The 14 Mile Slump

I've now entered uncharted territory in the marathon training plan. I've never run more than 13.1 miles. This weekend was our 14 mile run, and I had been anxious of it all week long. I felt bored with running, bored with my playlists, bored with my routes, and just sick of running. But I knew I had to get over this hurdle to keep going. And as much as I wanted to clear this hurdle, I didn't.

My 14 mile run on Saturday started off good. I got up extra early and was out the door by 6:20am. I wanted to get the run over with as soon as possible so I could relax and enjoy my weekend. While the sun was rising I decided to do five loops around a 0.7 mile block in my neighborhood that included one big hill. I thought running the same loop over and over again would drive me crazy, but the mileage actually went by fast. Each time I made it to the hill it got harder and harder, but then I would reach the top of it and the downhill managed to erase all the pain it took to get to the top of it. I finally got to my four mile mark and then continued on to my regular ten mile route.

I felt good, motivated, and ready to tackle the next ten miles. Then, as I rounded a corner about 4.5 miles in, the toe of my shoe caught a lift in the sidewalk and I swan dove onto the pavement in front of me. I don't think I've ever swan dove before. I've tripped and fallen down one knee at a time, or fallen sideways wacking my elbow on the pavement, but never head and chest first, flat on my face. Luckily I was wearing my hydration vest so that kept me from face planting on the sidewalk. My sunglasses flew off my head and I saw them tumble in front of me. Somehow I reached both my hands out (classic what you're NOT supposed to do) and skidded to a stop as my chin took one last clunk on the cement. 

It took me a minute to get up. I immediately reached for my chin to check for bleeding. Marci had a Chincident a few years ago, falling, hitting her chin on the sidewalk, and getting several stitches when all was said and done. I was relieved to know I wasn't bleeding at all from my chin. My hands were another story. Don't worry, no pictures, but I managed to rip open the palm of my hands something gross. I stood up and my thighs and knees started burning as I noticed the road rash on them. I took a minute to decide if I could keep running. Then emotion overtook as I knew I couldn't run another ten miles in my state. I turned around and walked the mile home in a combination of tears of pain and anger. All I wanted to do was make it through this hurdle of 14 miles and I just couldn't do it. Panic then took over. Would I even be able to make 16 miles now? Or 17? Or 18? Or the stupid marathon? Why did this have to happen? Why couldn't I just pass 13.1 miles!

I eventually calmed down and gave myself a break. So I missed one long run. It wasn't in the beginning, it wasn't at the end, it was a 14 miler in the middle. Some training plans call for a rest week after the half marathon in the middle of training. Some reduce the mileage that week. I figured this was my halfway rest week. As soon as I gave myself a break I came to terms with the situation and moved on. As the weekend went on I realized how much I actually hurt my arms and shoulders in the fall. Its only been two days, but I can barely lift my arms over my head. Obviously I didn't fall correctly like my high school gym teacher taught us to tuck in our arms and roll. I honestly don't know how anyone can do that on instinct. Instinct tells me to throw my arms out and stop my face from cracking onto the cement. I never thought sore shoulders would be one of my runjuries of the year!

I did make it out for five miles this morning and felt totally fine. And, the best part is, my calf strain from the previous week seems to be completely healed. So maybe by falling on my face the universe was making me take a break to heal a worse runjury? I'll just believe that for now and get ready for 16 miles on Saturday!

Parkinson's disease was first discovered in 1817 by Dr. James Parkinson. It is a disease of the central nervous system that happens when the loss of cells in various parts of the brain include cells that produce dopamine - a chemical messenger which transmits signals in the brain that coordinate movement. Loss of these cells cause neurons to fire without normal control, leaving patients less able to direct or control their movement. About one in 100 people over the age of 60 have Parkinson's Disease, but people as young as 18 have been diagnosed. At least one million people in the US have Parkinson's Disease.

Team Fox is The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s (MJFF) grassroots community fundraising program. Its members include thousands of people worldwide who generate funds and awareness for Parkinson’s disease research. All funds raised through Team Fox go directly to MJFF to advance its mission to accelerate the delivery of life-changing treatments, and ultimately a cure, to people with Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, thanks to the generous support of an anonymous donor, 100% of Team Fox proceeds in 2014 went directly to research efforts to help speed a cure for Parkinson’s.

While I train for this marathon I'm also raising funds for research and a cure for Parkinson's. If you're interested in donating to my team, 'Run, Betty, Run!' you can by clicking HERE. (A while ago I read an article about two 85 year old women named Betty and Betty who have been running partners for over 50 years and still compete together. Marci and I since then have called each other Betty and Betti in hopes that we will still be running together when we're 85!)