Friday, April 27, 2012

Am I done yet?!

The past 2 weeks have been a little bit of a roller coaster ride when it comes to my marathon training. To sum it up:

1. I ran 10km in the freezing rain with Cooper and my friend Duff. We had an excellent conversation, but the elements were definitely stacked against us. I didn't have proper rain gear on and I was soaked through to my underwear when I got home. Untying my shoes and taking off Cooper's leash were nearly impossible because I couldn't feel my hands for 2 hours. I felt hardcore while doing it, but I seriously hate being wet and cold. Chalk one up in the character building column, but I will be hitting the treadmill next time the weather gods decide to piss freezing rain down on me when I have a 10km scheduled.

2. I ran the longest distance of my life - 32km's - and felt strong at the end. My knees were a bit achy, but I kept reminding myself that it's the last 10km's that are the hardest both physically and mentally. I was with Martin and our friend Don and they kept telling me the horror stories of what it's like in the medical tent at the end of a marathon. I think I might just crumble to the ground once I cross the finish line and get on the IV bag immediately…

3. I spent the past week in Napa/Sonoma hosting a group of guests with Alex Bilodeau. It was an awesome experience, but my running regime took a back seat to bike rides, wine tasting (guzzling?) and a Colin James concert. I did manage to squeak in a 6K, a 10K and a 23K, but the rest of the time was spent battling my saboteur who was trying to guilt me about not making running my first priority.

I came to a really awesome realization while I was away though. I am not training for the Olympics anymore. I am training for a marathon. I am not trying to win. I am trying to finish. It's OK to be a little flexible in your training program - especially when a once in a lifetime opportunity is staring at you in the face and begging you to live it. 

So I skipped a few runs…life goes on! Just as long as I don't make it a habit ;)

So now here I am; just over a month to go before I take on the marathon. And I'm scared. I don't feel all that excited about it. Instead, I am dreading the next couple of long runs. It took everything in my power to push through 10km's yesterday. My legs were heavy and I kept getting quick flashes of dizziness. When I was a gymnast, things always started to get easier near the end. With this running thing, I am feeling quite the opposite. 

I am starting to loathe the amount of time that this commitment eats up. I am starting to get bored with one single movement over and over and over. I am starting to be annoyed that my hamstrings are getting tighter by the day, even when I spend a significant amount of time stretching.

Is this the way most people feel as they come closer to their marathon? Please tell me I am normal because I am starting to freak myself out a little bit. I am at the point where I just want May 27th to be here so I can get this over with and start taking on a new, less time consuming and more stimulating challenge.

Deep down, I know that I am training for a marathon for a reason. And a few weeks ago I felt really connected to it. Now I'm feeling a bit annoyed and lost... 

Could it be that "staying committed to the goal even though a part of me is totally over it" is the biggest lesson I'm supposed to learn in this process? 

Is this some evil test bestowed on me by the universe to see how much capacity I have for pushing through??

Oh geez. Fine then. I'll keep going. But let the countdown begin!

30 days until 42.2,



Unknown said...

Agreed, flexibility within your training program is a must; in addition, I also believe that enjoyment is just as important (unless it is cold and rainy).

If you keep up with it and finish the marathon would you still run?

Saphara said...

I promise you, that feeling when you cross that finish line is unmatched. You know that you pushed your body beyond what you (or it) thought possible and you succeeded. Running and gymnastics are very different in that way. As a gymnast I always went into each routine knowing that I'd done it a thousand times before and this was just one more time. Now, I stand at the starting line of every race and feel as nervous as I did when I was six at my first gymnastics competition. Every race is different. Every run is different. Running is always an unknown. In gymnastics there are drills that all put together to lead up to that new skill. Running, you just do it. 35K today, so 42K next week? There's no drills that make you feel like you've done it before, there's no gradual build up, you just do it.
I don't know if that ramble makes sense, but the wall you feel you're hitting is normal. You can quit. You can give up. I am sure you feel like it. But overcoming that desire to quit or that dread is going to make crossing that line feel so much more satisfying.

On a separate note. Make sure you have something fun to look forward to, train for or do to fill up that time that you've spent training. A new hobby, a fun race etc. The funk afterwards sucks.

Kyle Shewfelt said...

Unknown and Saphara - Thank you both for your comments.

Unknown - I have been debating that question you asked about running afterwards. I think I need to switch things up a bit and take on a totally different challenge. With that being said, there have been many times during this process where running has felt blissful and a really enjoyable activity. I know that I will continue to run in my life, but perhaps 10K's and Half Marathons are more my style.

Saphara - Everything you said makes total sense. I think that perhaps I am psyching myself out a bit because I am worried about the last 10km's that are the unknown ;)

I can total imagine the Post Marathon Blues one must experience. Having a goal is like water in my life. Time to start considering the next challenge! A triathlon has been piquing my interest lately…ever done one?

Saphara said...

I am training for my first tri right now. Just a Try-A-Tri (400m, 10K, 2.5K) because, I have to admit, I am terrified of the swim. Toronto Island at the end of August, you should check it out.