramping in my right foot. I considered the run a success. I did two more four-mile runs in that week and on Saturday I attended a Bat Mitzvah and spent all day and night in four-inch high heels dancing the night away. High heels and peak Marathon training do not mix! Sunday I swam 30 minutes and did a nine-mile run. I found that I had developed shin splints in both legs and that I cannot drink Gatorade! I was defeated. I rested on Monday.
I had run 53 miles in 10 days, which was a lot for me. I had made a training mistake. The whole strategy of my training was to get the most out of the least. Run just enough miles to accomplish the goal of simply crossing the finish line. I ignored my shin splints and logged 26 miles of hills focusing on this incredibly long downhill on Paul Revere Road in Needham. Downhills are a great challenge for runners because they can cause a debilitating muscle weakness due to too many eccentric contractions. Grete Waitz had won three NYC marathons yet had to drop out of the 1982 Boston Marathon because she wasn’t conditioned to run the downhills after her torrid pace during the first 21 miles. Boston is all downhill after BC.
It was April 1 and I had shin splints. I ran 16 miles that week. I was now concerned that if I ran 26 miles with shin splints that I might more seriously injure myself or even worse not cross the finish line. I was feeling extremely tired and weak. I wish that I could feel strong like I did back on March 20. I did not feel ready, I felt weak. Carl Faust advised me to ice my shins and get on the bike or elliptical to keep up my aerobic capacity but not to run anymore because I got my 20 miler in and he felt I was ready. I started doing daily yoga and limited my running to an easy nine miles that week because when I didn’t run I doubted that I could run. I have done yoga throughout my training. I find it to be a much more interesting way of stretching before and after runs. I try to do three sun salutations before a run and longer yoga routines after. On Tuesday, Gayle Olson saw me on the elliptical and told me to take it easy, that I should be resting. I told her about my shin splints and she asked why I hadn’t come to see her. So Gayle did some orthopedic magic and guess what my shin splints are gone! That brings us up to today and I finally feel rested. I am ready. I am eager and ready. Anxious to live the dream! My bib number is 24158 and I can be tracked on the www.bostonmarathon.org on Marathon day April 21, 2008. On Marathon day.