Because I've been running on the treadmill. And I feel like I'm getting nowhere (literally). My weekly mileage should be creeping up, but I can only do so much on the treadmill in an hour. And the physical mechanics of running are completely different on a treadmill than on the road. On the road, I'm propelling myself forward. On the treadmill I feel like I'm desperately trying to keep myself from propelling backwards. On the road, I control the speed from foot strike to foot strike. On the treadmill, there's no natural control of speed; instead, I feel like I'm controlled by the treadmill.
I was into week three of my training plan and it just didn't feel like I was making any great strides toward a marathon. My right leg (hip to knee to calf) was feeling oh-so-abused. Every time I would get on the treadmill, it was searing pain. So I slowed my pace down on the treadmill, and it helped a bit. But this just made me feel like a slug. I start wondering if it's all in my head. Really. How can running on the treadmill in air conditioning be so much harder than running on uneven pavement? And in the scorching summer heat of Cairo?!
No matter what I did, the treadmill running didn't work for me. So last week I decided I would try the early morning run - something I've never, ever, EVER done. At 5AM. Before work. Ug. I TOTALLY HATE WAKING UP THAT EARLY. But with my best alternative option (lunch time treadmill) proving to be the worst option, I had to do it.
Only one thing stood in my way. A 32-pound, 20-month-old toddler. That's right. Just as I was making a monumental decision about my marathon training, my Kellen decided he no longer needed his crib to sleep in. In fact, he decided that he didn't need any sleep. At. All. Just like *that*, the little dude refused to nap in the afternoon. I assumed it was a fluke. When it came time for bed, I tucked him in his crib. He's always been a good sleeper - down to sleep by 7:30PM, up around 6:30AM. I KNOW. Awesome, right?
Well, not that night. Insted, after I tucked him in, he was up, out of his crib, screaming, and BAM! Jumping out of the crib and pounding on the door. BAM BAM BAM! I tried to tuck him in the the toddler bed I had diligently assembled months ago, but he would have none of that either. My husband and I drug the mattress from the spare room to the baby's room. We plopped it on the floor and piled it high with his favorite stuffed animals. Finally after about an hour and a half, he fell asleep on it. I thought I was home free - he'd gone to bed so much later than usual, he was certain to sleep late the next morning, right? I was sure I'd be able to haul my exhausted self out of bed at the wee hours of the morning and go for a run. The run I so desperately needed to prove to myself that I WAS training for a marathon.
Of course, wrong. 5AM came around and I got up - not to the sound of my alarm but to the sound of the baby pounding on his door, crying. I opened his door and he flung himself into my arms. What was I to do? Crawl into bed and snuggle with him of course. At that moment it didn't matter what I needed - it was what he needed that was most important. It was a sweet morning, despite missing my run.
|Glorious, sleeping baby.|
Thankfully, thankfully! He went to be easier the next night and was sleeping when I gingerly put on my sneakers and grabbed my iPod. I tiptoed downstairs, careful not to wake the fab hubby or the kiddos. Five Miles. That's all I had to do. Surprisingly, it's absolutely amazing at 5:30 in the morning. So few people outside, save for the boabs and the other crazy runners outside, trying to beat the heat or get some miles in before work. The sun was already up and the weather was perfect - not too hot, not to cold. Why hadn't I done this before? (Oh, I know - I HATE waking up early.)
I finished my run easily that morning. I had minimal pain AND I had finished it faster than if I'd attempted to run it on the treadmill. When I got back in the house, the baby was up and playing and happy to see me. I went to work that day - and didn't have to spend my lunch hour on the treadmill.
Later in the week I finished up two other early-morning runs - including a fast 2-miler and a long, 8-miler. My leg is feeling better; I'm sore but not hurt/injured (there is a different between true pain and workout-soreness); and my outside running pace is surprisingly faster than my treadmill run/walk pace. Is it all in my head? Or am I simply not a treadmill runner? I dunno. I tend to think it's the mechanical issues and my running form, but in any case - I'm not training on a treadmill any more.
Fourteen weeks left until my marathon. FOURTEEN. Last week, my long run was 8 miles; this week it will be 10 miles. I'm pounding out two weekly runs (5 miles each) before work; two days at work, I'll be cross-training (bike? elliptical?) and lifting weights (which I've been doing). And my long run should increase each week by 2 miles (except for the weeks we're on R&R - I'll have to adjust those based on our schedule), gradually getting to the epic 20-miler I'll be doing one morning in September.
I know I can do this. I just needed to get it out of my head that I couldn't do it. My only goal is to finish - time doesn't matter (although I have to finish in under 6.5 hours based on the race requirements).
Now if only I could get the baby to stop trying to thwart my marathon plans. We're one week into Kellen using his new bed - and he's had good nights and bad nights, as well as good mornings and bad mornings. Tomorrow is a run morning for me --- and I so hope it's a good morning for him as well.