Kristen Denninger is a SKLZ team member who is currently training for her first marathon. Read about what she is going through as an athlete trying to reach a goal she has set.
Less than two weeks until race day! My farthest long run was completed about 2 weeks ago - a 20 miler that followed most of the course route. I wish I could say that it was great and boosted my confidence, however, this was
not the case and it was completely brutal. Cardio wise, I was great, and my muscles never hit a wall (a good clue that I am hopefully on target with my race nutrition), but I experienced awful hip and knee pain in my left leg through the final 12 miles of the run.
I took away some positive points from that run. I know that physically my heart and lungs are strong enough to get me to that finish line, and I am confident that I know what my body will need as fuel. On the not-so-positive side, it has been frustrating to know that after 6 months of training I might not be able to really prepare for or prevent the only thing that might keep me from reaching the finish line. I can't pinpoint what has triggered my hip issue to recur now, especially when 18 miles was terrific. It could be that the length of the training period has just worn down this susceptible part of my body, or it could have just been an off day (wishful thinking maybe, but a little optimism never hurts).
Since the 20 mile mark I have taken it easy, making sure that I give the joint and surrounding muscles ample time to recover. I have limited myself, and even opted to skip the 10 miles the week after. I am trying to adhere to the most common piece of advice I have received - "listen to your body". I plan on running 6 miles this weekend, and scattering in a few shorter runs between now and race day. Hopefully I have picked a combination of rest and activity that will allow my body to heal while maintaining a level of activity that will prevent my muscles from becoming tight due to inactivity.
Right now I can say that I will make it to the finish line - I am not sure if I will be running, walking, or maybe even crawling, but I will get there. I am excited to once again have "game-day" jitters, and can't wait to experience what I am sure will be a charged atmosphere. It is still TBD whether I ever train for another full marathon (half's are a definite) - I will wait until the physical pain following the race abates to answer that question. For now I am pleased with how far I have come, and determined to make it count on race day.