running · Uncategorized

20-mile run (or the run that didn’t happen)

For the first time in my marathon training career (including the training I did for my first marathon in 2015), I did not finish a long run.  I was supposed to do 20 miles today, and I quit at 12.

I’ve been dreading this run all week.  But to be candid, I dread all of my long runs.  However, I did the 18-mile run and so there was really no reason in the world why I shouldn’t have been able to do the run today.  I’ve done a 20-, 22-, and ultimately a 26.2-mile run before.

This time was different.  My hydration was the same, the pre-run breakfast wasn’t anything out of the norm.  I got a good night’s sleep.  My legs felt fine.  The temperature outside was cool and mild.  But my mind – my heart – was not in the groove today.

Any of you who have trained for a long distance race know that a big part of being able to train and do long distance racing is MENTAL.  Your head has to be completely in the game, constantly pumping you up, repeating mantras that will keep you going, bargaining with yourself to get through the run.

I didn’t do any of that today.  And the reason why has been haunting me all day.  I don’t know why.  I just know that I did not give a shit if I finished that damn run or not.

I started questioning why I’m even putting myself through this.  As I was standing in the shower after I got home, sobbing out of frustration and disappointment in myself, I asked myself, “Why are you doing this?  This marathon stuff is so stupid.”

I don’t know why I’m putting myself through this.  I just know that despite this training stuff totally sucking, I’m 100% psyched to go to Chicago and run the marathon.  I truly can’t wait!  And I have no doubts that I will finish.  I’ve committed to running for a great cause and I’m running with a good friend, David and Kayla will be there to cheer me on and I just want to get it done now!

But the training.  God, it sucks so bad.  I’m a slow runner and so these long runs take me hours.  Hours.  That’s hours running alone.  It’s boring.  My legs get tired and it takes a lot of physical and mental stamina to get through those runs.  And up until now, I’ve been able to do it.

It’s okay, though.  I’m moving on.  Tomorrow I’m going to do 8 miles, just so the 20 is done.  Splitting up long runs is not uncommon, but it’s definitely not optimal training.  You know what, though?  It’s going to have to be good enough this time.  I still have a 22-mile run on my training schedule and I’m going to knock it out of the ball park.

Courage.  Power.  Strength.  I have these things and I can do this.

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8 thoughts on “20-mile run (or the run that didn’t happen)

  1. You are right about it being mental. I was telling someone the other day that it’s not the miles that I dread but the time! The thought of spending most of my Saturday running is hard to get past in my head. The marathon is a piece of cake compared to the training! We just put bad runs out of our head and forge on to the next. Taper is in a few weeks! 😜

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  2. I totally understand how you were feeling—we’ve been doing longer and longer runs lately and it’s definitely all in your head. If you aren’t feeling it, it isn’t going to get done. And you know what? That’s OK sometimes. I honestly believe that running should be fun, and if it’s stopped being fun, then maybe you needed that day to step away from it and clear your thoughts and refocus. Don’t sweat it; you’ll do great!

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  3. The previous coach for my running group said if you can do complete 16 miles, you can finish a marathon. I’ve no idea how, but I trusted her (luckily I’ve never set my sights on a full).

    I feel you on hours. Unfortunately, due to circumstances this summer, I’ve had to do many solo long runs. I think I’m even slower tan you, but of course I am not covering as many miles. If I were training for a full I would have had to DNS this summer. Just not happening, not with what I’ve had on my plate.

    I don’t think it’s at all unusual to feel like you do, either. So hang in there and I hope you can enjoy the marathon (as much as one enjoys a marathon).

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  4. This made me laugh – there are days when it’s just great to get out and run, as I remember, and days when you are totally doing it because you ‘have to’. I split long runs all the time, especially as a majority of my training happens throughout the summer and it’s just too hot to do in a oner. I’ve also done bits on the road and bits on the treadmill. Who cares? Some pedant no doubt, but they aren’t you. Go you! And, of course, you will rock Chicago! Have fun 😀

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