Dang… I haven’t written one of the training updates in years.
Trying to get in shape to do this race has been challenging to say the least. It’s been 3 years since Ive attempted something crazy like this and I almost forgot just how grueling it can be when you don’t have any functional lung capacity to work with. Actually, my lung capacity (FVC) is in the mid to high 40s% range, but that’s down from 68% just 5 years ago. My FEV1, thankfully is still in the 30’s. Anyway, you get the picture. With numbers like this it’s a herculean task to walk 5 miles, let alone 26. To top things off, I can’t racewalk anymore, so it feels like Im moving in slow-motion, especially on the long hauls. The slowness drives me crazy, but interestingly, my overall pace on the longer walks hasn’t decreased that much.
Putting aside the limited number of days I’ve had to prepare for this race, the humid weather we’ve had and the endless foot problems I’ve encountered from ill fitting shoes, by far my lungs have been the biggest issue for me (so what else is new). I’ll feel half way decent for a day and then feel horrible for the next five. Compared to just a few years ago, my asthma symptoms definitely increase in intensity following the longer walks, but there’s really no way around it if I wanna do this race. All I can do is medicate heavily before, during and after each walk and keep my fingers crossed that I don’t throw myself over the edge. Because of this constant up and down battle with my breathing, I’ve had to eliminate most of my shorter walks during the week, and save my lungs for the long weekend treks. Not exactly the best way to train for a marathon, but what else can I do?
The good news, is that I continue to make advances in my training , albeit it small advances. I’m thrilled to death that I was able to complete an 18 mile walk just 4 weeks out of the hospital, but 18 miles does not a full marathon make. The extra 8 miles needed to complete a 26.2 mile marathon might as well be 800, as each additional mile past the 20 miles mark is exponentially more difficult. Essentially, I have to increase my endurance 2 fold if I ever hope to walk those extra miles on race day, and with less than a month to train, this is still a very iffy proposition. Also, Ive been experiencing few leg cramps this time around. Probably because Im not racewalking and therefore not stretching out my calf muscles as much.
All things considered, Im doing amazing well. I’ll continue to take it week by week, but if I suffer any injuries, or have to skip even one of the remaining long distance training walks due to crappy breathing or really bad flare, then Im outta the game completely.