Half Marathon Training: Week 12…of 12. Wait, What?

As I mentioned last week, I borrowed my brother’s bike so that I could get in a few cross-training workouts without putting a lot of strain on my knee. I rode the bike a few weeks ago and wrote about what a natural I am, and I was just as awesome this time around. Yup, cruised around town like a champ and everyone was like “Oh my gosh, who is that professional? This is obviously not her first rodeo. She’s fantastic!”

I’m sorry; I just can’t lie to you guys. No one said that.

I went out for my first ride on Monday and, much to my chagrin, it was not without struggles. I set out after work and had gotten just far enough away from my house that it would be brutal to have to walk the bike back whilst rocking my helmet, huffing up a hill when the chain did something crazy and I found myself starting to creep to an alarmingly slow pace while my legs windmilled at an alarmingly fast pace (again). I hopped off and messed with the gears (or something) until the bike seemed to be back in working order and was about to pat myself on the back, but thought better of it when I saw how dirty my paws were from the bike grease. I tried to wipe them on the grass, got back on the bike and took off down the hill!

And immediately got a bug in the eye.

My initial reaction was to stop and get it the heck out, but then I remembered how dirty my hands were from the bike chain and I had to make a judgment call: bug in the eye or grease in the eye? BUG OR GREASE??

I chose bug. If I had the choice to make again, I might handle the situation differently, but what’s done is done. Let’s move on.

The rest of the ride went much better. I did have a moment of self-doubt when I realized that I would have to stop at an intersection with cars until the light turned green and failed to come to most graceful stop. I might have been able to brush it off and pretend that the cars weren’t there had it not been for the lady bike rider who cruised up next to me in her sleek biking outfit and non-mountain bike and then shot right through the red light with the kind of devil-may-care attitude that gets people HURT. I think I muttered something about being surprised because “I could have sworn that bike riders had to obey the rules of the road” and then I dragged myself off of the curb and finished up my ride.

I took Tuesday off and then went out for a 4-mile run on Wednesday. The pain in my knee and the pain in my shin seemed to meet up to form a super pain so I took it easy for the first mile or so. After that the pain subsided and the rest of the run went well. I stretched and iced a lot when I got home but it was pretty sore the next day. I decided to forego a run on Thursday and do the bike again instead, which worked out great. I don’t know if it stretched my knee out or what but I felt great afterwards and then for the next couple of days.

I rested up on Friday and then headed out on Saturday morning for my (dum dum dummmm) last long run before the half marathon. To be honest, I was a nervous nelly about this one. As much as I tried not to, I built it up in my mind as “the last big run!” and kept on thinking of it as a tone-setter for the race (even though that’s definitely not the case – just because one week’s long run is bad doesn’t mean the next one will be, and vice versa).

Well I’m happy to report that the run went really well! I told myself that I would run until I was ready to stop and I ended up covering 10 miles. It was pretty hot out so I brought water with me – good thing because I definitely needed it. I also brought some energy chews (these ones, in case you’re wondering) and ate one every half mile or so after mile 5 for a little boost. I have tried a few different forms of “fuel” and I found these to be the easiest to carry and get to without having to stop and mess with a package. I’m glad these ones worked out so that I won’t have to worry about it next weekend.

I was really relieved that the run went well. I’m still not 100% confident in my knee so I won’t be going nuts with training this upcoming week (not that I would be anyways – you are supposed to “taper” your training for the week before a race) but having a good run definitely helped me mentally.

The countdown is on! T-6 days!

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