My father has this expression he likes to call upon when I am explaining the difficulties of living and working in the Third World.
“To get to the world series in October,” he says with his best dad voice, “you gotta play double headers in Cleveland in April.”
The sentiment is sweet, yet now always applicable to volunteering. It is, though, very reflective of marathon training.
This month has not been a great one for training. I spent the first half of the month dealing with foot pain from not wearing shoes on New Year’s Eve. The glass cut was on my heel, forcing me to walk on the ball of my foot for at least a week. That caused cramping in my calf, which lead to a strange pain on the outside of the same foot.
Being injured in Africa is not the same as in America. I do have access to a doctor, but he is two hours away, including a 40-minute walk. I can’t ice because there is no ice in my village. So, to relive pain, I alternated hot and cold wash clothes for 20 minutes at a time while compressing and elevating the foot. It wasn’t ideal, but the pain did ease up and, on the 17th, I finally had a pain free run.
Last week, I hit it hard. I ran a new long run record – 34K, or 21 miles – and hit a weekly mileage high of 48.98 miles. I also threw in a 11K tempo run and a set of strides.
However, that has caught up with me this week. In addition to lots of mileage, I’ve been out of my village a lot lately, which is usually exhausting and drains a lot out of me, and I slept poorly the nights I was away from my bed. It doesn’t help that it has been in the 90s, or so I think but do not know for sure because I don’t have a thermometer. So, now I am so physically exhausted that I when I return from a run I can barely keep my eyes open.
I was supposed to run 15K yesterday, but was so tired that I decided to switch runs and do 11K with a 10-minute stride. I had to stop and walk after the stride, which I rarely do. Then, during this mornings planned 15K, my body was so tired after 5K, that I ended up only doing 11 at an extremely slow pace. To make matters worse, I will be gone this weekend for work meetings and will not be able to make up rest or mileage and I may have to do a shorter long run than expected.
This is frustrating. I am about two months away from the race and I am feel slower than ever. I feel like I have so much work to do if I want to complete this race and do it in the allotted time, but I keep hitting roadblocks. I am sick of the exhaustion and the slow times and I am beginning to dread running each day.
However, these are the tough moments that I knew I would encounter. The times where quitting would feel good and I could go back to a normal life. But I am not going to do that. I have worked too hard for this, invested too much. Plus, I want to be an ultra marathoner more than anything so I am gonna keep fighting.
This is my doubleheader in Cleveland and I will play each inning.