Should I?

As I called it quits at mile 17 in my planned 20+ mile route yesterday, I had a blog post written in my head. The story started as I walked out the door to attempt my last long run for this season of marathon training and it ended in defeat as I got a ride home. I was sad. I was disappointed in myself and my run. I wanted it to be better.

*******

As I laced up my running shoes, I had so much anxiety about my run. Was my body ready for this run after I couldn’t even find the energy to get off the couch two days prior? Three days prior I was throwing up and making multiple trips to the bathroom each hour. I hadn’t eaten a real meal with the exception of dinner on Sunday night in three days. Should I be doing this?

One mile in everything felt sluggish. I know my body, and I know it normally takes at least 3 miles to feel good. I kept going. At mile five, I took a break. My body felt completely detached from my brain. My legs felt good. My mind was engaged. I just couldn’t find anything to push myself forward. I called my husband. Should I be doing this? Should I turn around? He responded with the only answer I was willing to hear. Do whatever it is you need to do so you don’t regret it tomorrow. I kept going. I’d reassess at mile 10.

At mile 10 I was desperate for a nap. Having an out of body running experience is a strange thing to go through when you are committed to running 20+ miles. I had selected a big loop through the city. Now that I was 10 miles out, I was 10 miles away from my house too. My muscles weren’t fatigued. Mentally I felt great. I was just out of gas.

I kept going. At mile 16, I realized I that this was probably a stupid idea. I had already run 20 miles. Less than three weeks from race day, I probably should be focused on my overall health instead of building mileage in my legs. At mile 17, my stomach decided it had enough of me running. I threw up what little there was to throw up. I was still at least 3 miles from home, but I was right down the street from my mother-in-law. She came to my rescue and drove me home.

Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay, Mile 8

I was mad. I was angry. Should I have kept going? Should I have finished the run? I know I could have made myself keep going. My legs weren’t even tired yet. Did I mentally give in? It was so easy to question my decision in my warm house with food in my stomach after a warm shower (I even skipped my ice bath).  Maybe this marathon is bigger than me?

*******

And then my dear friend Amanda came to my rescue:

DON’T! Don’t you dare go to that place of doubt! You were sick! Let your body heal…Rest. Rest. Rest!!! Taper time = baby yourself! Easy runs, plenty of rest, good eats and NO DOUBTING! Your foundation in running is strong! Remember that!

Those words sent to me from Michigan via Instagram stopped me in my tracks. I was heading straight down the path to doubt. I turned around and ran back in the other direction. I reminded myself of the awesome 13 I ran the weekend before. I reminded myself of the 20 I ran the weekend before that. My training was already set before this run.

This 17 mile run, it did have it’s very own story to tell me. It wasn’t the story of doubt I was creating in my head. It was a story of doing something when I probably shouldn’t. I ran 17 miles less than 48 hours after having a horrible virus attack our household. I was dehydrated. I was undernourished. It wasn’t smart, but I need every single one of those 17 miles. I just didn’t need 20.

*******

In 18 days I will run 26.2 miles. If I listen to all the reason why I shouldn’t, I’d never leave my house. I needed those 17 miles to remind me of that. Another wonderful friend reminded me mid-run that I needed those miles to make my marathon feel good. I really think I needed those 17 miles to make my entire training season feel good.

my route
my route

17 miles in 2:58 ish, 10:30 pace (this is rough estimate because I forgot to reset my garmin for just shy of a mile after my 5 mile break)

Today, after a good nights rest and a very good dinner, I know I’m ready for my marathon. My legs are prepared for high mileage. They aren’t even tired today. My brain is ready for whatever challenges it creates on race day. I’ve ditched the doubt. It is officially time to taper…

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7 thoughts on “Should I?

  1. I agree with your friend from Michigan…you need to rest. You need to allow your body to regain the strength it has lost during your illness. Give yourself time. Your strength is still there – believe it!!!

  2. I was so weak for days with this nasty bug, I could not fathom running 17 miles! Even still, you averaged 10:30…that’s pretty impressive! Your physical and mental strength that you have shown (even when you are down and out!) is what shows me that no matter what race day brings you will overcome!
    My best friend Esther got very ill before her marathon and missed her last training run of 20 miles. She only did 18 up until that point. She went into taper with self-doubt. Needless to say it was not needed – she beat her ‘dream big’ goal of 4:30 and ran a 4:24. You see, her foundation in running was strong and she rocked her taper. Keep your head – I am SO proud of you already! Yay for ditching the doubt and embracing what I know and you know – YOU ARE READY!

    1. I seriously wanted to crawl through my phone and hug you when you sent me that message! Your timing was perfect, and your words were everything I needed to hear.

      And can I just say, I CAN NOT believe I’m in taper mode. EEEEeee! My marathon is right around the corner. I’m feeling so sappy about it today.

  3. Love your reply to your friend milesgoneby …you trained like a runner…you are a runner, my daughter is a runner and I’m very proud of your hard work! Yay your in taper mode…YOU did it!

  4. you’re very lucky your ATC wasn’t in Va. Beach, or you wouldn’t have made it 17, because I’d have thrown you in my car, taken you home, and strapped you into your bed so you couldn’t go out for more runs with a system that depleted. you are VERY lucky nothing serious happened. everything you describe feeling in your run is symptoms of dehydration followed up with heat exhaustion. it didn’t have to be hot, your body was breaking down. please don’t do that again after being so sick. i call ambulances for this. please let your body systems be as strong and nourished as your muscles so you can kick butt (like i know you will!) in 17 days!

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