Given I was dangerously close to hot spots turning into blisters, I went to my running store on Monday and asked for “all things cushion!” I bought 2 pairs of high cushion insoles, as well as compression socks with max cushion. I’m still trying different combinations of socks, shoes, and insoles and felt good in my afternoon 5.5.
On Tuesday, Sam and I went to the park. I did 3 miles and finished just before Sam finished his 6! After going for slow long runs, it felt good to get a few faster miles in. Once the marathon/Dopey training is over, I am looking forward to doing some speedwork and using this base I’ve built to get a little faster. But for now, I’m focused on endurance.
Thursday was our 4th annual Gobble Jog! The 10K starts at 7:30 and the 5K starts at 9. Sam and I run the 10K so we have an easier time finding parking. The course is two 5k loops, and my goal is to not get lapped by Sam. I did get lapped by the top 3 females and quite a few males, but Sam finished about 3 minutes after I started my 2nd lap. It wasn’t my fastest 10k, but it was faster than last year. And again – it was nice to see miles that started with a 12 or 13 rather than a 14 or 15!
I was supposed to run 8 miles on Friday, but 2 miles in, and my knee was hurting. It also rained in the morning, so I got out later in the afternoon and had less time to recover before Saturday’s LONG run. So, I called at 3 miles and used a cool compression wrap for a few hours before bed. I didn’t sleep well Friday night – I think I was anxious with another “longest run ever” on the schedule for Saturday morning with my Team in Training group.
We ran on the Silver Comet Trail, parking in the middle of our 16-mile route. Three and half miles to the left and back, then four and a half miles to the right and back. Breaking it up like that (rather than one large loop or straight out and back) helps mentally. “Only 2 miles before I turn around,” “I’m halfway to the halfway point on this segment,” etc. I felt good through the first 7, but shortly thereafter, I was feeling heel issues again - even with new socks and insoles. Coach Ed encouraged me to stop at the next bench and see if I could adjust my sock. I did, but I didn’t see any blister. My shoelaces are pretty loose (I have a horrible habit of tying them once, then pulling my foot out and shoving it in without ever retying them), so I tied them tighter. By mile 9, I realized they were too tight and my toes and top of my foot hurt. So I stopped and retied AGAIN. Left shoe was perfect – I didn’t have heel pain the rest of the run. However, my right foot was still rubbing wrong, and Coach Ed said he could lace my shoes differently to make the heel tighter but the toe box looser. At our 11.5 mile water stop, he worked some magic and by golly – I didn’t have heel pain the whole rest of the run! Pure magic.
I was tired, I was sore, but I did it! And at a decent 14:51 pace with 3 complete stops for shoe issues (14:27 average "moving pace"), which is well ahead of the 16:00 minute mile requirement for Disney. Better yet, I finished feeling like I could have gone another mile or two. And was a mostly functioning human the rest of the day after my stretch, Epsom salt bath, shower, and nap. Somewhere around 15.75 I said, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to do it!” and I got so excited! Coach Ed was so encouraging, “You’re doing fantastic!” At the end, Coach Jen (who was running with other teammates) said, “Does your watch say what you want it to say?” YES! And she congratulated and high-fived me. And Coach Kim, who wasn’t at the run texted me shortly after I finished, “Checking for a pulse,” and I replied with a screenshot of my Garmin run and said, “I kicked ass!” These coaches and their tips and encouragement are making SUCH a difference in how I'm preparing! I know I couldn't do this on my own.
I still can’t quite fathom getting through 48.6, but I am encouraged by my progress. After the knee rehab in May-July before training started, 6 knee shots in August and October, Covid in September/October, and whatever the heck cold I had last week, I’m seeing tangible results and progress! One run at a time!
Week 18: Run 34.5 miles + Walk 0 miles = 34.5 total miles
Cumulative: Run 328.58 miles + Walk 20.66 miles = 349.24 cumulative miles