01 April 2012

Week 13: 35 miles

My legs felt good this week. I think sticking to the Ravennas is the right thing for now; every time I try to change my footwear, I am sorry. My mid-week "semi-long" pace runs started to taper this week, and I had an amazing 5-miler at 8:34 pace. My long run this week was slower (10:45) than my recent long runs. I have to trust that the magic of the taper will allow me to run 26.2 miles faster than I can run 19 right now.

I go into every long run with some fear, which makes sense because I've never had a lot of trust in my body. I've always been scared of seeing what my limits are. When I was younger, I remember attempting new tricks in gymnastics, or new dives when I was on the diving team. If it was too scary, I'd just refuse to do them, like a horse who refuses a jump and sends the rider flying. I put myself out there and seemed to be trying, but in my heart I knew I was refusing. It applied to running too. I ran intermittently in high school and college, but I was always a slow runner. When it got too tough, I slowed down.

And now, because of my MS, I have an even better excuse. About six years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with a migraine (I've never had one before or since). I spent the next six hours throwing up, and I completely lost my equilibrium. It felt like I was in a fun house, falling into the walls and crashing into things, with the whole world spinning uncontrollably. After a week in the hospital and countless pharmaceuticals, I got better, but I haven't gotten over it. I'm scared my body will betray me again, especially if I push it too hard. I spend a lot of time worrying about losing some critical bodily function, like walking or controlling my bladder. I anticipate the next breakdown. But my husband reminds me that it's not happening now, and he's right I need to focus on what's happening in this moment and not worry about what might be.

My tempo/pace runs, speedwork, long runs, they are all tinged with fear. Training for this marathon has helped; I'm doing distances that I never thought I'd do, and pushing myself in ways I haven't before. But I think there's more...

Pace range for this week: 8:34 to 10:45
Temperature range: 27 - 43 degrees

Details for Week 13 (Mar 26 - Apr 1):
Monday: off
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 5 miles (8:34 pace!)
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: off
Saturday: 19 miles
Sunday: 1 mile with Maple


  1. I think you are totally brave for facing and conquering your fear. You're doing great! Here's to another fantastic week of running!

  2. Several runner/bloggers I follow (including the guy who wrote the training guide I'm using) are adamant about a balance between pushing limits and preserving your body. Your fear of MS exacerbations is probably a healthy brake on the usual runner's tendency to push hard, far and fast as much as possible. (My PT friend's first words re: nagging pains: "You crazy runners will just barrel through anything, no matter what.")

    It seems like this training is also a welcome counterweight to body-related surprises. Running a 19-miler and hitting 8:30ish pace on that 5-miler are novel & awesome, rather than novel & nauseating/frightening.

  3. Kat, you're right. I'm really enjoying the novel + awesome.

    Amy - thank you! Your comment reminds me that I'm not just slow, I'm brave too! ;)

  4. Running a marathon? There's MORE? That's more than 99% of the population will EVER accomplish, MS or not! Fear schmear! You've stomped it, or at least beat it.

    I agree with Kat that running especially is a balance between pushing and preserving - and we've all experienced pain or injury that reminds us of just that. It's a slow growth sport - we do anything too far or too hard. Which makes it accessible and rewarding at the same time.

    Anyway - you're ALMOST THERE... I'm so pumped for you.

  5. You're amazing Portia -- keep it up, and trust your body. If you listen closely, it will tell you what it's really capable of, and when you really should back off. I signed up for a 6K in May and a 10K in September (what was I thinking!?) I'm terrified but you give me courage that of course I could do it. :-)

  6. Thanks Andi - you're right. If I was letting fear drive, I wouldn't be doing this. Okay I feel better now.

    Jen - you are in amazing shape and you can absolutely do a 6k and a 10k. If you want to run with a group, we run every Tuesday at 7:30, meet in the gym. Pace around 10:00 miles or whatever people want.