This month has been really hard in terms of mental training. I have made almost every run, and before Saturday I had run over 98 miles.
However, every long run but one sucked. It actually started August 30th with a 12 mile run. It was 71 degrees when I started. I ate one Clif Bar and went out. I got to Mile 7 and someone informed me I was running on a rather busy road, which is normal, except I had drifted into the middle of it and not realized. So I headed home. D met me with some Gatorade, informed me it was 79 degrees and over 89% RH and we walked together for me to finish 12 miles with a 18:19 pace.
On 9/6, I did a half marathon. I thought with all the training I had done there was no way I could do poorly. I got my personal WORST, by 12 minutes. The course was not hilly. It went from 68 to 81 degrees with 95% RH while I was out. I ate one Clif Bar before driving 90 minutes to the race. I forgot my iPod. The race sucked. I walked the last 9 miles. I finished 13.1 with a 17:13 pace.
On 9/13, I had an "easy" 10 mile run. I got 8 done before the walking started. I don't know the temperature but it was 98% humidity. I finished 10 with a 17:45 pace.
I started thinking I should quit training for the marathon. D assured me it was the humidity and that my feet would stop hurting, and I would pick up speed. For some reason I believed him.
On 9/20, I ran 15 miles. I did it feeling strong. I ran out of Gatorade at Mile 13, but past that, no big issues, except my speed wasn't there. I didn't pay that much attention. I think the RH was ~70%. The temp was 71. My pace was 16:33.
On 9/27, the wheels fell off. It was 68 degrees, RH was 86%. I went out for an 18 mile run. I ate one Clif Bar. I got to Mile 7 and was getting progressively slower. Every negative comment anyone has ever said to me popped in my head. I started to cry while running. I ran out of Gatorade. I continued to cry. I got to the half way point. I left D a profanity-laced message. I tried not to quit. My foot hit an acorn, rolled over it and I tinged my hip trying not to turn my ankle. I went a little more, with my hip letting me know it was there and said, "Fuck this," and sat down on a bench and cried. I texted a friend and she came and got me. D came and got me from her house. I told him I quit running forever. My pace was 16:34 for 9.61 miles. I have no idea where I put anything related to running when we got home. I refused to talk to D. And I cried like I was in mourning. I slept and cried for the rest of Saturday. At the one time I did talk to him, I told him I wasn't going to Richmond, and to have fun.
Sunday, I woke up still feeling unable to get out of bed. I started looking at my blog. I don't train in the heat. Looking at pictures, I should be eating more than 200 calories before going out for a run that is going to burn 2500 calories. Looking at previous schedules, if I ran more than 3 times a week, the 4th run was not the LSR, it was a 4-5 mile run. These are easy changes. I still continued the self-doubt.
I talked to a friend who is a 2-time stroke survivor. I felt kind of selfish, knowing I can run (relative), when at one point he had to learn to walk and use his arm again. "If you like running then run, cut the anchors weighing you down free. Life is just too short," he said. I told him I was afraid to fail and validate the negative people. He said he didn't quite understand how quitting wouldn't be doing the same thing.
I've been thinking about the quitting versus trying/failing. The stress is there. You can read until you're blue in the face about long slow runs and not to pay attention to the pace. But no one writes about being the back of the pack and having run with the SAG truck behind you. If you are a middle of the pack, you will never know what that stress is like. D doesn't understand. My friend V doesn't understand. They have never come to water stations that have NOTHING. When they look up pictures from a race, they actually remember camera people still at the stations. Me, the cameramen, if they are still there, have packed their cameras and started texting, unless you have a person waiting for you that tells them to do their Goddamn job.
Am I stressed? Yes. Am I worried about not finishing? Yes. Am I worried about the SAG truck? Yes. Am I stressed that I'm more worried about the fact I can finish if it weren't for that stupid SAG truck? Yes. Do I worry about the pace of 16:02 now more than ever? Yes.
Am I still running this freaking race? Yes.