Monday, May 14, 2012

The cure for this taper hypochondriac

I admit it - I am a TOTAL taper hypochondriac. These last few glorious weeks when the tough marathon training is over should be a time of relaxation. Instead I am stressed that maybe I'm not running enough, and every single twinge or pain is a new one that will affect my ability to run a marathon. I realize it's all in my mind, but that doesn't make it any easier.

Before my first marathon in 2010 I was very injured. My recurring IT band problem was at its worst, and I was terrified that I'd have to permanently abandon the idea of doing a marathon altogether.  I went to see my sports medicine doctor about a week and a half before the race. My knee was causing so much pain that I was terrified of doing irreparable harm. It had to be something else - there's no way my IT band was hurting this much.

My sports medicine doctor on the right. Yes- he's the MSU basketball team doctor. He's awesome.
My doctor is a runner, and his advice was exactly what I wanted to hear. After he asked me what on earth he was supposed to do so close to the race, he told me to go for it. He said it would hurt, and I would need to walk. But it wasn't going to cause irreparable harm. I took his advice and went the distance. I felt great until the 5k mark, and it was down hill for the next 23.1 miles. When I crossed the finish line, 5 hours, 23 minutes and 32 seconds later, I just wanted to (and did) cry. I'd run a marathon, but I felt like crap. I hadn't reached my goal of running the race in less than five hours. Even though it was done, I wasn't satisfied with it.

Hugging my mother-in-law after the Detroit Full and of course crying.
This year I decided to take the marathon plunge again. Fortunately (knock on wood) my IT band has been relatively under control. I have been using the foam roller religiously, and I've worked in more cross training than last time. My other secret is that I haven't been running as much. That may sound counter-intuitive to race training, but if I run fewer miles I'm not getting injured. My half marathon, 5k and 10k times have been great, so we'll just have to see how this affects a marathon.

The cure for my taper hypochondria is running a new town. I've never been to Green Bay, and from everything I've read and seen online it looks like a quaint beach town. Unfortunately this year's race doesn't end in Lambeau Field (much to my husband's chagrin), but I'm looking forward to checking out the sites as well as checking Wisconsin off my 50 state race list (that will give me 44 states to go...I've got a ton of work to do).

The infamous Lambeau Field
Hopefully next week I'll be posting a celebratory post about shaving a minimum of 24 minutes and 32 seconds off my marathon time. For now I've got to go take care of this twinge in my hip...

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