Finding the Point

chessHave you ever been in a game of chess, or any strategy board game really, and found yourself in the last final moves of the game only to calculate that the moves that you have left will not win you the game?  You’ve already lost, and there’s no point in finishing the game, unless you’re not a poor sport.

That sums up how I feel about my training for this marathon right now.  With how it’s been going, I can already predict the outcome, and in horrible honesty, I want to quit.  I see no point in going through with it, knowing what I’m capable of at this point.

I’ve never just up and quit in the middle of a long run, an important distance long run too.  I had 18 on the plan and I gave up at mile 5.5, except that I was 6 miles from home, so I had to run 6 home, and then another half for good misery measure.  Nothing hurt, it was a little hot, I just had no will to propel myself forward.

All of this is unfair to my marathon buddy Diana (HI DIANA, HI!!).  I talked her into the Wisconsin Marathon, I joked that she’d have to carry me to the finish, and, well, that might just happen.  With it being her first marathon I refuse to ruin it for her, she’s capable of a great 26.2 miles.

Naturally, I revisited what motivated me to get to the starting line of my past marathons.  In 2010 my will to keep going was that I was training for my first marathon.  Of course I wanted to keep going, no matter how hard it felt.  In 2011 I was coming back from runner’s knee which kept me on the sofa for 4 months.  Wanting to prove a doctor wrong  about whether or not I should run Chicago Marathon kept me moving.  This year….?

The point was to finish a marathon happy.

If I’m not training happy, how can I possibly finish happy?

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12 thoughts on “Finding the Point

  1. I’m going to repeat what I said on our last run. Sometimes you need a break. If you have to eat a few race entries for your overall mental health, whatever. You are in a rut, both mentally, and now physically. Running isn’t fun anymore. Stick to what is. Keep swimming, change the long runs to long bike rides. Maybe if you feel like it bust out a 3-4 mile run for the hell of it. But only if its fun!

    Go watch some races, cheer on friends. Get inspired. Do small runs. Sign up for Crazylegs.

    Do what you would do with any flagging friendship/ friendship. Step hack, take a break, then find the things you used to love and flirt with them.

    I’ll still love you no matter what. 🙂

  2. Keep your head up! Don’t let this bring you down. Start off your next run with nothing but positive thoughts. If you feel like you need a break from running, take it. You are more important than any run or race. I agree with Diana. Do what YOU need to do to power through.

  3. Do what you love, love what you do.
    When it starts to become work it’s a sign…overtraining/overextending is entering the picture and you need a break….maybe physically, maybe mentally, but something needs changed…..and perhaps its just a week or 2…..
    Take some time to just “BE”. Re-evaluate WHAT you REALLY REALLY want and WHY you want it then figure out a good plan to go and grab it.
    But there will always be good days and bad along the way….and a new experiences will come…both good and unfortunately bad too…
    If I told you how many times I climbed out of a pool, bagged a run early, or cut a ride short b/c it just wasn’t in me that day…you’re comment section would stretch all the way to MS. And like you, normally I know from the start that it’s a bad day…. so NOW, I readjust before I ever head out the door. Part of this process, is learning the cues from our body(mentally as well as physically) and when it says its just not feeling it…..it usually isn’t messing around. Changing things on the fly isn’t going to ruin your performance, the world will not stop spinning and you will recover and continue to build miles despite minor setbacks. Flexibility in the training plan is a must, and its taken me DECADES to embrace this and to see that changing a 13 mile run to a 8 or 9 and postponing it another week or two isn’t going to make a shitload of difference on the end result…What WILL make a difference is trying to eek out the “plan” when I just don’t have it in me….its hard enough physically so when the mind/heart/soul are tired, it’s just not going to work out very well and the hole keeps getting deeper and deeper. Doesn’t mean You have to like whats going on, but trying to muscle through it just will not work. Listen to your body….just like you would if your knee was hurting and you had to work around that.
    Take it for what it is….a lesson learned. Next time, you can tweak your workout before you head out the door…cut it in half or thirds and know you still got a session in, but also gave yourself the break it was craving. Hang in there lady, stop being so hard on yourself!!! 🙂

  4. That sucks. I’ve wondered what I would do in the same situation. Just run/walk for fun? Give my bib away? Switch to the half? Tell the whole world to suck it? Good luck figuring it out.

  5. My first reaction: “Shut up and ride” (that’s in a song ….) Really, if you aren’t enjoying these distances, don’t do them. Life is too short. You have a sweet new bike. You swim. You had a great (shorter) run today. You don’t have to run marathons to be cool. 😉

  6. Going in to a race, and your heart isn’t in it…that’s tough. And sugar, a marathon is a long way to be miserable. Downgrading to the half, if that’s what you WANT to do, or scratching it all together, there is NO shame in that game. I took a 50K off my schedule last fall simply because I just did.not.want.to.do.it. And I didn’t and I didn’t regret that decision.
    But only you can know what is best to make this Happy Pace happy again!
    Whatever decision you make, it will be the right one for YOU!

  7. I second what TPG said. After my marathon fiasco last May I dropped to shorter races for the rest of the spring/summer and it was the best decision I could have made. I hated running last May…now I love it.
    Buck up.

  8. I love the chess analogy and this is tough. Maybe think about doing a half marathon instead and save the full for the fall? If you feel burnt out on it or negative toward it, no use making yourself continue. That said, I don’t think a training cycle needs to be perfect to yield a solid marathon. Training cycles build on past cycles and you have had some strong runs over the last year.

  9. I wouldn’t drop the marathon right now. That’s too drastic for the amount of training you’ve put into it and you’re going to feel disappointed that you didn’t run it. Happiness can come from challenging yourself to do something you really don’t want to do and then completing it and realizing your stronger than you thought.

  10. As you know, a marathon is a long, hard race. If you don’t even want to start, you’re guaranteed to have a miserable day and an unhappy outcome. Don’t guilt yourself into running it – this is supposed to be fun and there’s no reason to go through it if you’re not enjoying it. In the end, your only obligation is to yourself.

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