Thursday, December 27, 2012

When the goin' get tough

I've been home in Plymouth for about a week now. And it has been delightful. While here I've spent a lot of good quality time with friends and family, gotten some great R&R, and enjoyed watching Archie try to make friends with my parents' 15-year old cat, Picasso.

Archie: Be my friend, Picasso! Love me!!!!!
Picasso: I will straight up murder you.

With my marathon a mere month away (again), training is at its peak. Again. I tried to get in a 14-15 miler this past Saturday at home and it went horribly awry.

Sometimes I look back at my blog posts and I'm like, wow, I am wayyyy too chipper. Because frankly? A good percentage of the time my runs do not go well. But somehow those runs become distant memory quickly and are not ones you want to share. It's the happy rainbow unicorn runs that you wan't to SHOUT FROM THE ROOFTOPS FOR ALL TO HEAR!!!! 

So with that in mind, I thought that I might share with you a more accurate representation of how a normal long run sometimes goes for MeriG. Lest you think that I am better than I am. Because we wouldn't want that.

Last Saturday morning I knew I had to get my run in early so that I'd have enough time to fully recover and nap in the afternoon before getting ready for a holiday party in the evening. My alarm was set for 6 am. It went off like a thousand daggers stabbing into my head.

Despite going to bed in a frozen tundra, my parents' house overnight had turned into hell's inferno and had dehydrated me to my core.

Archie meanwhile decided THIS would be the morning that he would become a cuddly kitty who wants to linger in bed and not bite my feet or lick my face or walk all over me until I got up. Nooooo THIS would be when he decided to be cute and sweet!

PURR! I love you new cuddle buddy!!!
So I had to throw my purring cat off of me and get out of bed into the fiery desert that was the Glansberg home.

I tread down the stairs and found my Dad making coffee. "I was thinking I'd make us a big egg breakfast!" he said.

"AHHHHHHHHH I really want eggs but I need to not eat a lot before I run and I need that not a lot to consist of the same thing I always eat which is the English Muffin and the peanut butter and my STUPID GUs THAT I DON'T WANT AT ALL TODAY and I want coffee but I can't drink coffee before I run and this SUCKS!" said I. Or something like that.

Dad slowly backed away. Smart man.

Outside it was a lovely 35 degrees consisting of a frigid mist. Not quite rain...but certainly not dry. Fan. Tastic.

I got bundled up and then realized... I left my headphones in New York. I brought basically my ENTIRE APARTMENT with me in a feat of epic over-packing, but left my headphones.

Mom: "Maybe you can just be with your thoughts?"
Me: "SHUT UP MOM I HATE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

So off to Walmart I went. On Saturday, December 22nd. Because that was what was open before 8 am.

Me in Walmart before Christmas.

I bought the cheapest headphones they had (a decision I would immediately regret during my 2+ hour run) and finally made it to the starting point of my route. And from there things only got worse.

The weather was horrific. The aforementioned headphones were slicing my ears open from the insides and giving me little shocks as I ran (that's not supposed to happen...). My legs felt like lead and each mile seemed an eternity. While normally I run about 9:45 per mile for a long run, that day we were 10:30 or SLOWER. And it felt HARDER. Slower + Harder = Badder.

I was hungry even though I head eaten. GU was making me feel sick to my stomach (and I usually love me some GU!). I had to use the bathroom and -- because tourist season was over -- my usual go-to summer and fall bathrooms were closed.

So, after a bit over 10 miles -- which took me SIGNIFICANTLY longer than normal -- I threw in the towel and headed home. I re-hydrated there and recovered a bit and attempted to get a couple more miles in since I had intended on 14-15, but after a few minutes realized it was futile. A good long run was just not going to happen for me.

The cat, the eggs, the headphones, the weather, the tired legs....all a massive conspiracy against me to keep me from my run. And at first I was proud to have overcome these obstacles. Y'all can't stop me from being the best! I am winning!! Even though I felt like hell LITERALLY FOR MULTIPLE HOURS STRAIGHT! And that's when I is that winning? I COULD HAVE BEEN EATING EGGS!

Hey, girl

As a runner, it's important to admit that not every day is going to be your day. But it's the hardest thing to admit as well.

With these training schedules -- necessary for many people like myself to have structure and plans -- you do run the risk of believing that you have to do these runs. They're meant to be guideposts, but they can end up feeling like the law.

And then that begs the question: When it stops being fun -- even for a day -- what is the point where we throw in the towel and call it a day? If you're miserable, when does "practice make perfect" and "try and you will succeed" stop and "SIT YOUR ASS DOWN" begin?

There is a fine line as a marathon trainee between dedication and being an OCD freak. Fiiiiiine Line. And when you realized you've crossed it? You gots to get quickly back to the other side or you're gonna fall your butt down that slippery slope. Fast.

I have another, supposedly longer, run ahead of me this weekend. The schedule says 16-17 miles, but I keep trying to tell myself that I will just "do what I can."

Easier said than done.

Let's hope for better weather, for less friendly felines, and that my Dad won't tempt me with his breakfast siren song. And if all else fails, the following mantra works as well: Two weeks until taper. Two weeks until taper. Just two weeks until taper...

When do you say "enough is enough" on your runs or workouts? you at all?


  1. This morning I had to say enough is enough. I got up to run at 7:30 but when I stepped on my right leg, my knee cried out NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    So my knee wins.

    It would start to hurt during the most food-filled time of the year...

    1. Oh no! I hope it's feeling better today...

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