HEAVY LEGS, HEAVY HEART
These past three runs have been an emotional roller coaster.
It has been immensely difficult to go from that super fast, super fun treadmill run on Monday, to now struggling to maintain a 9:45 pace. I cannot even tell you how many times mid run these past few days that I told myself I'm done. I can't run 13.1 miles without passing out, giving up, or injury myself. I'm done training and this whole rediscover yourself/get stronger mentally and physically mission is over. Well, today was no different.
My ego took a pretty big hit on Wednesday when I completed my first long run of the week (7.16 miles) at 10:06 pace. I was devastated and really feeling like I had reached the end of the road with half marathon training. Like, maybe it just wasn't meant to be. I didn't really take into consideration how much or how hard I had worked during the past 20 weeks of training. All I could think about was how much running was sucking lately (and of course how much those 13.1 miles were surely going to suck). Then, I was able to rebound with a decently paced 5.6 miler yesterday.
Still, it has been a battle to enjoy running in the humidity and fight the urge to quit when things get tough.
The humidity is really the only factor I can think of that could be effecting my training this much. Yeah, my legs are tired/sore, but when you run 40ish miles a week for a while that happens. But, both today and in previous runs this week, I have noticed that once I get between the 2.5 - 3 mile mark, I fall apart. I still put one foot in front of the other, but it's so much harder than it should be at this point in the journey. Sure, bad/slower paced runs happen, but not day after day after day.
While I'll be the first to admit that I don't have the highest pain tolerance, I can still run through the mental/physical pain most days. This week though, I've found myself on several runs struggling to breath, and then later around the 4 mile mark dealing with side stitches like you wouldn't believe. Maybe it's just pre race anxiety/jitters, but it's clearly messing with me during and after my runs. Heck, I took a corner just a little too sharp when I was turning to hop from the road to the sidewalk today and nearly fell. I literally had to stop at the 4.2 mile mark for a few minute to make sure I hadn't messed up my already fucked up hip. It was the w o r s t.
I didn't want to get back to running after that.
I was upset/scared/worried about everything you can possibly think of. I had a million thoughts racing through my head, and I didn't know what to do. There really wasn't a way to cut the run short at this point, and walking my ass back to the gym was out of the question. So, I just took back off and reminded myself that all I HAD to do today, on this run, was give it my best effort. I wasn't out here to break records or run until I collapsed onto the ground. I was out here to have fun, get stronger, and push outside my comfort zone (obviously in as safe a manner as possible because we DON'T need any more injuries).
Looking back at the data from today, I don't have all that much to be upset about. My paces were fairly consistent across the board, except for a slow mile 5. Still, I can't help but worry about the quality of my runs between now and September 2. That's not a lot of runs, especially with rest days and tapering figured in. Not nearly enough time to adjust to the humidity and work on pacing or building speed. Endurancewise, I'm not all that worried about going the distance, I'm more worried about falling apart mentally at the 6 or 7 mile mark.
It's not hard for me to imagine the tears, snot, and self-doubt hitting a boiling point at the halfway mark. Or when I reach the 10+ mile mark and realized that every step I take from there forward is farther than I have ever ran in the 22+ years I have been on this earth. I'm an emotional person, and training+running a half marathon is an emotionally trying thing. It's such a big, scary, intimidating thing that most people never even dream of or would ever consider undertaking. I often wonder if I really knew what I was getting myself into when I signed up back in March.
At the time, I just needed to feel like I was a "good enough" runner to go that distance. I needed something to run towards, something to focus all of my attention on.
Now, here I am 23 days from race day feeling like less of a "runner" than I have in awhile. There are officially 2 more 8-9 mile runs left in training, and I am not at all looking forward to THE TAPER. I don't care how heavy my legs get, or how hard it is to breath because of the humidity...the minute you tell me I can't run more than 5 miles, that's all I want to do.