Every marathon training cycle – heck, every cycle when I’m training for a significant goal – I have at least one freak-out. This one took a few months to arrive, but it hit me over the head with a rock and dragged me by the hair into a dark cave. I’m still not sure what triggered it. Perhaps other people’s anxiety about big fall races was getting to me. Or perhaps because we’re on the cusp of Boston registration season, even though BQing is only a vague and extremely long-term goal right now. I rarely think about it, but the annual debate over qualifying standards just reminds me exactly. how. far. off. that is for me. (1 hour, 19 minutes, and 17 seconds, plus two or three or five minutes of buffer, plus however much the BAA decides to tighten standards in future. Squeak, squeak: is that a runner squeaking in, or the screws turning? At which point I just throw up my hands and think ‘eh, I should just give up now’, which is an utterly foolish and irrational thing to think, for many reasons.)
See, I have an inner ‘turtle girl’. Deep down I’ll always be the girl who took more than six hours to finish her first marathon. Turtle girl says, dafuq are you doing here? Turtle girl says, echoing all those beardy crusty old guys in the deeply speedist and sexist history of the sport, You have no business running marathons.
It’s true, I don’t have a great history with marathons. I cramp, every single time. I happily run the first 20 miles with no ill effects, thinking I’m on track to finish strong and smooth, and then BAM! the quad cramps take over and I hobble home. I have no time goals for Baystate, I just. Want. To. Bloody. Not. Cramp. Is that too much to ask? I suppose I could walk the whole way and avoid cramps, but where’s the fun in that? I’m afraid I’ll just cramp up as usual and be disappointed again this year. I’m afraid I’ll feel like I’ve wasted all this time and effort in training. More than the ‘wasted’ training or the finish time, the disappointment lies in the sense that I’m not really running to my full potential the way I am with half marathons. And trying to push the limits of my potential is part of how and why running makes me happy.
But we’re 7 weeks out. There’s no turning back now, is there? I still enjoy training. I still enjoy the act of running. And the only thing more disappointing than training hard and failing is giving up now. I’m still going to do this marathon. The only way out is through…
Monday – 12.1 miles. AM: 4.8 easy. PM: Track – warmup, cooldown, 3mi and 2mi at…somewhere between tempo and marathon pace.
Tuesday – 5.1 miles easy
Wednesday – 6.5 miles including errands
Thursday – 4.4 miles. The original plan was to drop off stuff at the gym (0.5 miles), run a loop around campus (3 miles), and pool-run for 30 minutes, but the pool run was thwarted due to freshman swim tests.
Friday – rest
Saturday – 18.2 miles long run, as 16.6 on a hilly route followed by a quick 1.6 stroller-jaunt with husband and kid on part of their run.
Sunday – 3.3 miles, treadmill. After Saturday’s run I saw that 3.3 would put me at 50 for the week…how could I not?!
Total for the week: 50 miles!!!