If you know me, then you know I’ve been training to run the Chicago Marathon since May — because it seems like running is all I ever talk about. I half jokingly tell people that I’m boring to talk to because all I do is run, eat because I’m hungry from running, sleep because I’m tired from running, and ice because I’m sore from running.
And now I’m gonna whine about it, even though I kind of whined about it on Facebook already. Because I’m just trying to process my way through this whole thing.
Yesterday I ran 14 miles — the longest distance I have ever run in my life. And I’m still working on trying to feel excited about it. Because the last part of it was really dreadful, as it seems all my long runs are anymore. Once I get past that 10 mile mark, everything seems to start to go right down the toilet. My pace (which is slow anyway) goes right down the drain. The pain (which I know I’m going to have) starts to really get to me. I feel my emotional and physical strength start to fade. And by the time I hit the stop button on my GPS watch, I’m broken. I look around at the other people running on the trail when they finish their runs and they don’t look like they’re on the verge of tears, they don’t walk like they’re in massive amounts if pain, hobbling back to their car.
I struggle to figure out why I’m like this. Is it because of my knees (I say knees because my right knee is starting to exhibit signs of stress, not just the left knee anymore)? Is it because of my weight (I do weigh more now than I did when I ran the Chicago Half Marathon 2 years ago, and believe it or not, I have not really lost any weight at all while training for this race)? Is it because I don’t cross train/strength train enough? Is it my nutrition? Am I just not mentally strong enough?
Or is this just the way marathon training goes?
Am I supposed to feel broken and demoralized? Am I supposed to be enjoying this? I enjoyed training for the half; it was hard and I struggled at times, but nothing like this. There are times I really just don’t enjoy running anymore; am I supposed to have my love for something diminished?
I admit, there is a little bit of “childbirth syndrome” that happens. By the time next weekend rolls around, I will have likely downplayed how negative I felt after this run this weekend, the memory will have faded a bit, which will be what spurs me to do the next run (although it will scare the hell out of me to attempt it, as do all my long runs).
I just want someone to tell me that it is all okay. That not everyone who trains for a marathon is skipping happily along the path, enjoying every step. That other people struggle. That other people get demoralized. That other people have times of weakness. That other people hobble around like an old, decrepit woman the afternoon after a long run.
I feel really alone right now in this training, and that is a bad place to be when you’ve gotta run 26.2 miles in less than 2 weeks.