Maybe I Should Rethink the Marathon?

I guess it's normal to question the decision to run a marathon probably 3 or 4 times during training. (Or daily?) But until today, I hadn't really questioned it. I knew I wanted to do one someday, now seemed like as good a time as any, and my goal is just to finish, so there is no pressure. I thought I'd made peace with the fact that it's going to be hard--REALLY hard.

But today's run was seriously bad. (Luckily, I'm coming off several good runs, so maybe I was due). Today made me question--WHY AM I DOING THIS???

After a great 10-mile run last week, my 12-miler today was really, really tough. I think I had forgotten how tough runs over 10 miles can be. There were also other extenuating factors.

The top five reasons today's run SUUUUUCKED:

1. It came at the end of a rough week. I've been taking care of two sick kids (strep throat), we had two snow days off from school (mostly because of ice--not enough snow to have fun in), and everything was generally OFF schedule.

2. I was due a drop-down week, but I postponed it to stay in sync with my training group. My body was telling me it was time to lay off a little, but I didn't listen. I'm sure glad next week is drop down!

3. I was under fueled. This is probably the BIGGEST reason today's run went awry. Usually I eat lots of pasta and bread before a long run. Not yesterday. Yesterday I just didn't eat enough. I had a small lunch. Then last night a group of girls wanted to go out to dinner. We planned on going to Old Chicago Pizza for some great carbs, but the wait was too long. We wound up at Kohana sushi restaurant. I'd never really tried sushi.

Well, I'm thinking that wasn't the best choice the night before a long run. It was NEW, which is not always a good idea. Some of it was spicy. I have no idea what was even in some of it. The girls and I sampled several different kinds, but overall I ate little. I had a bowl of rice with it, but I didn't finish it. After dinner, I felt kind of nauseous. I don't know what didn't agree with me, but I was up half the night with a stomach ache. This morning I could barely stomach my coffee and was unable to finish my full bowl of Wheaties. I started the run nauseated and with NO ENERGY---not good.

4. I ran the first half of the run too fast. Despite feeling unwell, my first two miles were at 9:43 and 9:38 pace. That's nowhere near where my long, slow distance pace should be. The first six miles were all faster than I was supposed to go. (I think I wanted to get it over with!) Then I was pulling in 11:00-11:30/minute miles at the end. Nothing like inconsistency and positive splits....

5. I had leg pain. About the 8-mile point, I realized both knees were aching. By mile 11, both knees, my right hip, and my right ankle were hurting. I had this happen once before---in my last half-marathon. (Also known as my last run over 10 miles.) I ran my 10 miles last week and didn't have any aches or pains.

Overall, I will say I am proud I stuck it out and finished my 12. My training buddies stopped at 8, and I wanted to quit. But I "dug deep" and finished those last four miles. They felt more like 40!

MY BIGGEST CONCERN is that my knees and other joints won't hold up on these longer runs coming up---14 miles in two weeks, then 16, 18, and two 20's. I read in my marathon book that most people find that "running ceases to be fun at any distance over 15 miles." For me, it may be more like 10. At least for now. I guess in a month, a 12-mile run will feel like a VACATION.

Ok, so now I'm offically scared.....


Bethany said…
In my opinion running is sometimes harder than child birth! HA! You finished and that is what is important, next time you know what to do to prepare and you just go out there run and when it gets tough, you pray...He will carry you!

You are doing so well and this week will be very good for you...Hope those kiddos are better :)
Lisa said…
The only good thing about a sucky run is how GOOD a good run feels afterward. You will definitely have bad runs. When I went through training last year, I had similar doubts. My knees started hurting every run-- not a lot, but enough to make me worry. I started to take glucosimine and chondroitin. I don't know if it was the supplements or my body getting used to the pounding, but my knees didn't bother me during the long runs.

Good luck. I am sure you will have a great run next week!
Run Mommy said…
Don't give up will always wonder if you could do it. Just tell yourself that you WILL do it and maybe after it is done, you stick with 1/2 marathons but at least it is done.

You can do it, you can do it.
The feelings you are having are very normal and to be expected. You will find that on your next long run you will most likely feel amazing. Two years ago I was training for The SLC marathon and I was running 20 with my sister. I had to travel 3 hrs to run with her and my run was HORRIBLE. At mile 19 when her watch beeped to tell us one mile to go, instead of being happy and thrilled about one left to run, I sat on the corner sidewalk and cryed. My sis just watched me for a min and then said, "Are you finished?" I said yes and off we went. It was the best mile of the entire run. The next week I ran another 20 and it was much better. Every week is different, and it sounds like this was your bad week.
Katie said…
Hang in there! You can definitely do it. But you should definitely remember to listen to your body too. You mentioned your knees, which is a constant nuisance for me too. I take Glucosamine supplements which is suppose to help rebuild cartilage. It won't work overnight, but it really helps me in general.

Keep up the good work!
Lana said…
To quote a movie, "If it was easy, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great."

It's WAY too soon to give up. Don't even consider it.
MCM Mama said…
Joining the choir - don't give up! All of us have bad runs, sometimes at distances that should be easy. (I've had a few three mile runs that SUCKED!)

Just remember to take it easy on the long runs as you build your mileage.

Hang in there!
Cheetah Girl said…
Girl, I feel ya. I just had the worst run EVER today. I'm training for a 1/2 marathon, and today was the first day I ran with my friend that is also running the 1/2 with me. The farthest I've gone was 12 about a week ago, and today we decided to go for 10. I couldn't get past 4 1/2, my shins started to hurt something horrible. I was so upset and almost embarrassed.
Anyways, there are good days and bad days! Shake it off and keep on goin'!
~Cheetah Girl
Amy said…
You should be really proud of yourself for sticking with it and finishing the 12 miles! In some ways, even though they suck, I think the completion of bad runs is what makes us better runners. I mean... just think... you got through this sucky run and finished the full 12... that should give you confidence that you can power through anything!

After a step back week, you'll be back on track and feeling strong.

And yeah, I've signed up for the tom king, too. I'm getting really excited about the Cedars of Lebanon race in a couple of weeks, though!