Today is not the Race: On Pain.

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There are officially 12 days until I will be running 13.1 miles with thousands of other nutcases, just like me.  I just printed my confirmation page just a few minutes ago and my running number is #24521.
Last week, I ran the entire course with my new running buddy Abiola (she is a nursing student who joined East Nasty to have something to distract her from all her hard studies).  Yes, I’ve already run a half marathon!  At the end of that 13 miles, I was in some serious pain.
It’s funny how when you’re in pain you’ll try anything to make it go away, or distract yourself from it, so it feels like it doesn’t exist. 
It started at mile eight, right at the top of the steepest, longest hill in the course, going north on 12 South.  I started feeling some pain in my hip.  By mile 10, it had moved to my knee.  By mile 12, I was dragging my left leg to the finish line.  After the course was over, I hobbled my way home and through the rest of the day.   It was the longest training run I’ve ever completed.  But it wasn’t the race.
Yesterday, I met back up with East Nasty to complete yet another Sunday training run.  Though I showed up prepared for a  6-7 mile run, it turned out we were running 10 miles.  Pretty quickly my knee began to ache, and I began an inner struggle.  Should I keep going?   If I keep going,  I might injure myself.  If I stop, I might lose the mental battle, and does that mean I’ll stop on race day too?
At the 5-mile water stop, I called Patrick to come pick me up.  I left my poor running partner, Abiola, and stopped running all together.  I felt like a loser.
But Patrick continued to encourage me the rest of the day that “today is not the race.”  And he was right.  I don’t want to be injured on race day, so for the next 12 days, I’ll be taking it easy.  Hopefully, by next week, I’ll be ready for 13 miles, relatively pain-free.