Today's run was a big one for me--not just because it's my long run, but because I was going to use it to decide whether I am going to continue to train for Detroit. Last week started the 18-week countdown to the marathon, and I am just now coming back from a second stress fracture. Last Friday, I was going to try and run four miles for my long run, but I had to quit at mile 3.44, because of some pain in the location of the fracture.
I've been thinking about it all week, and as badly as I want to do this race, I really needed to face that it may not happen. Back in December, when I first got injured, I never imagined that I would still be injured when it was time to start marathon training! Anyway, I decided that today would be the deciding run--if I wasn't able to make it through my long run today, then I would sell my bib for the race.
I planned out a five-mile route that sticks close to my house, so that I could just walk home if I had any stress fracture pain. I decided to stick with the 1:00-run and 0:30-walk segments, and promised myself I'd keep the pace nice and easy, to hopefully make the full five miles.
The weather was pretty nice this morning! It would have been perfect if there weren't fish flies, but there is nothing I can do about those, so I tried to just ignore them and enjoy the morning.
I noticed right away that the run felt easier than it's been feeling lately, and I hope that's because my body is getting back in shape. I was deliberately keeping the pace easy, but I definitely noticed that it felt easier than I expected. So, I was very happy with that!
I started to get a little nervous after three miles in, because I just kept hoping that I wouldn't feel any stress fracture pain. As I approached the 3.44 mile mark, it was like I was almost expecting to feel something. It was at that point that a blackbird swooped in from my right and came so close to me that I felt its wing brush against my ear. Usually, the blackbirds make all kinds of noise before they dive at me, but this one was totally quiet, and it scared the shit out of me. I picked up the pace a little to get away form it, and then I realized I had passed the 3.44 mile mark. And I still didn't have any leg pain!
I was really excited after that point, because I started to think that I was actually going to make it all the way to five miles. When I got to mile 4.5, where I normally turn to go to my house, I decided to keep going and shoot for 6 miles. I was feeling good doing the run/walk intervals, and didn't have any issues with my fracture. I weaved the streets of my neighborhood to add in another mile, and when my Garmin beeped after that sixth mile, I was thrilled! I've run six miles dozens (hundreds?) of times over the past five years, but today's meant a lot to me--I feel hopeful that I can actually do Detroit in October. (After typing this, I was curious how accurate it would be to say that I've run 6+ miles "hundreds of times", so I looked it up on my training log--I've done 285 runs that were 6 or more miles each. I had no idea it would be that many!)
I love that my average pace was 11:11. I just wrote on Motivational Monday about how 11 is my favorite number. Finishing today's run felt so good--I really needed that mental boost to keep going. I'm going to continue to train for Detroit, and while I won't be setting any PR's there, I am really hoping that I can finish (injury-free). I feel a whole new motivation after today's run!