EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the sixth in a series of weekly columns by Kayla Dunn, a 25-year-old Belpre resident who is training to run in the News and Sentinel Half Marathon on Aug. 16. Dunn teaches Autistic students at Fairplains Elementary School.
This past Monday was our 12 mile route. I was anxious about this for many reasons. First it's a lot of miles, and second I injured my knee a couple weeks ago and it has been bothering me since. We started at the Parkersburg City Park and went to south side and back. It was a warm day, but it wasn't one of our hottest runs so I felt good about that. When it is humid it has been difficult for me to get my breathing down. I'm still learning how to properly breathe in the warmer weather.
We started onto Washington Avenue like we always do and went from there. I was feeling pretty good until the first water stop. After that it just went downhill from there. Nothing about this run felt good. I wore a brace on my knee for the first time since it has been bothering me. I don't know if it was the brace, the knee, or a combination of everything, but nothing felt right. I couldn't get my breathing under control, my knee hurt and couldn't get a good stride going. I pretty much felt like I struggled to get through the run the whole time.
Any kind of incline I walked. I didn't want to strain my knee any more than I already have. I had to walk more frequently during this route and I wasn't too happy about that. My friend Hannah even though she could have kept going, stuck with me the whole time. It really does help you get through a run when someone is willing to be there for the duration. When we got to south side, I walked on some of the hills past Parkesburg South until I reached the water stop. When I got to the water stop, I had to get my attitude in check because I was not happy about it. I got a few drinks of water and stretched out.
I had to do a lot of walking, and then running and just went back and forth between the two. I was very disappointed during the whole run. About halfway through, Cecil Chapman asked me if I was going to able to finish. I knew then, even if I had to walk the rest of the way, I was going to complete the whole 12 miles. Even though it was tempting to raise my white flag and surrender, I wasn't going to. I would have been more disappointed in myself if I would have done that.
From the water stop at South to the next water stop on Broad, I felt a little better. I had to push myself to run, but I ran more during this stretch. I felt like I was limping, I don't know if it was the brace or what that made the difference. I'm going to try to find another alternative to the brace, because I didn't care for it. I also got advice from other runners to get a foam roller for my knee so I will be doing that and trying it out before the next long run. I do not want a repeat of this run.
We got to the water stop close to 7th Street. I knew we didn't have too much further to go, and honestly all I really wanted to do was to just be done. I wasn't in a good mood, I was disappointed and just wanted to be done with it. We went back and forth between running and walking until we reached the park. I have never been so happy to get back to the park. I got a drink and got in my car and I was ready to go! Ice and ibuprofen were my friends that night. I'm going to be trying different stretches and the foam roller on my knee this week to see how that will help out with my knee situation and go from there.
Everyone in the River City Runners and Walkers Club has been such an amazing encouragement. At a time like that where you are very disappointed and almost at the point of giving up, they tell you they have all been there and just keep pushing through. That's what I needed to hear after that run, because I knew I could physically and even mentally do better. If anyone has considered to start running or walking I highly recommend joining some of these races and meeting this great group of people. Everyone is so friendly and is more than welcome to give advice when needed. The River City Runners and Walkers Club website has a list of all the local races.
The next half marathon training is t 6 p.m. on July 14, 2014, at the Parkersburg City Park. If you need some encouragement on training or just want some companionship for the half marathon, this is a great way to do it!