Exhausting 3 days!

Half way to Marathon Training

I have been training for the Hershey Half Marathon for 2 months now. I signed up back in June, knowing I would have to train hard for the October race. There have been other things I didn’t consider, and are still trying to learn. Yesterday I learned a good lesson; rest can make or break a long run.

I am divorced and share custody of my son with his father. We have a strange schedule that allows us both to see our son for a few days alternating each week. And that means, I train when I’m alone, sometimes 3 consecutive days of training, with a race in between, but also 3 days of no activity or training at all. This weekend, I had to train for 3 days and overdid it and now I’m paying for it.

On Friday, I had off from work, and it was a beautiful day. Roget and I decided to go hiking to Swatara State Park. The Park has 24 miles of trails, and the Appalachian Trail goes by it. We both thought, without telling each other, we would do about 4 miles and go home. But oh boy, were we wrong! The directions on the phone dropped us off at a side parking lot, Sands Siding Road. No bathrooms in sight, except for a sign saying that the bathroom was in Trout Run Trailhead. So we started to head towards it. Well, 4.5 miles later we were there, both of us dying to use the bathroom. We took a look at the map and decided that going back to the car for the 4.5 miles was not something either one us wanted to do, and we were still to find the Appalachian Trail! So we decided to loop back through the AT and hike the shorter distance back to the car. Another 4 miles later, we were back on the car. It wasn’t a bad hike, it was easy most of the road was paved; not very hilly hike, but we were both tired.

The next day I had the 5K on The 4th, which I was super excited about, and got myself excited for despite the rain. Running in the rain is not new for me, it has to be at least my 3rd run in the rain. First one was The GOTR Frozen run, then Jig Jog 5K and last was the Kat’s Angels run. But the rain was heavier this time, but at least it was warm. The run was good, my calf felt tight, but I felt good through the run. I came in at 25.30, which is my best time at a 5K to date! We rested most of the rest of the day, movie after the run, and didn’t do anything until we went to the Hershey Symphony show later that night. We even got home early, and only drank water the whole day, in preparation for the long run of Sunday.

Sunday I woke up tired, my legs slightly sore and my hip a little sore as well. I wasn’t sure my body would be capable to do the 7.25 miles long run planned for that day, but off we went. It was hot; it was humid, but cloudy. We started our run at Bull Frog Park in Hummelstown, thinking we could run the track around Hershey Medical Center.

First time we ran up through the running path going up to Shank Park, it was the best part of the run. Shaded by trees, and close to the creeks, it keep me cool for the first 3 miles, but the slight uphill was hurting my shins, so I ventured off to the Hershey Medical Center. I ran past the medical Center, to the Medical Center East, and back. It felt hotter, and I had slowed down significantly, no water because it was back at Bull Frog Park, but kept running as much as I could. At around mile 4, my hair started to really bother me, so I tried to put it up in a bun above my head, got too confident and pulled for another loop of the hair tie, when it snapped. I had to stop and make the best of the resources. I braided my hair, and used the snapped hair tie to hold it together. About 5 miles in, I had to use every motivational line that I could think of to keep myself going. But I completed, and exceeded my 7.25 goal. My hips were very sore, my calves were tight, I was sweaty and tired. I wanted to lay on the grass and stay there for the rest of the day!  We Went home and fell asleep to Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix…. God, the movie version of the book REALLY suck!... anyway, when I woke up my hips were still very sore.

So my lesson learned by this crazy 3 day? Rest before a long run. That means no 8 miles of hiking, no fast 5Ks the day before and tons of water the day before and the morning before.

This whole experience has me questioning if I can do a half marathon, but there is no turning around now, since we are already registered and half way through training. I hope better days are ahead! But tonight, rest, water, and hanging out with my awesome kid. Tomorrow, zumba, to stretch out the hips, Track exercises, and Monk.