This week, in running:
Monday: 3 miles + 8 strides (4.04 miles total)
Tuesday: 7 miles, negative split
Thursday: 6 miles, treadmill
Sunday: 9.23 miles
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Sunday mornings have been synonymous with long runs since I began training for any distance. If it was the first day of the week, or the seventh depending on how you look at, and I had just gotten out of bed, it would be a sure bet that I was prepping for my long run.
This week, though, was a little different. I was in Cincinnati with Miles, visiting friends and family; Mark stayed at home and enjoyed some well-earned child-free hours. As I was solo, though, getting in a long run would be tricky if near impossible and I didn't want to stress about getting it in. So I made the ill-fated decision to do it Sunday night.
I set off about 6:30 p.m., more than ready for some quiet even if it meant running 14 miles. I felt prepared, eating a light but carb-filled dinner and having focused on hydrating all day. However, I felt thirsty and hot almost immediately, and my legs were tired from Saturday's failed BODYPUMP taping and 7 hours in the car over the course of the weekend.
Without getting overly detailed, here's how the run went down and downhill quickly. I was tired by mile 2. I was already cutting the run short by mile 3. Mile 4, my intestines were churning. Mile 4.5, I thought I was going to throw up. Mile 4.75, I re-routed and wondered where I could stop off at to call Mark to come pick me up. Mile 5, I started crying. Mile 5.25 , I decided to not run the Columbus Marathon and drop down to the half.
Obviously, there might be some exaggeration in those markers but there it is not possible to over state my frustration with training. I am doing my best to get in the weekday workouts and am finding some success. My long runs, though, have been less than stellar and less than called for. I was supposed to run 12 in Colorado but ran 11. I ran 12 the next week but struggled. My 13-mile run last week was 12.1 and this week's 14-mile run was 9.
There is no doubt in my mind that the heat is playing a large role in my performance but I have seriously began to question whether I have a marathon in me and whether I even care if there is one in me. This training is no joke - it dominates my life and the lives of those around me and for a reason I'm not so sure of. Am I doing it because I want to? Am I doing it because I promised myself I would? Because I think it's the next step? Because I've committed to it so publicly?
I struggled to find that reason as I walked through the door defeated and teary. When Mark asked how it went, I told him that I was not running the marathon. It was decided. My husband, always finding the right words (except when I ask him if my bare abdomen running embarrasses him), told me that he thinks I'm awesome no matter what I do. He instructed to get out of my clothes, get something to drink and take a bath.
I came downstairs not a new one but a more centered one and picked up my laptop. There was a comment from a Daily Mile pal saying that she had similar thoughts during a marathon and not to give up. Funny how one person, one I don't even feel like I know, can change things.
I opened a new tab in Google Chrome and found myself typing in a familiar web address - halhigdon.com. I clicked on the tab for the Novice 2 marathon plan, and looked at the grid. The succession of long runs was almost identical to what I have done recently - 11-12-9. The next weeks are 14 and 15. His plan calls for just four days of week, with the longest midweek run at 8 miles. There is pace work but it's limited to one day a week.
Mr. Higdon got me thinking. Maybe the problem isn't with me and maybe the problem isn't "Train Like a Mother." Maybe it's the two of us together. It's quite possible that I'm struggling because I picked a plan that is just above my ability.
I do like parts of the #TLAM plan, especially the quality workouts, and I hate to abandon it. I stayed up late (for me) last night working to marry Dimity, Sara and Hal to come up with a plan that leaves me in a good spot but still challenges me. It might work. It might not.
What I do know is that I'm not giving up. Not yet.