Monday, March 26, 2012
I did my second 16 mile run this weekend, and it was brutal. My trainer thinks that I have been over-training this last week, and after Saturday's run, I have to agree. My legs were tired. My whole body was exhausted, but I dragged myself out of bed and decided I had to do it.
I am a creature of habit. I like my pre-run routine, which involves a nice, quiet morning and some relaxing until I finally feel like I just have to get out there and run. But, this weekend my daughter had a friend stay over. It was an experiment, and I was more concerned about them staying up late and keeping me awake. They went to bed early, and I got plenty of sleep. Things were going well. Sometimes my kids wake up before I leave, but they are usually quiet, sleepy, and content with some breakfast and cartoons.
Not this morning.
They were all up well before I was ready to leave. They were excited and hungry. I spent my pre-run time making breakfast, settling toy disputes, and trying frantically to get everything ready for my run in between requests. By the time I was ready to go, it was later than usual, and I was feeling a lot more like I HAD to get out than wanted to. I had to come back in a couple times because I forgot things, and then I was finally off.
I knew it wasn't going to be a good run. I wasn't feeling it. Not a good thing when you're facing a 16 mile run. I decided to keep going and see how I felt around 4 miles, which is when I have really been getting into the zone lately.
I was on my way up the first huge hill when I met a manure spreader. For anyone not living near a bunch of farms, they are huge tanks of manure that are pulled by oversized tractors. They have to drive on the road between their fields and tend to leave some unpleasant stuff on the road. They also take up most of both lanes, and most of them will not get over to let a runner pass. I ended up standing in the tall grass on the side of the road, waiting for them to pass. Once would have been bad enough, but in the first 2 miles of my run, I met 5 of them. I was incredibly frustrated, especially when I had to scrape some of the nastiness off my sneaker. If they had kept coming, I probably would have given up and gone home. Luckily, I passed the last big field on my route and didn't see any more of them.
I got through the next big hill without too much difficulty, but I just could not get in my groove. I doubted every step and was already thinking about how much further I had to go around mile 5 - not good. Still, I kept going. The weather was nice, cool and dry without any fog this time, and I tried to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. Still, I just wasn't feeling it.
By the time I met up with my husband for a much needed Gatorade break, I was 12 miles into the run and not feeling great. My legs ached, and I just didn't want to do it any more. I put my legs up, which made them feel a little better, and then I fought the urge to just get in the car and ride home, and I started running again.
Starting up again after resting was pretty bad. My hips and knees were achy, and I just didn't want to do it. Still, I kept going. I wasn't in pain. I wasn't damaging my body. I knew I could finish it. So, I did.
The last couple miles were the worst. I knew I was close to done, and my mind was being terrible. Bad runs are the worst, and nothing will make you doubt yourself more. Unlike my first 16 miles, I felt sad and doubtful that I could ever actually finish a marathon. After all, I was struggling so bad with 16, how could I ever do another 10? My confidence was gone.
Honestly, I still haven't gotten it back. I know I'll do it. I know I'll finish, but I'm still not sure that finishing won't involve crying, throwing up, or crippling pain. For now, I'm going to listen to my trainer and cut down on the extra exercise - easier said than done with all of the Zumba classes I teach, but I'll make it work somehow.
In training for a marathon, I've learned that every run counts. I know that I can comfortably finish 16 miles. I should be able to tackle 18 - we'll see next weekend. My legs are strong and able to take the abuse. My recovery was a lot better this time, and even with the struggling and stopping to avoid poop trucks, I still managed to finish in only 5 minutes over last week's time. Some times I think it is good to doubt yourself - as long as you push through the doubt and keep trying. I know I'll definitely be out there next weekend trying to go just a little further. One bad run is not going to stop me.
That's what kept me going during the run - They can't all be good ones, but they're all worth it.