I went to Gary Gribble's today. As soon as I put on a new pair of shoes, a lot of my pain went away. I was actually able to run a hundred yards or so on each brand I tried on -- with little pain. Quite a contrast to my old New Balance, in which I felt pain just walking from the parking lot to the store.
So this is good news. It means that at least part of my pain is due to warn out shoes. And in chatting up the salesperson I learned that running on uneven icy surfaces for long periods of time (like 20 miles) can make you sore. So that's another piece of the puzzle.
The last piece I found when I was trying out the shoes. As I was running along the sidewalk outside the mall, I looked at my reflection in the store windows. I'm clearly landing with my forefoot a little bit in front of my body. That means I'm actually hitting the brakes with each step. And my brakes are my quads. So that's why my quads hurt.
I've got to get it to where my feet land under my body. I've known this for a month or so now, and I thought I had made the proper adjustments. But seeing myself in the window confirmed that I haven't.
At any rate, all of this is encouraging. It means that I'm not hopelessly flawed and therefore incapable of becoming a marathon. Rather, I just need to make some adjustments.
I'm starting to think this Carlsbad race is going to be just fine. So long as I properly take care of myself in the next three weeks...