“Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavement, even if it leads nowhere.” ~Adele
So much of my running playlist would never take up space on my itunes if not for the running i.e. Ke$ha, Miley Cyrus etc. Don’t judge, you know all your guilty pleasure songs are on your running playlist. Anyway, in the midst of all that music, is a real gem, Adele’s Chasing Pavement. It’s slow for a running song but something about the words and crescendo of the music give me a boost. Its like a friend patting you on the back and whispering, “You can do it.” The run seems more poetic and freeing than the death march my legs keep trying to tell me it is. Even though I haven’t gotten my ipod for the marathon yet, Adele’s song still kept me going this past Sunday for my 20 miler. 20 miles! I can’t believe the marathon is a mere 3 weeks away, my last big long run is behind me and now it’s time to taper. How did that happen?
This past Sunday was beautiful. I woke up early, laced up, grabbed my Luna bar and was out the door. After being sick for two weeks, I finally felt confident again and ready for my 20 miler thanks to a good 6 miler with the East Nasties last Wednesday. I was ready to attack it. I stretched and set out around 7 to get 4 miles out of the way so I’d be ready to do the last 16 with the Nasties. I took it slow, mentally told myself it was just a warmup and couldn’t believe how good it felt.
I met up with the Nasties for the Bongo to Bongo run which included the back half of the Country Music Half Marathon. I felt good for most of it but around mile 10 of the 16 I could tell something wasn’t right.
When I trained for the half marathon, I had problems with my IT band, a common ailment for newbie runners. Because of that, I have stretched out my IT religiously. I didn’t think it was that but I had no idea. All I knew was that with every strike of my foot, pain shot up my back and down my leg. Thinking it was muscular, I kept pushing.
Luckily, my amazing running partner in crime and friend, Christy kept me going, as did another EN, Stacey and Chuck, the EN resident running whiz. I was able to shut my brain down and listen to Chuck’s advice on pre-marathon meals, ways to stretch, how to mentally prepare for a marathon, speed sessions. That way I wasn’t consumed with how badly the whole right side of my body hurt.
We made it back to Bongo and stopped to get some water and stretch (again, I still thought it was some form of IT band syndrome). Christy went into coach mode and looked at me with those intense eyes and said, “We’re doing these next two miles. I don’t care how slow we go but we’re finishing it.” Yep, she was right. Her and I are cut out of the same mold and hearing her say that was exactly what I needed. I knew that although every single step would hurt, I was finishing. Stacey joined us and we were off. I have no idea my pace for those last two miles but it was SLOW. Slow, but I finished! I’ve never experienced anything like it. My body was surging with pain but I was so happy! All the experts and all the training plans say that if you can do 20, you can do 26.2. Even though I had to drag my leg through 6 miles, I know I can do 26.2.
I said bye to Christy and Stacey and headed home with my Nestle chocolate milk (I should be sponsored by Nestle for how much I drink it post long run and huge bag of ice for my first ice bath. Let me just tell you…they work wonders!
Post stretching, post ice bath, post meal, post nap and post Flying Saucer trip with the Boy, the pain on my right side only got worse. Apparently two things happened on my 20 miler that day:
1- Because of the pain I somehow aged prematurely and was walking like a 90 year old woman and 2- because I was out running for so long in the sun, my freckles decided to come out and play earlier than usual which conversely makes me look like a 12 year old.
I woke up Monday barely able to walk and decided to call the Dr. to make an appointment. I go in tomorrow to see what this is. From everything I can tell and in talking to fellow runners, I think it is my sciatic nerve which normally is cleared up by a cortisone shot. Although I have confidence that tomorrow my mind, and body will be able to rest easy after knowing what it is and having a game plan, I’m still nervous. I know it sounds crazy but I WANT to do this marathon. I can take comfort in the fact that for my first half, it was this exact same time, the last long run before the taper, that my IT Band syndrome flared. You’re body is tired and broken down from training, but with PT I ran it. I’m hoping the same for this…
Hopefully I’ll have good news tomorrow! Have you had problems with your sciatic nerve? What have you done to help it?
UPDATE: Here’s what the Dr. ordered.