Monday, July 23, 2012

Marathon Monday: Interrupt this schedule

I am training for the Columbus Marathon and following the "Train Like A Mother" finish it plan. These posts document my training. 

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

◊ ◊ ◊

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 - 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.

Who knows.

What I do know is that I'm not giving up. Not yet.


  1. Don't give up! I struggled training for my 1st marathon but then had to remember that my goal wasn't a was to just cross the finish line. I also changed my training plan..sometimes training plans are like having a bad date, it's just not the one for you.

  2. Kimberly, you are amazing, no matter WHAT you decide to do. KNOW that you would be an abnormal freak of nature if you didn't have these thoughts during training at some point, especially in this unrelenting heat. Hell, I have them all the time and I'm training for marathon start number 6.

    One thing I want to remind you - a training plan is a guide. If you are feeling overwhelmed, back off of it for a bit. Skip a run or 2. YOU WILL BE FINE. You are a fit mama, and you are doing an incredible job.

    Thinking of you, my gets better, I promise...

  3. Whatever you decide to do IS what's right for you. Don't worry about pleasing the public. If its not what you want, you don't have to do it.

    Marathon training is a gauntlet for sure. It will beat you up left and right and take half of your family down with you. However, should you choose to continue through you definitely won't regret it in the end.

    If you do decide to go on, I'm offering my virtual ear via email. We can be marathon training email buddies, and I'll help you I whatever way possible!

  4. Oh my gosh, I completely understand this. I second guess myself all the time. I wonder why I'm doing it. I convince myself that I've already failed. I beat myself up about missed runs and missed miles.

    You are NOT lost because of a few slightly-smaller long runs. Not at all! You've got plenty of time and really, a couple miles difference isn't that big of a deal. You're training and you're out there and you're getting in miles.

    I do think it's smart to find a plan that works for you - or to make one. I use Hal but try to meet his weekly long runs. The during-the-week stuff, I make up on my own. For some a set schedule is great. For me it just convinces me I suck if I miss it.

    All that to say, you're awesome and I've been there and I know you're going to do great! I'd love to offer any encouragement or "this is what has worked for me" if you need it!

    1. I was thinking about this some more and you also started your run at a way different time, which definitely can mess up how you feel, especially if you're used to running in the morning. So keep that in mind, too.

    2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I definitely think you have a point with the timing.

  5. Stick with training, but adjust it to suit your current needs. My first marathon, I made a strict training plan with paces, distances, and every other minutia you could think of. It was impossible to stick to it simply because of how rigid I'd made it. My second go around, I laid out a basic plan as "guidelines" and had a more enjoyable training experience because I adjusted it as needed. Think about where you are, and how you can tweak your plan to suit your needs. I'm sure you'll get through training and have a wonderful race.

  6. But you know what Kim, you ran NINE miles yesterday. And that is nothing to feel bad about. That is a long way. Great job! I really enjoy your marathon training updates. I ran a 12 miler yesterday and was dog tired at the end. Which really made me wonder if a full marathon is ridiculous or not. Guess we'll see when I start my training next year. Hang in there. I truly believe you have a full marathon in you. Remember the work is in the training. It's all part of the journey. If it were easy there'd be a 26.2 sticker on the back of everyone's car.

  7. "went downhilll quickly" - but not the good kind of downhill! :)/:(

    I had the same thoughts too, but in reference to a 5K! ha.

    I have very little running advice, but in the words of many Adam Sandler movies "You can do it...all night long!".

  8. I have totally been there. You are so right when you say that marathon training dominates your life and the lives around you. It's a challenge when you don't have a family; when you do, things are even tougher. You are doing a fabulous job so far with your training - not every run is going to be easy, especially the long runs. And I think the fact that you ran at night may have had something to do with it. I don't know about you, but by 6:30om. I'm EXHAUSTED! I can't imagine running much more than 3-4 miles at that time of night. Perhaps your body wasnt used to it. Who knows, but whatever. Throw that run out and move on. You'll have a good run soon enough. That will put your mind at ease.

  9. You can totally do it! I think the plan you use has a huge influence on how confident you feel. Good for you for finding a new plan! I had to do it too and it's working really well!

    P.S. I also think it is perfectly acceptable to cry, yell, and scream during long runs. :-)

  10. Kudos on re-assessing your training plan and not giving up, specially when it would be soooo much easier!

  11. Kim, you have NO idea how I needed to read this post!! I am training for the Air Force half in September. This will be my third attempt! This has been a very hard summer for training that is for sure!! And to make matters worse my schedule does not call for any wiggle room. All that being said....I'm not giving up!! It scares me and there are plenty of days I doubt myself bad! But....I'm not giving up!! The first time I was training for this same run I got a very bad bladder infection. The second time, which was last year, I was right in the middle of my training and my left leg started having bad much so that I had to go to the dr to get it checked. Long story short I had 3 blood clots in my calf then that led to them immediately finding that I had thyroid cancer. I was, obviously, scared about my health but also depressed that I had put that much time in and now it was for nothing. This was all just last year. I am now running again and weight training and doing my scheduled runs.....and all in this heat. I've never ran anything more than a 5k and I want this bad. I'm NOT giving up. Stay focused and try to keep to your schedule and just do what you can do. This heat is nothing to play with. I know you can do this!!

  12. Just caught up on the week's posts. Not sure but I don't think running should feel like it did for you in this post. Girl ere is a hug for you. You have to do the full -it's your destiny!