For the first time in my marathon training career (including the training I did for my first marathon in 2015), I did not finish a long run. I was supposed to do 20 miles today, and I quit at 12.
I’ve been dreading this run all week. But to be candid, I dread all of my long runs. However, I did the 18-mile run and so there was really no reason in the world why I shouldn’t have been able to do the run today. I’ve done a 20-, 22-, and ultimately a 26.2-mile run before.
This time was different. My hydration was the same, the pre-run breakfast wasn’t anything out of the norm. I got a good night’s sleep. My legs felt fine. The temperature outside was cool and mild. But my mind – my heart – was not in the groove today.
Any of you who have trained for a long distance race know that a big part of being able to train and do long distance racing is MENTAL. Your head has to be completely in the game, constantly pumping you up, repeating mantras that will keep you going, bargaining with yourself to get through the run.
I didn’t do any of that today. And the reason why has been haunting me all day. I don’t know why. I just know that I did not give a shit if I finished that damn run or not.
I started questioning why I’m even putting myself through this. As I was standing in the shower after I got home, sobbing out of frustration and disappointment in myself, I asked myself, “Why are you doing this? This marathon stuff is so stupid.”
I don’t know why I’m putting myself through this. I just know that despite this training stuff totally sucking, I’m 100% psyched to go to Chicago and run the marathon. I truly can’t wait! And I have no doubts that I will finish. I’ve committed to running for a great cause and I’m running with a good friend, David and Kayla will be there to cheer me on and I just want to get it done now!
But the training. God, it sucks so bad. I’m a slow runner and so these long runs take me hours. Hours. That’s hours running alone. It’s boring. My legs get tired and it takes a lot of physical and mental stamina to get through those runs. And up until now, I’ve been able to do it.
It’s okay, though. I’m moving on. Tomorrow I’m going to do 8 miles, just so the 20 is done. Splitting up long runs is not uncommon, but it’s definitely not optimal training. You know what, though? It’s going to have to be good enough this time. I still have a 22-mile run on my training schedule and I’m going to knock it out of the ball park.
Courage. Power. Strength. I have these things and I can do this.