When doubt starts to creep in...

Today I had a a lot of doubt and fear going into my 18 miler. My longest run to date. My faith in myself and my training was lacking, but I was determined to get through it. With only 5 long runs left leading up to Disney, I knew I had to get it done. Despite the fears, despite the pain, despite the lack of desire. I had to get it done, all 18. The first 11 went well, I stayed at a decent pace, walked when I needed to in order to keep my knee happy and plugged along. I stopped at CVS around mile 10 for more water, then back at home mile 11 before heading out for the final 7. The whole time I'm thinking "When I finish this run, I would still have another 8 miles. 8 miles??!!! What have I gotten myself into??!!" I had horrible headwinds going into my final 7, and my knee started acting up more. I walked more. Around mile 14, I started crying but kept going after pulling myself together. I was forced to walk the last 1.5 miles of a total 18.5 miles because the knee pain was too great. Now my fears are even bigger.

How am I going to do this?

Will I finish the Marathon?

What have I gotten myself into?

And after finishing the run, I spent a long time stretching and crying as I worked out the kinks and waited for Kevin to deliver my Panera to me. My 110% Play Harder calf sleeves have been on since I finished with rotating ice packs. I cannot climb stairs. I cannot sit on the toilet. I am miserable, which is creating more and more fear of whats to come in 4 weeks.

Do you think 4 weeks will lead me to feeling more prepared?

Should I adapt a more run/walk method for my knee?

Should I (probably most obvious) throw any sort of time goal out the window?

Week 11 training recap
Monday- 45 min bike trainer ride while watching DVRd shows
Tuesday- Treadmill speedwork. 1K, 2K, 1K, 1K. A couple pauses during the long sprint, but otherwise feeling good.
Wednesday- TRX class. I was able to progress to a side plank pike today. Still no knee pain with SLS exercises.
Thursday- 6 miles planned, but my early morning vertigo made that impossible. Instead I spent the day vomiting and sleeping after having the Eply maneuver done to me.
Friday- Still dizzy and missed TRX class, and another day at work. Instead I spent the day sleeping and making cake pops.
Saturday- Jolly Jaunt 5K, just over 30 min! So mad I cannot seem to break that milestone! My knee felt fabulous the entire time.

Sunday- The absolutely brutal 18.5 mile long run recapped above.

Nutrition- Actually has been pretty good all week! Minus the taste testing for the cake pops, I did really well limiting sweets and snack food. At my work holiday party I didn't go overboard and only had 4 cocktails all night! I am now enjoying a fabulous dish of peppermint stick ice cream from the shop down the street in attempt to soothe my legs haha 

Despite my discouraging run, I'm going to work hard at staying positive, getting my runs in, and eating well all week.

Now the important stuff.... 
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Jana from Running Vegetarian said...

I think every runner training for a marathon has that one run that is a mental road block for them. Mine was 17 miles. Yours was 18.

How are you going to do this?
Simple, you continue to train. You might not think you will be ready... but you will be.

Will you finish?
Yes you will.

What have you gotten yourself into?
Us runners are crazy.

Will you feel more prepared with more training?
Yes i think so.

Should you adapt a more run/walk?
I wouldn't. I'd keep doing what you are doing and walk when needed. The last thing you want to do is change how you're training this close to the marathon.

For my first marathon I did want to finish in less than 5 hours but in the end all i cared about was finishing. I finished in 5 hours and 13 minutes. It was one of my proudest moments.

Aimee said...

You can do this! I know how frustrating it is for you with the pain you are experiencing. I realize the marathon is just around the corner but would it be possible to take a week or even a few days off to nurse your knee? I broke my toe and a rib (2 separate accidents) in September. I had to stop running completely for a few weeks after the rib. I was worried, but everything worked out and I don't believe my training was hurt at all.

I think you definitely have time to feel prepared. As far as adopting a run/walk style now, I would say only if it is more comfortable for you. When it comes to the time goal I think the most important thing is to simply finish the marathon. If you want to have personal goals beyond that it's fine as long as you don't beat yourself up for not reaching them. I think that's what marathon #2 is all about!

I hope your knee improves and I hope you are feeling better.

Karien said...

I know exactly how you feel! My longest training run before my first marathon left me feeling completely humbled. It sure did teach me respect for the distance! Went on to finish that marathon and loved the whole experience!

Good luck for the rest of your training and I hope that knee will be feeling better soon.

Wells L said...

First off, what a CUTE running outfit!

Second, Hugs! I can't believe you pushed through an 18 mile run with knee pain, head winds, lonliness, and the thought that a full mary is 8 more miles! That's beyond impressive that you completed it!!

Third, as you know, I'm a HUGE fan of a run/walk method. It helps mentally as well as physically. When it gets hard you say "I just have to run X amount of time and then I'll get a break." It's also, as you know, way less destructive to your body to do intervals. And also as you know, Jeff Galloway leads marathoners in the Disney Marathon doing intervals.

