For many of my New York City Marathoners, these two weeks are our “peak weeks” which means we are putting the pedal to the medal and cranking out as many fast, slow, strong miles till we taper it down till November 6th. I saw so many “20 miles done!” posts on my Instagram on Saturday I was almost giddy to get out there Sunday morning for my turn at the hashtag glory.
I am still very much not back at 100% with my knee. I’ve had some stellar runs where I’ve felt almost pain free, but to be fair, the longest run has been about 6 miles. And after that long run I definitely felt pain reminiscent of the injury moment a few weeks ago.
That being said, when I set out to run my long run on Sunday I had a few mantras/goals. I’ll have you know that I did not leave the door with a mileage goal. All I wanted to do was be on my feet and running for 3 hours, pain free – whichever came first.
Bennett was my biked companion and we zoomed in and out of Hoboken streets, with the Hudson reflecting the beautiful skyline. These miles flew by. We chatted and took pictures and told stories or just ran in silence. We ended at the track where I ran 2 miles at a tempo pace and also where I recognized that my knee was announcing itself. I really wanted to keep going for at least 10 more miles at that point (I was at about 5.5/6.0 at this point) and almost felt this choked-up feeling knowing that it might not happen. Looping around the bottom of the track I got this sadness that I wouldn’t have that confidence boosting long long long run under my belt going into my taper.
After we left the track we had another floating on air few miles where I blocked out the discomfort in my knee and just carried on till Bennett made a right turn back home. This was at the 9.5 mile mark, at which I told him I’d be back in another hour or so.
The good thing is, my energy level felt great. I didn’t have this familiar fatigue of a long run where you feel like a shell of a person just pushing yourself along. I actually felt really strong, and I remember thinking several times “I could do this forever”. My pace wasn’t very fast, but if I ran the marathon at a 10:20 I’d be ecstatic. The only thing that was pestering me was my knee. And that really bothered me.
So at some point between “I could do this forever” and “I can’t stop glancing at my watch because I just want this to end” I settled into an exit strategy of a long loop and calling it quits. My knee was begging to stop and I’d reached about where discomfort was turning into pain. At about 12.5 I could see myself getting too neurotic about my watch (the pain was causing me to slow down a lot) so I turned that little sucker off and ran for feel till I saw my Starbucks. If I was a betting woman I would say I finished at about 13 miles, give or take .2.
Even though there were so many great things that happened on my run, when I finally stopped I could only focus on the fact that I didn’t hit my goal, and that I was in pain.
Honestly, I think in 20 days I’ll run the New York Marathon and I’ll be totally fine. And by totally fine I mean, I’ll have moments where I’m super happy and confidence and comfortable and I’ll have moments where I’ll be uncomfortable and struggling and probably walking. But I know I’ll get through it.
I always say that training is insurance for the marathon. The work you put into your training is padding and padding of confidence boosting for that morning where you’re nerve wracked and scared.
My long run wasn’t as long as your run, but it was still a pretty. long. run. Next weekend I’ll try again, but after that I’m going on good spirits and knee braces.