Marathon Reflection…Uh Whatever Day This Is: 45 Days Until Boston

This week has been weird.  Typically, I sit at a desk for 8 hours a day and take an hour long lunch break where I can blog stalk, but this week I’ve been out of the office (in a warehouse moving and staging office furniture) with a 20 minute “standing up” lunch break and no computer access. But hey, I’ve gotten to wear running shoes and workout clothes to work all week! I don’t feel so bad for not getting Marathon Reflection Monday out somewhere in the vicinity of Monday, but I do feel bad for not having the chance to get caught up on everyone’s training.  Hopefully everyone is doing well! 

I’m not going to say that I’m injured, because I don’t necessarily think that I am.  I don’t think anything is broken, torn, or sprained.  But I think I’m slowly falling apart.  I feel like the runner equivalent of The Wicked Witch of The West, slowly melting into a giant puddle of green mush.

I did something on Saturday that I’ve never done during a training cycle before (dun dun dun). For the first time ever, I didn’t complete a long run that I started.

Truthfully, it was one of those runs that seemed to not really want to happen in the first place (check it out…foreshadowing!).  We had 19 miles on the schedule.  I woke up and had no energy. Aaron handed me the sunscreen and the thought of reaching my arm out to grab it seemed exhausting.  It wasn’t tired in the “I just woke up” sense.  It was a tiredness that affected every bone in my body.  But, I kept getting ready and we managed to get ourselves out the door.  But of course my Garmin beeped “low battery” as we headed out.

The run started off ok.  It wasn’t as fast as last week’s long run, nor did it feel as effortless.  But we soldiered on.  We made it through the 7.5 miles of uphill,  turned the corner, and had started on the faster, flatter part of the run.

And then it happened.

Right as we hit the 9.75 mile point, a painful spasm engulfed my leg and stopped me in my tracks. Stemming from under my knee, it felt more “nerve” related than muscle related, and it made me cry out in pain.  I tried stretching for a bit, tried running again, even tried to convince myself that it didn’t hurt THAT badly (it totally did), but as my Garmin beeped “10” (and then died…much like my run), I knew there was no way I could run another step. This, on my good leg…the leg that hasn’t been giving me any problems this whole training cycle.

Unfortunately, we were just over the halfway point of our run, and almost at the farthest point out.  From where we were, our house was about 5 miles away.  So, Aaron and I walked home, hand in hand, looking like the most over-prepared walkers with our fuel belts.  It was a moment that made me completely grateful for my husband.  I would have been crying had he not been there to help me laugh the situation off.

At a few points along the way, I tried running again, but I would only make it a few strides before the spasms started.

Saturday’s workout ended up being 15 miles in something like 3 hours and 15 minutes (at least I got lots and lots of time on my feet!).

After getting home and analyzing the situation, I’m positive that nothing is broken/torn/strained. But after stretching/rolling/yoga, it is very evident that my leg muscles are tighter than they have ever been.  I’m positive that the tight muscles in my right leg caused me to over compensate with my left leg, tightening those muscles to the point that other things were  getting pulled, causing the spasms.

Sunday, I decided to do my miles on the treadmill so if something weird happened, I wouldn’t have a long walk ahead of me.

I only ran 5 miles…in other words, I didn’t get anywhere near my target mileage this weekend.  I still don’t know if it was the right decision to keep Sunday’s run so short (or if it was the right decision to take Monday and yesterday as rest days).

But every muscle in my legs is tight right now and running won’t loosen them up.  And the incredible number of injuries that I’ve seen over the last month are making me perhaps more paranoid than normal.  A painfully tight muscle today is just waiting to turn into plantar fasciitis, a stress fracture, or a myriad of other issues.  I’m taking all of the proper measures (icing, rolling, massage, rest, etc. etc. etc.), but I haven’t run without pain since last Saturday, and it is getting old.

It is kind of funny though.  Before that happened, I had a great week of training.  It seems that when I have a really bad week of training, my long run feels great.  When I have a great week of training, my long run hurts.  Just another reminder that I have a long way to go before I figure out how in the heck to train for marathons.

