So right off the bat I’ll tell you that I put “run” in quotes, because calling miles 16-20 a “run” (or anything like it) would be using that term pretty loosely.
I’m the first person to admit that my training for the New York City Marathon hasn’t exactly been what I was hoping for.
Coming off of a strong full marathon at the end of the Dopey Challenge in January, I had really been looking forward to a strong round of training for my next marathon and a shot at a PR. My hope of that faded slightly when I realized how off track moving and starting a new job got me, but after a great 18 mile run a few weekends ago, I began thinking that while I may not be in reach of the original time goal I had in mind, I may still have a chance of walking away from NYCM with a small PR.
I spent last week preparing for my last long run – the 20 miler.
Have you ever had a run that from the first step you just knew wasn’t going to be the run you wanted it to be?
I know a HUGE part of this was probably in my head, me psyching myself out, but this run started off tough and went downhill from there.
At mile 2, my legs felt heavy and the thought of 18 more miles was borderline unbearable. I tried to be optimistic and focus on how lucky I was to be doing this run on such a gorgeous path and take in the fall colors.
…and still, by mile 8, I was dragging.
I was exhausted. My legs felt heavy. My neck and shoulders hurt and I felt a headache coming on.
I stopped to take pictures occasionally because it would briefly take my mind off of how miserable I was…
At mile 13 things continued to go downhill. I felt like I was moving my legs through quicksand.
I thought back through my fueling to try to pinpoint what had gone so wrong. Usually if I have a bad run I can at least determine why, but I was coming up blank. I had toast and yogurt before my run, was carrying and using Powerade and Sports Beans and still I felt terrible.
I got a text from Jason saying he was at the parking lot ready to meet me. I just had to drag myself the 1 mile to where he was and then I was hopeful I’d be re-energized by having someone to run with!
No such luck.
I met Jason at the car and just about started crying. He asked how it was going and I’m pretty sure I said, “Terrible. My everything hurts.”
And it did!
My right foot hurt, my left knee hurt, my quads were on fire, my lower back hurt, my shoulders hurt, my neck hurt and I could feel a major headache coming. I felt like a complete mess and instead of being re-energized like I had hoped, I completely fell apart.
Jason was encouraging as we set off for the last 5 miles, but the actual running lasted only about a mile.
Totally defeated I stopped and walked.
We walked and I talked about how frustrated I was. How this was not the long run I wanted to end with going into the New York City Marathon. How I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this race and I wish I could defer it. How I had no idea what went so wrong that I was struggling right from the start.
After about a half a mile I wanted to try to run again, so we did for a few minutes and then we walked again.
We continued this running and walking until about mile 19 when we were back near the car.
I wanted to at least make it to 20 miles, so I grabbed a sweatshirt and a bottle of water and we finished up with a leisurely (not very “training for a marathon” like) walk.
At least the view was nice, right??
I do know that I’ve just been overtired in general recently (I feel like no matter how much I sleep I’m exhausted!) and I was totally caked in salt by the end of this run…
…even though I’m not sure that I did anything really differently than I’ve done in the past, it seems like I may not have been getting in enough electrolytes.
I took an ice bath once I got home…
…you know, with Olaf since I needed a little “Frozen for Runners” cheering up…and I spent the afternoon stretching and foam rolling…and yet my legs are still sore 2 days later which is very unusual for me, I usually recover very quickly.
I’m still incredibly frustrated by how badly this run went, and I’m not exactly sure what my next step is.
There’s a part of me that wishes I wasn’t running with a charity team so that I could defer my entry and just not run New York this year.
There’s a part of me that wants to try the 20 miler again this weekend and hope I get better results.
And there’s a part of me that knows how important it is to taper and rest your body in the weeks leading up to a marathon.
What I do know, is that in less than 3 weeks I’ll be run/walk/crawling 26.2 miles in honor of all the amazing pets at North Shore Animal League and I hope more than anything I can I can do this singlet justice and not have a repeat performance of last weekend!
How do you bounce back from a terrible training run?
What do you think – try 20 miles again or focus on tapering?