I like saying that I am training for a marathon. It makes me sound like a big shot, and lets me justify the occasional food binge. But during the past couple of weeks I have gone from
If you’re just tuning in, my marathon training plan consists of short runs throughout the week and one long run on the weekend, with that long run increasing in distance every weekend or other weekend.
So last week, during week 7, my Saturday run was 10 miles.
I was really nervous about it as I began, seeing as I had only run 8 miles the weekend before, and it left me pretty sore. But as I ran, I felt great. I cruised on up the coast to mile 5 and turned around, just as the sun was setting.
Then as I got to mile 8, everything started hurting. My hamstrings, my neck, my stomach, you name it. I let myself walk a few yards to slow it down, then pushed on to mile 9. But as I hit mile 9, that fatigue and stomach pain started to really get to me, and so I slowed down to a walk again, except this time I felt nauseated, and next thing I knew, blech. I threw up right there on the trail, on a small bridge. By that time it was dark and no one was around to see it. I tried to brush it off and continue walking, when I realized that it wasn’t just dark, it was dark. I reached a stretch of the beach without streetlights on the strand. The path had sunk down below PCH, so the lights from the traffic in my direction weren’t doing much to illuminate the path, and the lights from cars heading towards me would blind me every few seconds. Walking there alone didn’t seem all that safe, but when I tried to fix my eyes on objects in the dark while bouncing along (is that a trash can or a homeless person about to stab me??) I became more nauseated, so I had to walk the last 3/4 of a mile.
I felt defeated. I couldn’t run 10 miles without puking, and I was completely useless the rest of that evening from exhaustion. The rest of the week, I kept procrastinating running, even putting it off for a few days.
If I couldn’t even run 10 miles, how was I going to be able to run 26 in June?!
I didn’t run on Saturday of week 8, and having a hangover was my excuse. That is a completely legit excuse to not run 10 miles, BTW.
At least I tell myself that.
So Sunday I tried at it again. My training plan only had me running 8 miles this weekend, but I needed redemption, and so I set out to run 10.
I was pretty nervous about it, but I made it through. In fact, half way through I felt so good that I decided that I should run 11 miles, but I changed my mind when I hit mile 10 and realized how hungry I was.
So the thing is, marathon training is hard, yo. I know that sounds like I am stating the obvious, but I mean that it can also be hard on your psyche. Each weekend is a struggle to get out there and to go the distance. And sometimes I fail at it. And then when I compare my time to what other runners are blogging about, I feel like I am the slowest runner there is.
And that’s part of why I chronicle this process here. I know that other people are training or thinking about training for a long distance race, and I want to encourage it. I want to encourage it by showing how hard it can be, and showing that if you feel discouraged, you’re not alone. I’m not one of those sexy chicks that glistens as she bounds across the finish line. I’m that girl drenched in sweat and trying not to throw up on herself. But if I can do it, you can do it. There’s no shame in being slow or having weeks where you totally suck and feel discouraged.
I’d love to hear from fellow runners– what’s gotten you past those sucky weeks?