Workout Recap

Monday: 4.5 mile recovery run

Tuesday: 4 mile tempo run with 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool-down (6.1 miles total, 8:14 pace).  Tempo pace ranged from 7:20-8:00

Wednesday: 1 hour spin, 1 mile walk

Thursday: 4 miles at half marathon pace (overall average pace 7:53)

Friday: Organized group workout: 2 hours of weights/abs/treadmill (I walked)/body pump/body jam/spin…I took this workout as easy as I could without looking like a bad sport.  The trainer in charge of the treadmill section even asked if I was ok since I was walking so slow.  Perhaps I didn’t take it easy enough?

Saturday: Long run (ish): 10 miles running, 5 miles walking, 3:15 hours on my feet and a bruised ego

Sunday: 5 not-so- fast miles

TOTAL MILES: 36.6 (should have been 44)

Marathon Goals:

Despite the terrible long run, this was a great workout week.  I’m hoping that I can finally hit a 2 week streak this week!


*ALSO I’m trying not to make this a pity party.  I do feel a weird sense of guilt for not completing an important long run, but I have to remember that it isn’t the end of the world.  I think I’m just in a grumpy mood in general this week (being on your feet all day is actually really tiring), so that isn’t helping. And I’m thankful that even though everything DOES hurt, at least I’m not actually injured (KNOCKS OBNOXIOUSLY LOUD ON WOOD).

Have you ever had to cut a long run short? 

28 thoughts on “Marathon Reflection…Uh Whatever Day This Is: 45 Days Until Boston

  1. That is such a big mental challenge, good for you for staying positive! I’m like you, I can count on one hand the number of long runs I’ve started and not finished (usually the challenge is getting my butt out the door!). But it’s happened, mostly for a the same reason as you! Sometimes you gotta be like, 19 miles isn’t good for my body today… you’ll do more harm then good by forcing yourself to finish. Good for you 🙂 You’re gonna rock Boston!

    • Thanks! And I agree…the challenge is ALWAYS getting out the door, hardly ever staying out there. I have to give some major credit to people who walk marathons, because walking 5 miles was LONG.

  2. Ugh, I HATE hitting the wall on a long run! So un-motivating and scary. It’s happened to me twice — the second time, Anthony was there to rescue me thank goodness! Similarly we were 6-8 miles from home — he sprinted back, got the car, and came to pick me up! What a life saver! Hang in there, you’re going to be fine!

    • Yay, Anthony! It was quite unmotivating, but I haven’t had any major problems with that leg since, so hopefully it is taken care of!

  3. It’s happened on several occasions that I’ll be out for a long run and something will start to bug me. Nine times out of ten, it goes away. But that one time, it gets worse and I stubbornly continue, as if to say “Go to hell, leg, I’m in control, not you.” But of course, that seldom works and yeah, you end up sidelined for a bit.

    After several stabs at marathon training, I’ve come to learn that rest is a great thing, even if it’s a pretty important week. As long as you don’t completely derail your discipline by eating poorly, drinking too much and sleeping 3 hours a night, you can pick it back up with few issues. You’ll thank yourself for doing that instead of doing what I do and just pummel through it to the point where you’re just barely avoiding serious injury.

    No one ever said marathoners are reasonable people.

    Good luck with the bounce back!

    • Thanks! I absolutely understand the “go to hell leg” bit…I probably tried to run 4-5 times during that 5 mile walk even though I obviously shouldn’t have. If I had been by myself (without a voice of reason telling me it was ok to walk), I’m sure I would have pushed onward despite the pain.

  4. Sorry to hear about your long run struggle. I haven’t had to cut a long run short yet but have definitely had a few where I was just struggling the whole time, probably should have stopped, but was just too stubborn. You did the right thing stopping. You don’t want to mess around with sharp pains like that and end up regretting it if it leads to a real injury that keeps you from your race. Maybe being on your feet for work an unusual amount alongside all the great workouts just wore your body down to the point it needed a break. Don’t be hard on yourself, you’ll bounce back!

  5. Really sorry to hear that you’re finding it tough…I completely understand what you’re going through…I’ve found the last few weeks so frustrating but now that I’ve had time to rest things are getting much better! Stay strong and listen to your body…you’ll be absolutely fine 🙂

  6. First thing I noticed while reading your post is that you aren’t freaking out about it and that’s something! Something big! Confidence in your running self! Yes we will still waiver on if we made the right choices or not, but overall you are still hanging in there and not questioning your overall ability to accomplish your goal! You are awesome!

