This whole training for a marathon thing had been going pretty well so far. I'd played with the schedule quite a lot due to work and weather, but I've gotten my miles and except for one weekend where it snowed Saturday and I went the Eagles game on Sunday, I've hit the distanced proscribed for my long runs.
Until this weekend. This weekend was supposed to be 18 miles. I pushed it back from yesterday till today because I'd ran 7 miles on Friday. I set out from my parents' house, since it gives me access to several neighborhoods to run in with lots of side streets that I can use to adjust my distance, the opportunity to stop and refill my water or Gatorade. I had visions of 20 miles in my head, though, putting me a week ahead of the training program and "just" a 10K away from marathon distance.
My legs felt bad right at the start, today, but didn't think much of it, and it seemed to subside. My original plan was to run 3 "laps" of 5-6 miles and tack on whatever I needed to get to 18. On my first lap, I turned out again at a crossing rather than head to my parents, and stretched my first lap to 13 miles. The last 1-2 miles were bad, and I was definitely in pain. I thought I'd stretch and be ok to get the last 5 in, but I took two steps and knew it wasn't going to happen.
I've had bad runs before, but it's always because I've gotten overheated or my stomach hurt -- it's never been because my legs have been completely unable to do the distance. It's sinking in for the first time that the hardest part of this is still ahead of me and there's a distinct possibility that I might not succeed. This isn't meant to be a concession speech by any means -- just a recognition that this is going to be tougher than I thought and success is not a given.
My shoes are beyond toast. I've known that for a long time, and I actually have the next pair. I was hoping to get through January (so I guess I did) with my old shoes in hopes that the new pair will then last me through the marathon. And if they're beyond their suggested mileage by then, they'll still be pretty new compared to the miles I've got have put on my current pair, which I realize that I've actually been using for about 10 months at this point. I've kept other running shoes that long, but I'm sure the mileage on these is way above any of my others.
I'm hoping new shoes makes a big difference, and/or this was just kind of a freak thing and not a warning sign of knee trouble. My knees hurt after I ran 16 at Loch Raven, but that was super hilly and my longest run ever at the time, and oddly they were fine for last week's 17.5 in relatively flat Timonium, Maryland. They hurt for Monday night's 7 miles, but I felt like I had a different stride that night, pounding out some frustration on the blacktop, but didn't hurt for the same distance on Thursday.
My plan for the week is to take tomorrow off, try 3-5 miles on Tuesday, weather permitting (Serious snow fatigue here), the same on Wednesday if I feel up to it, 7 or 8 on Thursday, and 18-20 on Saturday,which was supposed to be a recovery week (15 miles) that my knees dictated that they needed today.
Update: Several hours later, the right knee feels fine. My left knee is still in quite a lot of pain, though.