Today I stopped by the post office to pick up a package from a friend in Alaska (a very funny cross-stitch that says "do not f*ck with me"...there is a long and silly story behind that). While I was there the postmistress (who is about my age, I'm guessing) asks me "hey, did I see you out jogging the other day?" I smile and say "I'll bet you did!" She says "I used to run, but I have terrible knees and had bad shin splints all the time."
I reassured her and said that my knees were not great (I've had arthritis since puberty...I can predict cold fronts with my knees just like an old woman), but that running doesn't seem to have worsened them--perhaps the opposite.
I also told her that the combo of knee pain AND shin splints made me wonder if she was in the right shoes for her biomechanics, as I have had similar issues in shoes with either too much or not enough stability. I hope I planted some seeds of possibility in her head. Her story is a common one. I think a lot of people believe they are unable to run because it's been painful in the past. I really believe that for most people the pain is result of improper footwear and/or too much, too soon, too fast training.
I believe this because it is my own running history.
Yesterday I had a nice 10 miler...not fast, but it felt pretty good considering only 2 days prior I had run a brutal 15k race. Today I enjoyed 5+ miles of speedy feet in my new shoes. I had to force myself to slow way down after the first 2 miles, as today was supposed to be an easy run. I still managed to run a good 30 seconds/mile faster than planned.
Tomorrow I will do my upper body and abs workout. I think from here on out I won't be doing the leg strengthening work, since my miles are starting to really pile up each week. Last week I ran my highest mileage week ever--just over 44...including a race. This week I have 48 on the schedule.
I have also decided to do a half marathon (Borgess National City Half Marathon) on 4/25. It fits in MUCH better with my marathon training plan than did the 10 miler I had originally planned for the previous week. I would already be doing a 12 miler that day, so might as well run a fast 13.1, instead.
It will actually work out nicely. 4 weeks out from a marathon is the perfect time to run a half. A week after that I will run my 2nd and final 20 miler, then start my pre-race taper.
I just can't get over how much better training is going this time around. *knocks on wood* This time I am not battling major knee issues...my right knee still gets sore and stiff, but it's not feeling weak and there are no stabbing pains and minimal clicking/popping (which I have always had...no better, no worse than usual). Not only was training painful and scaled-back to help heal my knee last time, but the mental stress was significant. I was not physically overtrained, but I was unable to relax with the constant threat of having to DNS or DNF on race day. Now my only real concern is dealing with the potential for killer leg cramps in the middle of the race, again. Hopefully I get the electrolytes right for marathon #2.
My iron issues also seem to be better. I think that runner who suggested I may be anemic was right on the money. 10 days of increasing my iron supplementation has helped significantly. I don't feel like I am dragging. The thought of running more miles doesn't seem at all daunting. My pace seems to be improving, as well. And I'm sleeping better. I was so tired before, but overtired...running on fumes.
Between the higher mileage, lack of injury, increased iron, and increased electrolytes this gal could potentially be ON FI-YA come race day! :D