Not me. I’m not stupid. Well, I am sometimes. But that’s not what I’m referring to right now.
I’m talking about my training plan for the Marine Corps Marathon, my first ever marathon, which will be on October 30.
I started out with good intentions, using a modified version of the Runner’s World SmartCoach program. I started plenty early, and added a few half marathons in September and October to test myself. I had cleared the entire month of October of weekend events and anything major so that I could complete my Monster Month without unnecessary distraction.
My original MCM goal: finish and feel good. I was planning on running very very slowly – as slowly as I could manage – which would have been a pace of 12:30/mile. Mentally, I think, I need to set my expectations very low for the first race of new distance. That way, I finish the race feeling good and wanting to do another one. I think if I put too much pressure on myself to go fast I’d hate the distance and I’d never run it again.
So since my goal for MCM was to simply finish, then my goal for the Houston Marathon on January 15 (10 weeks after MCM) was going to be improve on my MCM time, even if I only improve by 1 second. I thought it sounded like an excellent plan.
Then, on October 2, my ankles decided not to cooperate anymore.
I think I’ve been on the edge of peroneal tendonits for a months now. I’ve generally followed the 10% rule in increasing my training (although that rule is completely unfounded), and was really good about not pushing myself too hard in workouts so I didn’t fall into the overtraining trap. But that didn’t seem to matter. The day after my half marathon on October 2, my peroneal tendons were sore – so much so that walking was arduous. They’ve been very tender ever since.
I did a short 4 mile run on Wednesday morning to check my ankles and see how they’re doing and they seem to be holding up. My best estimation is that they’ll hold up just fine through mile ~18 or so, and after that I have no idea what’s going to happen with my ankles or really any of my muscles after that point.
But since my goal is to just finish my first marathon (and then improve my time in the Houston Marathon on Jan 15), I’m going to go ahead and very slowly run the Marine Corps Marathon. That’s right. I’ll have run around 30 miles in the entire month of October, and then I’ll run 26.2 in one day. On recently healed ankles. I know some of you are going “What!? You should have deferred!” But I think – no I know – I can run the Marine Corps Marathon and feel at least pretty good at the finish line. Still, my heart will be racing all of Thursday, Oct 20 – the final deadline for deferment requests. I’ve lowered my expectations of my race even further – any pace <14:00/mile is okay now, as long as I Beat the Bridge. But, dammit, I want the Marine Corps Marathon to be my first marathon. And I’d rather get a DNF than a DNS. It’s a pride thing.
Like I said, sometimes I’m stupid.