Lastly, as far as a time goal - I've never done a full, never spent more than a few minutes even thinking about a full, but I have spent a LOT of time researching and doing halfs. Every book says that first time half marathoners should have only one goal - finish! Probably great advice for a first time full marathoner as well . . .take the extra pressure off yourself - get your picture taken with Mickey, walk if you need to and not feel guilty about it, enjoy the whole experience. . . and when it's over - sit on the toilet :) ha! I vote not time goal - just finish and do your best!

. . . for what it was worth.

SOOOO impressed that YOU.RAN.18.5. MILES!!!!!!!! OMG THAT'S INCREDIBLE!

Jenn said...

Hang in there!! I will tell you this - I had the EXACT SAME run before my marathon (Except it was only 17) and i cried while I walked the last mile and I thought about canceling my hotel reservations for the marathon - but I finished! It's ok to be scared and it's ok to be anxious!! But you owe it to yourself to be positive. Think about the week you've had and what you accomplished just getting yourself out the door. You're going to make it to the finish line, just gotta do it one step at a time - even the ugly steps!

Lisa said...

best wishes with your knee. yours didn't act up until well into the run. it's probably going to be okay. fingers crossed.

Elle said...

I have never run a marathon so have no valuable experience to share with you.

But I wanted to say I am cheering you on, hoping your knee pain subsides and that you feel better tomorrow!

Kayla said...

I had the exact same thoughts after my first 18 miler, except I never finished the 18 miler. :( I really started to doubt my training at that point. I had all those same doubts, but YOU CAN DO IT! :) It is totally normal for the doubts to come. Marathon training is a long process as we all know. Hope the knee feels better! I guess the only advice I have on that is listen to your body. As everyone told me, for your first marathon your only goal should be finishing and not in a certain time. I would just say go out there and enjoy it. Of course, if you are anything like me you will say all you want to do is finish but secretly have high expectations for yourself, but try to just enjoy the experience and not worry about time (I know its easier said than done).I was disappointed after my 1st because I had those expectations/goals, when really I should have been thrilled with finishing on a tough day.Good luck with the rest of training! You can do it!!! :)

misszippy said...

Tough long runs happen. I've had one every single marathon training cycle. What you need to do is draw confidence in the fact that you stuck it out and you will be able to do the same on race day. And don't forget--you will be tapered and legs will feel better on race day too!

Penny said...

omg reading your post brought back alot of memeories. We all doubt ourselves sometime during one of our long training runs. Steph I know you have this marathon. You had a bad run your next run is going to be alot better. HANG IN THERE GIRL. I KNOW YOU HAVE THIS. My last marathon my goal was to cross the finish line. I had one mile left and I saw my old running partner waiting for me on the side of the street. I looked at her and shed several tears, becasue I was so happy to see her, plus I was almost to the finish line. I didnt think I could do it either, but I did and i'M so happy that I finished what I started. I'm sending you positive vibes girl for you next long run.

Suz and Allan said...

I have never trained for or ran a marathon but I know that feeling when the tears start and you break a little inside but you FINISHED the run and that is something to be SOOO proud of! You can do this and you are going to rock that marathon!

Sara Elizabeth said...

I had read this post yesterday but it wasn't until today that the memory of one of my first LONG runs came back to me. It was probably somewhere around 19 or 20 and the last mile was just so mentally draining on me that I literally started yelling like a crazy person (until my training partner threw water on my face I chilled out for a minute). But in the end I stopped and walked for the last almost mile. I just didn't have it in me. Luckily I kept at it and my next longer run went a lot better.

What I'm trying to say is give yourself some credit, you attempted something you've never done before!! Sometimes things don't work out perfectly the first time and you just need to keep at it! The important part is you don't let it get you down. Sometimes through the course of a training cycle you will have some bad runs, but you will have plenty of good ones too. It's all about not letting the bad ones hold you back or doubt what you are capable of.

I would say it never hurts to try run walk and see how you do with your knee. I would definitely recommend trying it and see if it helps. Training can be a lot of trial and error and figuring out what works for YOU.

Don't worry about a time goal and just have fun with it. Running a marathon for the first time should be all about the experience. There is nothing in the world like it, and no way to know what it really feels like until you get through it.

Good Luck!!!

Elizabeth said...

i somehow previously missed this post….yes-you will finish. if it were easy-everyone would be doing it, right? :) i would say throw the time goal out-enjoy yourself and your first marathon. it does hurt. i’m not gonna lie. i actually felt good during my 3rd one-but after had pain like hell-- (just being honest) but 2 days later I was running again and ready for another.

we runners are some crazy folks. i’m not sure what you listen to when you run but have a “go to” pump me up song. and have a mantra. something you can repeat to yourself.

everyone has a bad run on a marathon training-promise. mine was a 20 miler. i was terrified of the marathon. continue with the trianing and you will be fine.

not sure about the knee thing…perhaps a run/walk might be good for that and for your sanity of getting through the race to keep you occupied…

sorry for the novel :):) hope it helps!