Marathon Reflection Monday

I think people (scientists? psychologists?) have proven that your brain blocks out memories of pain.  After the immediate agony is over, you forget just how miserable you were and you prepare yourself for the next round.

I ran 28 miles this weekend.  19 miles on Saturday and 9 miles yesterday.

The 9 mile run was fine.  However, I think there were very few moments after mile 11 of the 19 miler that I didn’t hate.  The ache and fatigue and thirstiness completely overtook my mind and body.

And yet this morning, I’m sitting here drinking my coffee thinking, wow, that wasn’t bad.

But that’s a lie.  My feet throbbed like I was running in  my stilettos and  I’m not completely confident that I won’t lose my left pinkie toenail in the next couple of days.  My legs were so incredibly tired.  And I was a little bit out of it.

For example, at around mile 15, Aaron, who was running slightly ahead, turned around and waved his arms to let me know that he was changing directions, and ran on after he was confident that I saw him.

I didn’t see him.  He was apparently right in front of me.  I continued on a few blocks before I heard a sprinting husband yelling at me from behind. At least Aaron knows know that he can sprint that far into a long run and still finish strong!

{Found on Kelly’s “matras” page!}

Also, I suspect there is some major Amy on Amy crime going on.  I burned out big time at about mile 11.  I run 11 miles all the time.  11 miles is half marathon land.  I shouldn’t be bonking at 11 miles.

I think this is a case of mental sabotage.  As I get into higher mileage, I’m saying things like, “you only have 8 more miles!” at mile 11.  And my brain responds,  you only have??? My usual mind manipulation tactics aren’t working, or my mind is catching onto me.  I KNOW that 8 miles after 11 is a lot.  And I start fading.  And I start running way slower (like waaaaay slower).

But then, at around mile 16, I was able to say, “only 3 more miles,” and a mental shift took place.  3 miles is worthy of an “only.”  I got a second wind.  My paces were back down in the 9 minute mile range when they had been veering close to 11 for a few miles.

I finished with an overall pace of 9:35 (same as the 17 miler), and with a new mileage notch on my belt.

I got home and I drank lots and lots of water.  And I ate this glorious plate of pancakes.

This long run made me realize the battle I will be facing come marathon day.  I’ll have to figure out a way to avoid that huge “hit the wall” chunk of run and for goodness sake stop sabotaging myself.

So, from here I have 5 weeks left of solid training before the taper.  I only have 3 more long runs (if you don’t count the intermittent 12 milers as “long”).  We’re pretty close to our peak mileage.  I’m still going back and forth on whether I should cut off long runs at 20 miles, or venture into the 21/22 range, but regardless, we’re almost there.

There really isn’t anything new to add to the things going well and the things that need improvement right now.  Despite the high mileage weekend, everything feels really good.  Aside from some routine muscle soreness, I have no heel pain and no IT band pain.  I only took maybe a 1 hour nap on Saturday instead of sleeping all day.

I think I slept better last week, and I actually ate relatively well.  I’m starting to focus on losing a few more pounds so I don’t have anything extra to haul around Chicago, and right now, since I can’t really add too much more exercise into my life, eating well is the only way to really accomplish that.

So, here we go into crazy marathon territory.  The next 5 weeks will be…hell, I’m guessing.  But I’m also excited to see what this little body can do.  Bring on the 55 mile weeks!

Also, the Olympics are over. So many things to talk about there, including a crazy Closing Ceremony.  So, I’ll just leave you with a giant SPICE UP YOUR LIFE this week!

Happy Monday!

28 thoughts on “Marathon Reflection Monday

  1. Congratulations on 28 miles! I love that you share the ups and downs of your training–it keeps it real for those of us who have never ventured into full marathon territory. Good luck as you continue your training–only 5 weeks until taper?! Time is flying by so fast (at least for me, as a reader!).

  2. 3 miles is definitely worthy of an ‘oly’. It’s just a 5k. You can run a 5k in no time – it’s like a snack, not a meal. I just want to say I am feeling your pain, and I am way slower. 🙂

    • I have to keep reminding myself of that! 3 miles left is definitely a lot easier to digest than 12 miles left! And….why are we doing this again???

      • I can pretend to be an Olympian for the first few miles, then I want to be the three of six Americans who didn’t finish their marathons. (Just kidding…I would crawl my way to the Olympic finish line before giving up).

  3. My brain TOTALLY does that “What do you mean, ONLY XX more miles?” thing…And same as with you, I only started to feel better when there was “only” about 3 miles left.

    Congrats on a distance PR!

    • Haha! Thanks! I get one more automatic distance PR before race day, so I’m trying to enjoy it! And I’m really truthfully starting to worry about what I’m going to have to say to myself to get over having to say that I only have 20 miles left.

  4. It sounds like you are doing great! Although, I tend to have that mind doubter get in the way as well and I tell myself that I should slow down or something like that. I can’t wait to even get to get to an 8-mile run! Keep it up with your kickin’ 9 and 19!! Woot woot!

    • The fact that you are even wanting to get up to an 8 mile run is pretty awesome! And I am constantly amazed at how much of a factor the mind plays.

  5. Did you say that you have a 55 mile week coming…WTF! That is insane!!!!!!!!!!!! MORE!!!! and then !!!!!…some more of this !!!!!!! I think I peak in the high 30’s in my training, you are going to crush your marathon.

    • Yup. I think there is only one of those, a couple of 50 mile weeks, and 3 back down weeks before the full taper takes effect. I’m actually surprised at how well I’m handling the high mileage physically. I think this weekend was the best I’ve ever recovered. I mean, it hurt like hell while I was running and for a bit afterwards, but I was expecting much worse. Now that I’ve got the mileage, I’m mostly just going to focus on getting as many non-long run miles in at 8 or under and make sure that nothing creeps up injury wise. Thanks as always for the encouragement!

  6. Phew, 50+ weeks. Wowsa! Seems like you are doing great with your long runs. Don’t worry too much about pace for those suckers. It’s about the time on your feet and figuring out your nutrition plan. You are seriously doing great!!! And that is by far my favorite poster, it makes me giggle every time I see it.

  7. You are doing so great! I also have the worst time silencing negative self talk so I’ve just started chanting to myself when I “hear” it: “I got this, I got this, I got this”….leaves no room for my brain to form those negative thoughts. Eat another pancake for me and pat yourself on the back!

  8. So glad to “meet” a fellow Albuquerque runner. Your training looks amazing, you are going to be so ready for Chicago. I hope to some day run Chicago, it’s on my bucket list, but this fall is all about NYC for me! Let me know if you ever want someone to keep you company on those long runs.

  9. And that’s why most people have more than one baby…we forget how painful birth can be, but it’s (usually) over the next day and we forget how tough it was. I remember after running my half, I said I’d never do that again. After a month, I started training for my 2 nd. We do it because in the end, it’s SO worth it!! And such an accomplishment. You’re so close!! You got this!!

    • I actually had a sentence in there about having babies and forgetting pain, but I took it out since I can’t really speak from experience! Thanks as always for the encouragement! I’m *hoping* that I don’t start getting marathon obsessed. If I do, hopefully I can look back at these posts and remember how much grief it caused!

  10. You did a great job with your super long run. At a race I saw a sign that said, ‘Running in 90% mental, the other 10% is mental”. So true. Our thoughts can definitely sabotage us and I think part of training is also teaching the brain to get on board. I often have to tell myself to “shut up!” You’re doing great.

    • Thanks for stopping by! I’m so glad you found it as inspiring as I did! I’ve having to do a constant reminder of the “bigger picture” these days!

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