Marathon Training: T minus 13 weeks and this lazy wench just ran 15 miles

I ran 15 miles today.  In a row.   On purpose.

I am a full blown lazy wench.  I had many valid excuses for not doing this run.  First, it is 35 degrees outside and the windchill keeps trying to peel my face off.  Second, I'm lazy.  Third, I'm off work all week and could have been curled up in bed reading all day instead.  Or paying attention to my children.  Whatever.  Fourth, I did a mud run outside in 30 degree temperatures a mere 3 days ago and still haven't defrosted.  Fifth, I had a pain in my left calf yesterday evening and became convinced I somehow managed to pull a hammy baking coffee cake for my husband. 

I rose above all those awesome excuses and ran 15 miles today.  In a row.  On purpose.

It didn't hurt that I've had a series of scheduling snafus that have been foiling my marathon training schedule.  First, I suffered a crippling injury to the top of my foot.  9 days of watching Breaking Bad and it was magically healed.   Perhaps crippling isn't the right word for an injury that healed in 9 days.  Whatever.  Me and my magically healed foot successfully knocked out my 12 mile run like it was nothing.  If "nothing" is trudging along slowly but without foot pain.  But it was awesome because it was pain free and done.  So everything else was a blur. 
I probably didn't look that happy the entire run.  But the weather was beautiful and I was pain free.  Life was good.

Week 11 was the cold weather camping weekend.  There was no way on God's green Earth I was coming back from sleeping on the ground for 2 days and going to knock out 13 miles.  Not happening.  My husband agreed that was some hard core madness to even contemplate and sent me off to bed to lay under the covers and shop online.  Wise man. 

Then became deathly ill with a mystery illness.  The mystery illness was mostly a cold resulting from cold weather camping but that sounds a lot less exotic.   I managed to recover in time to run 4.5 miles.  I'd hoped to crank out an effortless 13 despite being sick in bed 2 days before.  It was hot and humid and there was nothing effortless about it. 
Trying to figure out how 100 degree weather didn't stop me but 75 degree humidity in November did.
I walked another 5 while wiping sweat off my face and beating myself up about how far off track my training had gotten.  It didn't feel like I'd made any progress in weeks.  I'd started my marathon training super early to allow for things that come up along the way.  But 2 weeks in a row was a little unsettling.

It left this past weekend looming over me with 14 hanging in the air.   Technically, I guess it should have been 13.  But my BFF Jeff Galloway assures me it's safe to increase my distance per week by 10 percent and 10 percent of 20 miles per week means going up by 2 miles is okay.  So I was mentally committed.  Except then I discovered the mud run with my husband would be the day before.  No problem!  I'll just wait an extra 2 days to defrost. 

And that brought me to today.  I started out fine.  It was cold but I had successfully dressed myself appropriately. The first 3.5 miles were gold.   I was at a ridiculously golden 9:50 pace (fast for me). 
Ear warmers on and ready for 35 degree weather. Not pictured, the world's fugliest brown gloves. 
While basking in the gold, I realized that running my long run on Tuesday meant that my next long run of 15 miles was only 5 days away.  That's pretty hard core for delicate flower like me.  So then I cooked up a scheme to run 15 today and then just do an easy 9 or 10 on Sunday instead.  Like a little break.  If by break, you mean running 9 or 10 miles which only sounds like a break if it was supposed to be 15. It seemed like a perfect plan.   I mentally committed.  It was practically written in blood. 

A mile later my stomach decided to launch a protest.  I had just taken my usual bathroom break a mile before at mile 3.  A 2nd bathroom stop a mile later was not a good omen.

I started doing laps around the 1 mile gravel track that goes around the public restroom.  I hate laps.  There are few things I hate more than laps.  My brain starts counting how many more I'll need to do before I'm done.  When you know you are trying to get to 14, that's enough laps to make you start contemplating death. 