    • Thanks! I’m really trying hard not to freak out, which is definitely saying something since it is my tendency. I think it has been exponentially easier to stay at least somewhat confident the second time around because I do know at the very least that I CAN run a strong marathon.

  7. She is human! Kidding, but seriously…you are still completing training, you just ran into an unforeseen bump. I don’t think you should feel guilty in the slightest, it’s not like you just said screw it, I am not running today, you got out there and had a spasm. At the same time, feeling guilty is how you stay motivated if you are like me. Hope all is well with the body this week and you are killing it!

    • I know! It is really stupid to feel guilty about not finishing out a run (especially when I am confident that I couldn’t since walking 5 miles was kind of torturous). I look last week pretty easy, so hopefully that translates to a really strong week this week.

  8. I feel like this kind of thing (DNF long run, coming down with the flu, getting mobbed by work/family/friend-stress) will *always* happen during marathon training. Marathon training is a bee-yatch that way. I think you did the right thing by cutting your long run, doing a short treadmill run on Sunday, and taking 2 rest days. And the fact that you did not continue to have crazy spasms on Sunday is a very, very good thing! Keep on rolling and taking care of your muscles. Go get a massage if you can afford it. Hope this week goes better!

    • This is so true. I think marathon training plans need a giant disclaimer that to actually complete every workout is damn near impossible. I’m hoping that last week’s recovery will help make this week a strong training week. Fingers crossed!

  9. I can literally feel your pain as I had to cut my last long run short (over a month ago) and even with that I think I did some damage. What started out as tight calves led to injured calves. My two cents is take it easy for now. You will be back in no time. Also, I have been working with a great sports chiropractor who has gotten me back to running faster than I anticipated. Email me if want his info, he might be able to diagnose what you have going on.

    • I think your experience is absolutely one of the reasons why I am really erring on the side of caution. I’m so glad to see that you are up and running again! I’ll send you an email. We have a chiropractor, but I wouldn’t consider him a “sports” chiropractor.

  10. My heart is with you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I more than understand your frustration. Take some days off, your body sounds like it desperately needs it. As someone who is sitting here injured and not able to run, believe me when I say take days off! 🙂 Boston is such an exciting experience and you want to get there happy and healthy. My best marathon experience was the one I never even trained for. I arrived at the start line with one run of 15 miles on my legs and hoped for the best. It was the easiest race I have ever done and my body thanked me for not “over” training. 🙂 You are strong and you are a great runner. Take it easy!

    And I have a question… have you ever thought about shortening your runs on Sunday or even substituting your run with a yoga session? Y’all definitely get in a lot of mileage on the weekends so maybe Sunday could be an easier day?? Just a thought!

    Sending many, many, many get well vibes your way!

    • Thanks, Tracie! And thanks for the suggestion about lower Sunday mileage. We did the long run/mid-distance run thing last marathon training cycle (it seems to be a Hal Higdon staple), and it really worked well. I think for me, the danger seems to come when I have residual issues from Saturday’s long run and I push on Sunday. We’ve also been doing our yoga on Sundays which has really helped!

  11. I once intentionally tried to challenge myself before a 19-miler. Had reffed two games in the morning. Skipped lunch. Downed some load quickly. And headed out the door. Total fail. Got lost, dizzy, ran out of energy, got frustrated in the snow, and cut it way short. I never want to experience that again.

    Next week, you’ll be back on track!

    • That does not sound like a fun time. Though, I have in my head what “got frustrated in the snow” looks like, and it is a little bit funny. Glad that you survived that ordeal!

  12. Yes…yes indeed. I think the key is just knowing what you can safely run through & what is just a disaster waiting to happy. I have also had that situation of dealing with a longer-term injury in one leg & then having something suddenly happen in the other after enough overcompensating. It really sucks.

    And the Garmin troubles….lord. If I’m already not feeling so hot, that’s often the last straw for me in terms of morale. 😛

    Hope your leg feels better & this week was better!

Please leave some commentation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s