A runner and her problems

Thursday, August 29, 2013

 

If you don’t like complaining or reading narratives of self-pity, I’d click out of this post like, right now.

Yesterday I confessed a few things about my book-loving nature and today I have a running confession:

I feel really weak about my marathon training. 

Like, frightfully weak. 

I think that when you dedicate 16 weeks+ of your life to something that requires hours upon hours of attention and physical energy, you’re more than entitled to a few emotional meltdowns. I’m only in week 7 of training for my first marathon and yesterday marked my first (and probably not last) personal collapse. 

There’s no way to even talk about it without coming across as self-centered, egotistical and dramatic, but hopefully by now you’ve come to expect nothing but honesty from me … even if said honesty makes me out to be a total Drama Queen. 

Yesterday evening I was scheduled to run 6 miles after work. Wednesday nights are my mid-week longish run (which basically means it’s about half the distance of my Saturday long run) and after a long 8-hour day at work, the last thing I usually want to do is run for an hour. 

Did I also mention it was 93 degrees outside yesterday?

I brought my gym clothes with me to the office and changed in the bathroom so I could drive straight to the trail and avoid the temptation to go home and nap (napping before a run, no matter how short, never bodes well for me). I took my time stretching and warming up because my subconscious was doing everything in its power to delay moving my legs. Work stressed me out yesterday because a lot of people must have gotten together and took Meany Pants pills before coming to talk to me, so I was already in a bad mood. 

Off to a good start, yes?

Did I also mention it was 93 degrees outside?

My first 3 miles went okay. I use the term “okay” because even though my body felt like total garbage, it was still moving (though barely). The air was thick and I can only liken the experience to trying to run in a swimming pool. My legs felt resistant and heavy. I monitored my Garmin and my heart sank as my average pace increased more and more. I wasn’t surprised by any means, but I was irritated. I wanted to go faster, I just couldn’t. 

And despite wearing a hat, I could still feel the sun and all of its rage beating down on the top of my head.   
As soon as my watch signaled that I had completed mile 3, I hit “Stop” and took a walk break. I was furious with myself for walking. It was only 6 miles. I had just run 11 strong miles on Sunday, why was 6 so dang difficult?

Then I remembered that only a few weeks ago, 6 miles WAS my Saturday long run. In less than a month both number of days and miles I run increased significantly.

My body is just so, so tired. And it hurts. Everything hurts. My new shoes make the backs of my ankles bleed. On Sunday night I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain and was crying and begging Clayton to take me to the hospital because my back felt like it was ripping in half and I ended up sleeping flat on the living room floor because it was the only position that felt comfortable. My knees are sore. I have Charlie Horses constantly. I have no energy. I’m cranky. Ibuprofen and ice packs have become a way of life. I have no free time to do anything. Moving and taking classes and getting certified to teach and training and softball this summer has just been too much. 

Was it just the heat? Was it just my bad day at work? Was I hitting a wall? Was it just me?

I spent the next 10 minutes walking down the trail, sobbing and doubting my ability to run 26.2 miles in November. I was crying because I was mad at myself for never going to bed early enough to ensure that I can wake up and run before work to avoid the heat (which is all part of a vicious cycle of working on the house or yard, running late, eating late, getting to bed late, waking up and repeating it all over again). I was mad that leaves on the trail worked their way into my shoes and were itching my feet. I was mad that all of the speed improvements I’ve made in the last year are slipping away because of these super long runs in the summer. 

Thank goodness my face was already red and sweaty so no one else on the trail could tell that I was being a huge baby. 

Fun fact: Crying immediately after cardio = the inability to breathe and a subsequent panic that you’re dying.
From the very beginning, I told everyone that running a full marathon would be a once in a lifetime thing for me. A lot of people try to prove me wrong by saying, “Oh, the second you cross the finish line, you’ll be making plans for your next one.” Um no, I won’t. I'm a half marathon girl. Call me a wuss, but I’m just not hardcore enough to willingly eat up this much of my free time in exchange for sore hips, blistered toes, and chafing. Running is one of my biggest passions and right now? This is sucking the fun out of it. 

Then I got really down on myself because if I’m not loving this experience, does that mean I’m less of a runner? 

Clayton lovingly suggested I just downgrade to the half marathon and hold off on the full until next year when we aren’t so busy. I understand he’s trying to help and it's probably a reasonable idea, but the only thing worse than the callous on my big toe is my stubbornness. I hate throwing in the towel and when I start something, I finish it. I like challenging my body and I want to do this, yesterday was just a BAD day (and I’m crossing my fingers and toes that is was just that, ONE bad day). 

There’s some major mental warfare at play right now and all of my life’s current circumstances are creating the perfect storm for fear and doubt. And all of these feelings are self-inflicted, so I imagine that my loved ones would have a really hard time generating much sympathy for me and the stress I am willingly putting myself through. And that makes me feel like a jerk. “Feel sorry for me because I chose to do this!”

This is why I’m going to shut up and limit my whining about the marathon to this one post. 

I need to get these bugs out of my system now and get my head screwed back on straight. 

So I ran another 2 miles and then called it quits after 5. It was just too hot and I was not in the right state of mind (or body) to force myself through a sixth mile. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but giving myself permission to do one less mile than scheduled is actually a large feat for me. I thankfully haven’t been met by a brigade of voices in my head telling me that not doing that one mile is somehow going to throw everything off this week. This week has already been thrown off, thank you very much.

And I just need to get dust myself off and try again.

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2 comments

  1. I've been through this before. You're going through a rut brought on by the stress of having so much going on. It's crazy how much it can take out of you physically. It's totally normal!

    If you're having issues with muscle cramps, that could be a hydration issue. This heat/humidity lately is just not even right and you lose not just water but electrolytes like crazy. Are you drinking enough water during the day?

    It also sounds like you might have a potential overtraining situation. It is not a bad thing to take an extra day off now and then if you're feeling like that. You could also try slowing down your long runs and recovery runs. I don't know your paces but it's easy to go too fast when you're feeling good.

    Just my two cents! You probably know all that already, but I hope it helps you figure stuff out. The main thing is, like you said, it IS just one run, and you know they're not all like that. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have zero running advice. But I can give you a big electronic {{HUG}}!
    You have a TON going on right now. Do what is right for you and know you have a huge team supporting you!

    ReplyDelete

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