But I sensed that straying from the bathroom would be a problem.  I sensed that things were afoot and not yet completely resolved.  2 more bathroom stops proved me right.  I finally thought things were in order enough to leave the safety of the gravel track around mile 6.  I was feeling confident and optimistic.  Then my stomach started sending up small signal flares to warn me I was wrong about things being in order.  Back to the gravel track at mile 9. 
This is the face of a woman with 6 more miles to go on the gerbil wheel of death.  It is also the face of a woman capable of sweating even when it's 35 degrees outside.  I am a sweat producing machine.
I seriously wanted to quit and go home.  The only thing stopping me was that I knew I had to buckle down again and start doing the long runs and that's all there was to it.  It's a marathon for goodness sake.  You have to train.  You can't keep making excuses.  It is going to be hard.  Do it anyway. 

Of course, there will be days like this.  Just get through it.

Of course, you wish your stomach wasn't upset. Just get through it.

Of course, you will feel like death along the way.  Just get through it.

Of course, the public restroom toilet paper feels like sandpaper by your 5th visit.  Just get through it.

Of course, you don't want to run more laps.  Just get through it. 

Because I'm not going home until my Garmin hits 15.  Period.

So I did slow trudging laps and felt like a gerbil on a wheel that had no beginning or end and just mindless mind numbing slow motion.  2 more bathroom visits.  Lots of cursing under my breath.  And then it was finally done. 

Holy crap 15 miles is long.  No really.  Holy crap.

I felt like I was out there forever.  Like I was out there so long I lived an entire lifetime.  I remember feeling that way running both of my half marathons.  And this was longer.  The longest run of my whole entire life in fact. 

I lost all sense of time and day and life in general.  I felt like I needed to hurry up and get home or I'd miss my daughter's high school graduation at the rate I was going.  Then I remembered she's 10.  I don't want to be melodramatic or anything but I'm pretty sure I was out there for 3 days not 3 hours.  I don't remember where I slept or how I sustained myself on one pack of energy fruit chews for 3 days.  But holy crap I know for a fact it was long.

I even started to feel bored.  Like frantic caged animal I can't go another moment bored.  I'm thinking this must be when the real training begins as you attempt to focus your brain on something else over and over and over and over again.  Did I mention it felt long?

And then my Garmin hit 15.  And then I went home.  Finally.
For every 12 mile breeze, there is a 15 mile loop that feels never ending.   Here's hoping marathon day is the breeze not the gerbil wheel of death.   

My Handy Marathon Training Summary:
Week 1 – 5 miles. So pleasant! Can’t believe I’m done already! Whee!
Week 2 – 6 miles. Yeah. That’s a training run. Hope the weather cools off soon.
Week 3 – 7 miles. Death March. Kill me now.
Week 4 – 8 miles. Did it! Yeah, for cooler weather! Finally! Felt pretty decent.
Week 5 – 9 miles. Is my Garmin broken? How did I magically get to mile 8 already? This is crazy awesome!
Week 6 – The Mysterious Bubonic Plague hit and my gluteus was left sore thanks to a giant
shot of antibiotics.
Week 7 – 10 miles. Is my Garmin broken again? This is crazy awesome times 2! Except for the last mile that involved time stopping and the mile lasting 6 years.
Week 8 – 11 miles. Shoot me now and put me out of my misery. Death March Part Deux. Things just got real.
Week 9 – Zero miles. Iced my foot so much I had a frostbite scare and got through 13 episodes of Breaking Bad. 
Week 10 - 12 miles.  I'm back!  No foot pain!  Who cares about anything else!
Week 11 - Zero miles.  Cold weather camping
Week 12 - 4.5 miles plus another 5 walking.  Recovering from mysterious illness contracted while cold weather camping.  Randomly warm, humid weather sapped my will to live.
Week 13 - 15 miles!  Long.  Freezing. Long.  Stomach issues for 10 miles.  Did I mention long?


Anonymous said...


Chelsea Olivia said...

I love how you write. SO realistically. "Not pictured: the fugliest brown gloves" is my fave hahahaha. Good for you for getting your miles done! I've ran a total of 0 in the last ever.

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