Marathon Training Week 7 Recap

I am not a distance runner. That’s the conclusion I’ve come to less than halfway through my marathon training. I just don’t feel I have it in me mentally to run more than 8 to 10 miles on the regular. There is just no part of me that has what it takes to be an endurance athlete.

This is definitely my plan for life post-training.

This is definitely my plan for life post-training.

So, as you can tell from the above, I didn’t have the best week in terms of training. In fact, it was by far the hardest yet. The worst part about it all is that it has little to do with my physical abilities and mostly to do with my psychological abilities. I’m just not in a good frame of mind right now and it’s kind of bumming me out.

This all sort of started with last week’s long run when I could barely make it seven miles. Then it carried over into this week.

Monday: Rest day. I always rock these.

Tuesday: 3 miles. The negativity was still there and the humidity was back. This =no fun.

Wednesday: 6 miles. Getting up at about 4:40 a.m. is a real treat to start with. I felt solid through about 4.5 miles. Then I wanted to be done and I got angry about it. REALLY angry. After crossing the 14th Street Bridge, I was fuming.  I cursed the whole running thing a few times. We didn’t bring water with us, which was probably partly why I was so grumpy. But I pushed through and finished the whole run. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted a Gatorade so bad as I did when I walked in the door of my apartment. By 6 a.m., I had run to Virginia and back. That kind of felt like enough accomplishment for the day and my mopey self just wanted to stay home in bed for the rest of the day. Unfortunately I had this little thing called work I had to get to.

Thursday: 3 miles. At least that’s what I was supposed to do. I decided to sleep through it though and move my run back because I still had such negative feelings from the day before.

Friday: Did the 3 miles. I did them a little slower than normal to cut myself a bit of a break and it helped. I didn’t feel like such an angry jerk this time.

Saturday: 12 miles. I was so happy Joe was going to be with me for the whole run. We decided to break this into four 3-mile blocks. I had read that taking a minute walking break after every so many miles can be a good mental and physical reward. So we decided to talk one minute after every 3 miles. This would break the run up into manageable chunks and give us time to drink/fuel. This strategy worked great for the first half of the run. I felt happy and strong until about mile 8, right after crossing the 14th Street Bridge (I swear that bridge is cursed). Joe tried encouraging me to get to 9 and then it would be time for our break. But I just wasn’t having it. The humidity was getting to me and mentally I was checking out. I ran a bit more and then started to get the chills, not a good sign in the summer. I managed to get to the Lincoln Memorial where Joe took a quick pee break and then I said we had to walk. So we walked all the way to the Mall. Joe’s ankle had tightened up by this point so his running was over for the day. I ran solo around most of the Mall but we still had a mile to go when I met back up with Joe. We ended up just walking it out.

My guess is that we walked about 2.5 miles of this run. I’m not happy about that. I feel embarrassed that I’m such a quitter and that I have such a negative attitude sometimes. So many people helped me get into this race I so badly want to do and now I feel guilty that I’m not staying positive about it. At times I feel like a failure. I’m not happy with the amount of walking I’ve done. I’m frustrated when my pace is slower than I want it to be. But…

I need to learn to let some of this go. I can’t keep wallowing in this negativity. Not every run is going to feel amazing. Walking some is not the end of the world. I can’t expect my pace in the summer heat and humidity to be the same as it was in the winter and spring. I ran 79 miles in July. That’s going to take it’s toll on my body and affect pace too. I need to focus on the fact that through seven weeks, I have only missed one run, a short 3-miler. After running/walking 12 miles, I walked 4 more on Saturday, so I was on my feet for at least 16 miles that day and that is awesome. I need to free myself from the self-imposed pressure of time and pace. I need to stop worrying about how others might view me as a runner. I need to grow with this experience and learn how to strengthen my character and resolve. So mentally I’m hitting the reset button and hoping that week eight feels like a fresh start.