If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have noticed that I’ve been struggling pretty hard with my Half-Marathon training this year. I’m not even close to running as fast or as far as I could last year at this point, and I’m really disappointed in myself.
There have been multiple times in the last 2 months that I’ve said “I don’t think I can run 13.1 miles. I don’t think I’m gonna be able to do it this year.” I try really hard to never say “I can’t do this”, but there have been many times I’ve wanted to, and I’ve let it slip more than once.
I keep reminding myself that I do have the legit excuse that school kept me from running as often as I needed to from October through March, that I’m not just being whiny because I don’t want to put in the work, but that doesn’t make it any easier to forgive myself. I keep going back and forth debating whether I should just give it up and sell my race bib.
Once class ended on March 15th, I made a promise to myself that I would get serious. I planned to train hard for the next few weeks, see where I was at, and then decide whether or not to race. For three weeks straight I ran 4 times a week. I started out at 5 miles, even though I probably wasn’t ready for that yet. Then I progressed by adding another 1-2 miles each weekend on our long runs. It’s been hard, and I’ve been sore, but I ran through the pain, and forced myself to keep going.
Almost immediately I started feeling shin splints. I got new shoes, tried the infamous peanut oil trick, iced and heated before and after runs, and stretched as much as I could. I even bought Dr. Sholl’s Athletic inserts, but nothing has worked, and they’ve gotten worse with every run.
This past Sunday I did my longest run yet, 8.2 miles. My legs were killing me from the start, but I kept going, and eventually got to the point where I just didn’t notice. I got through those miles, felt good at the end except for the usual soreness, and iced when I got home. The next day though? I could barely stand up. Since that day, I’ve attempted two more runs. Tuesday was very painful, but we got rained out, so I only had to push through 1.6 miles.
Yesterday, however, was a different story. The plan was to go 5 miles. I was in excruciating pain from the moment I took my first step, but I wasn’t going to let myself give up. I refused to quit.
I got to just under 2 miles before I had tears streaming down my face. I tried to let myself walk for a minute to give my legs a break, but then just couldn’t get them going again. I was done, and it crushed me.
I want more than anything to run this race, especially after the Boston tragedy. I want to run for those lost, and prove that I’m not letting fear get in my way.
As I was running yesterday though, trying hard not to let myself walk, trying to ignore the screaming pain in my legs, I kept repeating to myself “You can do this. I’m not letting you quit.” Then, out of nowhere, something clicked. Of course I CAN do this. I know I can run 13.1 miles because I’ve done it before. And I certainly know I can run 5 miles, because I do that often. I finally realized this isn’t something I “can’t” do, but instead maybe this is something I “shouldn’t” do. At least not at this moment. And that’s when I let myself stop running.
When I got home last night I emailed Nicole for some advice, and she directed me to this post from her trainer. It’s clear to me that I just pushed myself too hard, too fast, and I need to give it a rest.
I’m still not sure if this means I’m selling my bib, or if I’ll just go easier on myself and still try to finish the race. I know I’ll regret it big time if I don’t try, but I also don’t want to hurt myself worse.
At least I no longer feel like I can’t do it, I’m just realizing that maybe I shouldn’t.
Have you ever dealt with shin splints? Ever struggled with the difference between ‘can’t’ and ‘shouldn’t'?