The LOOOONNNGGGG Runs [Marathon Training: Weeks 11-12]

My calves are aching. My hips are popping. My IT bands are like steel (which is NOT a good thing). I walk with a limp. Oh, and did I mention that my hip is hurting all.the.time?

Guess this can mean only one thing…

The looooong runs have officially arrived.

Week 11 I was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with my family which was wonderful in itself, and one day I’ll get around to writing about it. But it added for a whole new level of fun when we got to run our first 16 miler there. It was picturesque. And being that I practically finished my audiobook on that run, it made it all the better. I actually felt great during the entire run… perfect, crisp Fall weather… the most beautiful colors adorning the trees… and a killer audiobook made  it one of my favorite runs thus far!

[side note: read Unbroken. It is one of the most remarkable stories I've heard, and kept me hooked from beginning to end.]

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20131023-182617.jpgIt was the hours and days after this run that made me question whether or not I would be running the marathon on November 16th. My legs were shot. Now mind you, I didn’t stretch after this run. Part of me knew I should (especially after getting a talking to from one of my girlfriends recently!), but after the run I was ushered into the shower and out the door so quickly, that it would’ve been impossible. And to me, I think that if you don’t stretch right after your run, then you might as well not stretch at all.

All week long my legs killed me. I knew I had to do three, 5-8-5, runs the coming week but after attempting to run on two different occasions, I sadly gave up. Rach and I even went out to run 8 miles together last Wednesday which I was excited about since it would’ve been the first time we as sisters had run together since our attempted run through the sunflower fields in Switzerland the previous year. Yes, true story.

Sadly after 3 miles, I had to stop. My hip was popping every other step, and was causing me excruciating pain. So we ended up walking an additional 3 miles and then lurked at the closest Whole Foods cookie stand for 20 minutes while waiting to pick up my dad, before I finally asked the guy for a free cookie sine we had zero money. It was a success!

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Also, BIG news for my feet me… I exchanged those obnoxious size 12 shoes for a newer pair. Turns out I had run in minimal shoes for the last 2 years without knowing it. So after trying out my Brooks neutrals for over a month and experiencing a lot of discomfort, I exchanged them for the newer version (and correct size!) of the shoe my feet know and love. And added bonus… they are NEON. :)

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So fast forward a week, and we are in Week 12. My dad was harping on me all week as to how I was D-O-N-E since I was not running any of my short runs, and was practically walking like an 80 year old. But exactly one week after my 16-miler, my hip finally calmed down. Enough for me to run my 18 miler come Monday morning in Napa Valley, California of all places.20131023-182726.jpg20131023-182716.jpg

Unfortunately, whereas I imagined we would be running through gorgeous vineyards, we actually ran by homeless people, gangs, and a dead deer. Also, the “trail along the river” was only 2 miles long, so we had to run through town, and along side streets probably 100 times in order to reach our 18 miles. I thought I was going to go CrAzY… no one wants to run the same street back-and-forth for 3 hours straight. Painful, my friends!

After the 18-miler, my sister stretched me out BIG time. The next day I rolled out on a foam roller, and have done so morning and night every day since. I also took a hot bath in apple cider vinegar (google it… its legit). And have used tiger balm. And iced my hip and knees around the clock. And praise God, my legs have never felt better. Guess all that talk about stretching and icing really does make a difference, huh? Tomorrow we’ll be doing our last run before the marathon… a 20 miler. Here goes nothing!20131023-182736.jpg

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