Training for a marathon is no picnic..it’s hard work, but I’m a happy to report that I’m now 3/4’s finished with my training. With the exception of a minor, but troublesome foot injury, I’ve managed to survive this training session better than some of my previous ones. My lungs have been holding up pretty good too, with only a handful of bad breathing days so far.
Last Thursday I attempted the dreaded 21 miler, (aka, the marathon before the marathon). The walk did not go as well as planned. My legs were starting to ache from mile 1 and only got worse as I went on. Due to ill fitting shoes (the new Saucony’s) and that nagging foot injury, I was only able to complete 19.2 miles. Talk about pain, and this on top of an already arthritic body. The walk left me totally trashed and as expected, threw me into my yellow breathing zone for a couple of days after. I would have stopped at mile 10 and re-attempted the walk the following week, but there simply isn’t enough time.
With less than 3 weeks of training left , I can’t take the risk of anymore injuries, so Ive decided to start tapering off my mileage right now and just hope for the best. For the remainder of my training walks, which consists of 2 more long distance walks ( a 14 mile and a 10 mile) and 8 more medium distance walks ( 4-6 miles each), I will be back to wearing my Asics Hyperspeed IIs . They might not be the best shoes for me, but my feet are used them and they haven’t caused me any injuries. The Sauconies are OK for short sprints, but not for long slow walks.
Getting back to that foot problem, Ive developed what they call a metatarsalgia in the ball of my left foot. It’s a fairly common injury in older marathoner runners, and normally it wouldn’t be a big deal, but because I’m supposed to be walking a marathon in just 3 weeks, it’s a potentially huge problem. What happens, is that because I’ve trying to avoid landing on that part of my foot when I walk, I end up landing instead on the outer edge of my foot which is causing the rest of my leg to get sore. Add to that the pain of an already arthritic body, and it can make walking long distances pure torture. If it flared up during the marathon, it could prevent me from finishing the race. I’m hoping now, that because I’m finished with the majority of my long walks, that my foot will have more time to heal…albeit 3 weeks isn’t much time.
On a more positive note, Ive had fewer problems this year with calf cramps, which I attribute to better stretching and better hydration.
As far as my asthma goes, my lung function has been been fairly stable. This time of year tends to be when I have my best breathing, which is a good thing. I do however, get short of breath much easier these days, especially when I exert myself. Even my shorter walks are taking a lot more out of me than they used to.
Assuming that I have the good fortune of crossing the finish line at this marathon, this will definitely be my last full marathon. As much as I love doing these races, my body just can’t tolerate 26.2 mile distances anymore and/or the training it takes to prepare for them. Ive now done 6 full marathons in just 5 years and I think that’s a respectable number to retire at. Half marathons are challenging enough, and I think I still have a few of those left in me.