Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I've Recently Learned I Can Run 15 Miles... The Hard Way

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We ran two half marathons two Saturdays in a row. This was not only the furthest I had run upon first completion, but the longest I had run in a one week span.

We were registered for the second half marathon in advance, but the first one was a spur of the moment ordeal. We were in Grand Forks visiting Michael's family, trying to plan out our morning 12 mile run. We mapped out a good route, and checked the city website for any conflicts that might arise due to the area festival going on: Catfish Days. Turns out the festivities involved a 5K and half marathon. So, we woke up early, and registered on site.

We managed the first half marathon in Grand Forks through the late morning heat, coming in at just over two and a half hours. The second half marathon was the Urban Wildland Half Marathon in Richfield, MN. We beat our previous time (due to confidence, a shaded course, and optimal weather conditions) by about 8 minutes, about two hours and twenty five minutes.

Now, we were sore after each of these long runs, but I had never experienced the ankle pain I've been experiencing since the second half marathon.

A week later, our training schedule dictated a fifteen mile run. I was nervous about pushing myself with painful ankles. Two days prior, I opted to exercise on the elliptical at the gym instead of doing the scheduled eight mile run. I stopped at the drug store, purchased some athletic tape, and taped up my ankles. I went to the gym prepared to run eight miles, and do an hour workout on the elliptical. Instead, I surprised myself and ran the entire time. The first five miles were the worst, but as I loosened up, the pain went away. In fact, I couldn't feel much of anything. I think it was the adrenaline. Midway through, I used some Gu, and when it came to the last mile, I was completely out of steam and walked the rest of the way. Afterwards, I felt proud of myself for the accomplishment.

Today was my first run since the fifteen miler. I decided to try running with ankle braces (the ace bandage variety). The pain was pretty intense for the first couple of miles, but at about mile three, I was pretty comfortable. By the end, I found my stride, and felt comfortable running. I'm not entirely sure the ankle braces helped. In fact, my feet looked pretty blue when I took them off, and if I'm not mistaken I believe our feet need circulation while we exercise. Hmmm.

Instinct tells me I should rest my ankles--that I pushed myself so hard over the past few weeks and that my ankles need a break. However, I'm able to push through the pain and run pain-free once I break through the 3-5 mile point. I'm not quite sure what to do, but I know that no matter what, on October 3rd I'm running 26.2 miles.