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Marathon training: There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Training for a marathon has been nothing short of an intense experience. It has been time-consuming and tiring, but amazing all the same. Here is part four of my story of the ups and downs. All that’s left now is The Big Day.  {Check out part three!)

There are only two weeks until I get up at 6:30 a.m. and set out to run 26.2 miles. Talk about how time flies! I can’t believe it is so close – part of me wishes it was tomorrow while another part is concentrating really hard on how to stop time. Regardless of what I’m feeling today, I know I’ll be ready in two weeks.

And she’s back!
Now, I may have mentioned this earlier, but this friend I’m doing this race with – superhuman. After the injury she sustained over a month ago, she made sure to do all the physical therapy necessary, and now she is running this race with me. Phew! Even if we don’t run side-by-side (try as we may), it will still be nice knowing someone is doing it with me.

Oh, the shin splint
You know how they say, “if I were to do it differently, I would…” Well, we don’t have the time for me to get into every detail. I mean, who knows what training really entails until you do it? Answer – no one. It didn’t matter that my friend had been through it and told me everything I needed to know: stretching is imperative, as is drinking lots of water, maybe taking up swimming and never giving up. Sure, I stretched, but not NEARLY as much as I should have. The result? A shin splint that almost ruined my career as a marathon runner (this career I speak of – I may be retiring early).

Anyway, I went out to run a long run. I made it to mile 6 when I knew something wasn’t right. After I reached mile 8, I weighed out my options and realized hurting myself further at that point wouldn’t do me any good. So, I stopped. My training for the next two weeks took a serious hit. Even though it didn’t hurt while I would run and I was icing it everyday, it would really hurt the following day (I got this new limp. Cool – NOT). If I was lucky, I could run every other day, so I tried cooling it for awhile. My friends and family can attest – I was NOT a happy camper at this point. Then I ran 17 miles, and decided I would not let this injury get in my way.

Only two weeks away, can I manage 20?
I ran 12 miles and felt fine – not amazing or great, but fine. The following week, I bumped up my running and decided I was ready for the 20. This is the 20 miles you run so you know you can conquer the race. I tried really hard to reach that 20-mile mark, but I came up short.

So, I only did 18. Everything hurt, and I mean EVERYTHING – ankles, shoulders back, that shin splint, you name it. Running those last two miles probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference when it came to how much I was hurting the next day, but after the few weeks I had, I decided it wasn’t worth it. Was I mad after the fact? Sure. But how mad can you get at yourself for going out there and running for three straight hours? Plus, I know I’ll finish this race. I have to.

I have now allowed myself to completely daydream about race day. Before, it was too far in the distance, still a goal that I wasn’t sure I could achieve. But now its here, and I’m going to finish – even if I’m limping across that finish line.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing