A Craptastic Run

I know you guys don’t come here for the pictures, but I lost my camera somewhere between work on Friday and Saturday morning and I’m so upset!  Sad smile The one place it MAY be is on my desk at work which I’ll check today, but otherwise it’s totally gone and I have no idea where. Sad story, and especially so because all I have is one blurry, crappy Blackberry photo to share with you today. Argh!

Saturday morning started out like any other for a long run – – a 5am wake up call and a bagel thin with peanut butter.


I didn’t end up eating the banana, but I also had an unpictured cup of coffee with So Delicious Coconut Creamer (YUM!). After getting myself together and out the door, I met up with the Capital Hill Running Club for my weekly long run at 6am. I had 16 on my schedule, but the group was doing 17.75 and I decided I would just run and see how it went, turning around early if I felt like it or going the whole distance if I felt great. The latter was not even a semi-option.

Now let me say, I’ve been really slacking on my long runs for the last couple weeks. Two weeks ago, I did 6 miles instead of 10 because I just couldn’t get the motivation to do the full 10, which would have been fine in the scheme of things. But then, last weekend, I didn’t run even once because I was moving and just didn’t wake up to my alarm to do it that Saturday.

Before this past Saturday, 14 miles had been my longest run to date, and seeing as the marathon is just 6 weeks away (!!!!!!) I really need to start amping up the mileage to make sure I’m adequately prepared come race day.

Anyway, I started off the run feeling just fine. The first 8 miles or so left me feeling pretty good, and I had a GU around mile 5.5, so my energy was steady. I decided to not push it for the full distance and turned around at the 8 mile mark, and that’s when things started going downhill.

I’m certain it was more mental than anything, but I had to fight for every step past the 10 mile mark. I stopped at the water stop along the way and it took every ounce of motivation to make myself leave the water station and keep running back to the start. I’m not sure exactly what it was, but it was torture.

I took SEVERAL walking breaks over the next two miles, which I know work well for some people, but for me, they just don’t. As soon as I stop to walk, I just want to keep walking rather than keep running, so I walk/ran for about 2 miles until I just realized I couldn’t go anymore. I ended up stopping at the last water stop and got a ride back to the start once all the other runners had passed.

The total distance ended up being 12.8 miles, and the total time 2 hours 16 minutes, which is about a 10:46 pace overall. That’s actually not bad at all for me since I ran/walked almost 3 miles at the end, and a lot of the miles were around or just under 10:00 pace for the first 10. Now I know, almost 13 miles is still a lot, but those extra miles really count during marathon training.

The run left me feeling SO discouraged and defeated, and like I might just not be cut out for a marathon after all. My body seems to do fine with the 13.1 mile distance, and then it is done running about then. I feel like I might just not have the mental stamina for the training right now since I have so much going on in my life, but I also feel so far into training and hate to fail at something I’ve set my mind to.

I’m trying to remain positive and keep it in perspective – – I still ran almost 13 miles, which is A LOT and something I never would have been able to do a few years ago. That said, I have two hugely busy weeks coming up with traveling for work, during the peek training runs for the marathon (16, 18, 20). I am very worried that I’m not going to be able to squeeze them time and energy wise.

I’m trying not to make any rash decisions, and I’m not giving up YET, because I am going to try to do 16 this coming weekend when I’m in Charlotte. If I can’t do it, then I think I might back down from the marathon. It’s hard for me to even write that out because it makes me so sad to even think it, but I might just not have it in me right now.

Have you ever had to back out of a race or away from something you started to work towards? How did you deal with it?

PS: Sorry for the Debbie Downer post today! I promise to be more uplifting later in the week… =)

43 Comments on A Craptastic Run

  1. Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    September 12, 2011 at 8:56 am (9 years ago)

    I’m sorry you’re having a tough time with your long runs. It’s probably been really tough with the added stress of the move and related relationship changes, which of course you didn’t know about when you signed up.

    I guess the key here is to think about what is best for you in the long term. If you keep going for MCM 2011, will you finish with a positive experience? If it winds up being something you don’t enjoy, would it turn you off from running entirely? And what alternatives might be available – can you defer to 2012 and hopefully go into training with fewer external stressors, and do a half marathon this fall to take advantage of all the training you’ve put in so far? I don’t think that is giving up, it’s adapting your plan in light of reaities that have recently emerged.

  2. Paige
    September 12, 2011 at 9:00 am (9 years ago)

    Hey Beth! So sorry about the crappy run. I had many of these during my training for my last half.
    If it makes you feel better the longest long run I did for it was 8.5 or 9 and I actually ended up PRing on it! I’d planned on going into it allowing myself to walk whenever I needed so I was quite surprised.

  3. Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me
    September 12, 2011 at 9:15 am (9 years ago)

    Oh no! You know what you need to do and if stepping down from this marathon feels right, then it probably is. Good luck on the run this weekend. Who knows, maybe you’ll surprise yourself! 🙂

  4. Holly @ The Runny Egg
    September 12, 2011 at 9:22 am (9 years ago)

    Beth this is not a debbie downer post! Please know that I had those exact same feelings when I was training. It is all mental and reminding myself that my body can handle it helped me push through.

    Do what is best for you, I’m not trying to push you into something you don’t want to do.

    There were plenty of times where I told myself over and over again “I can do this, I am so strong, I can keep going, I can run a marathon”, etc.

    One thing that helped me was not running laps — If I was supposed to run 16 miles I would run 8 miles away from home and that way I had to run 8 to get back home — there were no shortcuts. If I were to run 4 miles out, then back home, then out 4 again and then 4 home then I would more likely quit at 8 because I was tired. I just tried to make it impossible to quit.

  5. Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
    September 12, 2011 at 9:32 am (9 years ago)

    Sorry about your camera, Beth! Maybe this the just the push you need to break down and buy a DSLR instead. 😉

    Okay, no seriously, I’m really sorry about you feeling so defeated about your running. I don’t really have anything encouraging to say because I am defeated by like 3 mile runs, but I know that it’s got to be hard for you to consider backing down from the marathon. That being said, this is a CRAZY time in your life right now, and it would be okay if you did! There are like, hundreds of marathons each year. Well maybe not hundreds, but you know what I mean. You could always just push back training a bit and try a different race instead of Philly if push came to shove! Nobody would judge you, and if they did, I’d kung fu them.

    You’re welcome. Chin up. 🙂

  6. Christine
    September 12, 2011 at 10:01 am (9 years ago)

    Don’t be so hard on yourself! You did what you could, and thats OK. Ps- inwas supposed to run 16 this weekend and I only did 9. Oh well! Life goes on and you’ll have a good run again next time.

  7. Theodora
    September 12, 2011 at 10:04 am (9 years ago)

    I think you probably already know your answer deep down, either way, but I think waiting to see how your 16 goes is a smart idea. With that said, I have known people that have completed marathons never running more than 16 (I knew someone who’d never done more than 13), so even if you can’t get any more long runs in, it is possible–it will just be harder/hurt more, so it just depends whether you want to finish it and do it no matter how much it hurts or if you want to feel strong. (Although, either way it will hurt some. :))

  8. Laura
    September 12, 2011 at 10:59 am (9 years ago)

    You are not a debbie downer. You are being honest as to where you are. I am strong believer that we need to hit these rough patches that we can grow from. This is an opportunity for you to see where you are and see what you may need to reach the goal. Maybe having a running mantra- I am doing it. I am a marathon runner. Slow and steady wins the race. Just know that no matter what you are already taking the action. 13 miles is a big deal!

  9. leahk
    September 12, 2011 at 11:20 am (9 years ago)

    this is not a debbie downer post! this is the truth of most of us “runners” its almost nice to see someone in the blogging world who isn’t saying every run is amazing and their 16miler was perfect!! You are right though 13 miles is still a HUGE deal, and maybe you will try 16 again next weekend and feel great. I know you said running with people isn’t always your thing but maybe having 1 running buddy (vs a group) can help you with distractions? I’ve always wanted to run a marathon too but i think my body rejects anything about 15 miles (even slow miles i see to have knee problems after that!!)

  10. Liz
    September 12, 2011 at 11:22 am (9 years ago)

    I’m sorry you had such a rough run! Maybe this isn’t the right time in your life to do a marathon….and you certainly should not beat yourself up if you have to make that decision. Also this is a great, honest post, not debbie downer at all.

  11. Carly D @ CarlyBananas
    September 12, 2011 at 11:43 am (9 years ago)

    You’re definitely not a Debbie Downer, Beth! I don’t think you’re failing at all!
    Don’t forget that running supposed to be something fun. Yes, we sign up for races but we run them because we want to. This isn’t a job, it’s a hobby and if it becomes overwhelming or not enjoyable there’s nothing wrong with taking a break from it! Blogging and the constant fitness chatter can bring a sense of accountability but I think it sometimes brings me a bit of a skewed perspective on the feeling that running races is totally normal, necessary, easy, not a big deal, etc.
    I don’t have any doubt that you *can* run the marathon but if you don’t feel like you want to right now there’s nothing wrong with that! You’re awesome no matter which path your training takes! 🙂

  12. Magnite
    September 12, 2011 at 11:49 am (9 years ago)

    Do what makes you happy. If this is stressing you out too much, why do it? You have a life time to try for a full marathon. Sounds like you could do some nice 1/2 marathons and really enjoy them and get some PRs.

  13. Lauren
    September 12, 2011 at 11:49 am (9 years ago)

    Actually, I am backing out of my first race ever this coming weekend. I had signed up for a half marathon in my hometown so my mom could see me run and I could run with some college friends. Somehow life got in the way of my training, and I haven’t been able to run more than 4 miles. It really depresses me because I really wanted to do this, but I couldnt motivate myself to practice. I decided it is better (and safer) for me not to try the distance even though I have done two halfs before. To not totally feel like a load of lard, I am going to see if I can switch into the 5K run. That way, I am still being active, but not going the distance. I knoe the MCM has a 10K and maybe you could do that?? I am planning on running the MCM10K this year – so given your incredibly busy schedule maybe a shorter distance is better than no distance at all. Either way, I completely understand what you are going through. I feel like a big let down for not completing the training, but its not like this is the only half marathon around and there are more in the future! 🙂 Chin up!

  14. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning
    September 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm (9 years ago)

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. And know that no matter what you choose to do, you HAVE to listen to your body and do what’s best for you.
    Think about why you want to run the marathon in the first place? Why is it so important for you to conquer? And then think about if those reasons really matter to you. If they do- then go for it! You know that you have already met so many challenges and faced them head on- and you can do anything that you put your heart into.
    And also, as you know from running races in the past, once race day hits, the adrenaline and excitement kick in- and you do things that you didn’t know you could do.
    Think back to when a 5k was daunting. And then how scary 13.1 miles seemed. You’ve got this in the bag- if you want it!

  15. Roz
    September 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm (9 years ago)

    Beth, I wish I could give you a big hug right now!!! You have SO much on your plate with work, travel, your recent split and move….all very stressful. PLUS…you lost your camera (fingers and toes crossed its on your desk!) which SUCKS. Maybe the run was just an “off day” for you. Or maybe this simply isn’t the time for you to conqour the marathon. Only you will know what is best, and whether you race now, or race this time next year, we’ll be here cheering you on!!! Take care!!!! Hope today is a better day!!

  16. Cait @ beyond bananas
    September 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm (9 years ago)

    Yikes Beth! We both had some terrible runs this weekend! I’ve never been in your position…but I have also only run in one race… And and training for a half.

  17. Heather
    September 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm (9 years ago)

    Chin up and good luck on your long run this weekend! If you do decide to step down from the marathon, no shame in that, you have to do what’s right for you!

  18. Mary
    September 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm (9 years ago)

    It’s crazy how one run can really differ from one to the next! Maybe the change of scenery will help when you’re in CLT this week. Changing up routes usually give me a boost. See how you go and whatever decision you make about MCM will be the right one for you right now. I’m happy to support you in any way I can when you’re in town 🙂

  19. Danielle
    September 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm (9 years ago)

    Unfortunately, I think I may have to back out of my second half marathon, which is coming up next month. I did my first half back in May, and have had hip pain after running ever since. I finally made an appt with a doctor — I had been hoping it would just go away on its own. Dropping out makes me feel pretty sad, but I know it’s better to have it checked out then to try to run through the pain and cause a more serious injury.

    I read Victoria’s suggestions above, and agree with all of those. I think finishing the marathon as a positive experience is SO important. Also, do you look forward to these long runs or is it more of a “I have to do 16 miles today” — I really don’t like being told that I HAVE to do x amount of miles, I’d rather just listen to my body that day. Maybe rewarding yourself with something with a massage, etc. would help? Good luck 🙂

  20. Lorinda @ Waisting Away
    September 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm (9 years ago)

    typically, my runs vary a lot! a good 10k one day can be followed by a horrible 3k the next. some runs are just not good but, usually, if the next one still isn’t good the one after that will be. luckily, the good ones always come back around eventually. there are so many factors involved in a good (or bad) run: temperature, hydration, nutrition, and (the most influential for me of all) hormones.

    it sounds like you were actually doing really well overall and you still have time to make a decision. i hope you get your long-run groove back in time for the race…and, if not, there’s always the next one! best of luck!!

  21. jacqui
    September 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm (9 years ago)

    Hey, don’t put ypurself down! We all have bad runs occasionally and the best thing to do is call it an dplan better for the next week. Even if you decide to not do the full marathon this year, go over your training logs and see how your progress has been. I know for me this has been one long, hot, humid summer and all my long runs felt like torture! Now that it has cooled off a bit, I feel good again and long runs are still hard (but they are supposed to be). Maybe you can re-arrange a few runs, even if you can top at 20 miles, that will get you through the race. You’ve been through a lot these last few months, but you’ve learned alot about how you respond to stress and training. You’ll figure what’s best for this fall.

  22. Caitlin
    September 12, 2011 at 3:54 pm (9 years ago)

    So sorry about the run! I had a similar experience last weekend and totally feel you on the mental toughness.
    I deferred my entry to the NYC Marathon two years ago (and ran it last year) because of a similar situation – lots going on in my life, lots of stress, no time for training. I think it’s really important to be honest with yourself about what you can handle and not beat yourself up or overwork yourself – as Gretchen said, there will be other marathons. That being said, give yourself another shot – my run last week SUCKED, but my 18 miler this week was awesome! And it was totally all mental – yes physically it was still exhausting/draining, but my mental energy was all there. Definitely making sure to stay positive, taking it one bit at a time, not focusing on my watch and repeating silly mantras help me when it gets tough! Good luck lady – xoxo

  23. Amy momof3girls
    September 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm (9 years ago)

    Wow!!! I think that’s amazing!! Great job!!! Remember anytime you try to do something new it’s hard. If not this race another just don’t quit!

  24. Lindsay @ The Reluctant Runner
    September 12, 2011 at 4:25 pm (9 years ago)

    This is how running short distances feels for me! I’m sure it was mental, because you could have been describing me and it is totally mental for me. Because running is so mentally challenging for me (I think it is really boring, even with a running buddy), I don’t do it super consistently, which I know adds to my problems. I stop running completely in the summer because I just can’t do it in the heat (which I know adds to running sucking so much for me), so this time of year is the worst for me because I have to start almost from scratch.
    I keep hoping that at some point, I’ll break through the boring wall and just start to like running, since it’s so efficient, but this is my third year and I have never dedicated myself to running enough to become good at it. Hopefully things will turn around for you on your next run, since it seem like you usually enjoy getting out there!

  25. Jill
    September 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm (9 years ago)

    I bet you anything that your next run WILL be awesome. That’s just how running is. Some great ones, some crappy ones and some AWESOME ones. Oh how I HATE the crappy ones, but I LOVE the awesome ones 🙂
    Keep your chin up and your shoes tied.

  26. Jess
    September 12, 2011 at 5:14 pm (9 years ago)

    I originally sought out to run a marathon this fall and had registered early to keep my motivation up. Unfortunately fourth week in on training I decided this wasn’t the right time for me to run a marathon. I was able to switch my registration to a half though so I am going for that instead.
    I do think we all have crappy long runs, but you have come such a long way in your training you can definitely do it! You could always go into the race with planned out walk times throughout, but if not there will be surely be another one to try at a better time! Also, if it makes you feel better, I flat out skipped my long run this weekend, just couldn’t get my head into it! 🙂

  27. Cortney @ Nerd on the Run
    September 12, 2011 at 5:42 pm (9 years ago)

    I had my first punch in the face, I mean DNF, yesterday at my first attempt at a half marathon. It was a trail run around a “mountain”. You can see the course here http://www.palouseroadrunners.org/RunningRoutes/MMM-Map_profile.htm. Now that I look back, I think I was a bit of a crazypants for signing up for this race, let alone it being my first attempt at a half. I have a redemption race in 2 weeks back home in Akron, OH. Hopefully I will have better news then too! 🙂
    Keep going! Remember, no matter how slow you go, you’re always lapping someone on the couch! 😉

  28. Dee
    September 12, 2011 at 5:51 pm (9 years ago)

    Crappy runs happen, so I don’t think this latest run is the true barometer of your ability to finish. The fact that you have to travel alot, will eat up alot of your energy and I definitely think one needs a good amount of rest each week before tackling long runs. That said, I like your idea of going ahead and tackling the next couple of training runs and try to be as well-rested, pre-hydrated, and well-fed as possible in the days leading up to it. You certainly don’t have to decide today, or even next week, about whether or not to run the race. If you decide it’s best not to do it, keep in mind there will be other marathons, and hopefully at a time where your life is less busy. You’re no less of a runner because you make a smart decision not to run a marathon at a particular time.

  29. Sarah
    September 12, 2011 at 7:38 pm (9 years ago)

    I’m at the same point too, Beth– my 18 mi run keeps getting procrastinated due to piriformis pain, or a hyperextended knee, or some random ailment, and it’s scary to think that 13 miles is only half of what we’ll be doing in 6 weeks! But there’s still time, it IS possible, and you’ll break through the wall of 13.1! As for mental stamina, my mantra is “strong in movement, light in thought” to remind myself to push through and keep my mind from going to all those awful places during long runs AKA the bitch zone. You can do it!

  30. Sarah
    September 12, 2011 at 8:04 pm (9 years ago)

    12.8 miles is a fantastic distance! The majority of people in this world couldn’t run that far (I know I couldn’t). And if your body is telling you that you won’t be ready for the marathon in 6 weeks, that’s okay too! You deserve to feel your best when you run and you will enjoy it much more when your body feels ready. Good luck with your runs 🙂

  31. Emily
    September 12, 2011 at 9:53 pm (9 years ago)

    Hi Beth! I’m new to your blog but I saw this post and your last one about being single and feel like I can really relate. I am newly single in the last half year and am also on my first serious training plan (a 10k in October). I definitely have many days where my runs suck and I can’t figure out how I will ever get past the place I’m at. Then a week later, with proper rest and a new mindset, I push through and feel like I’m totally kicking running butt. It’s so up and down and, honestly, sometimes I am just in awe that I run at all. I have also had to back out of a race, a 5 miler early this spring that I was totally under-prepared for and not physically up to try. In the end I remember that the money most likely went to charity so I don’t feel so bad. You will definitely have better running days, look at how far you’ve come already!!

  32. Amanda
    September 12, 2011 at 10:44 pm (9 years ago)

    Oh my gosh! This totally resounded with me. I remember a particularly horrible eighteen mile training run for my first marathon. I stopped at mile 9 and, I kid you not, laid down in the middle of the sidewalk and started to cry. It felt hopeless. I couldn’t help but think that maybe it was a terrible idea to ever consider running a marathon. Since it was a loop, all I could do at that point was walk. And walk I did.
    It’s one of those things. Pushing through those really tough times are the moments that you look back on when you’re running the marathon. The 8 though 10 mile stretch that you DID walk and push through can be the moments you think of when you’re pushing through miles 20 and up during your marathon.
    Fact is, be kind to yourself during those bitter moments- you’re going outside your comfort zone and you should be glad you got that far. Besides, when you complete your marathon, no one asks how long it takes you- it just matters that you completed it- which is more than most people can say!

    • Beth
      September 12, 2011 at 11:13 pm (9 years ago)


  33. cindylu
    September 13, 2011 at 2:41 am (9 years ago)

    I wouldn’t give up on the marathon just yet. A couple of “off” training weeks – including the all important long run – seem to come with the territory. My first 18 mile run for the LA Marathon this spring was very difficult both mentally and physically. In the last 4 miles or so, I beat myself up and thought ‘what business do I have training for a marathon? I’m not in shape.’ I still got through the run and my subsequent long runs turned out to be less difficult even though they were a few more miles. As for the marathon, I easily met my goal and had a great experience. Don’t let one or two bad long runs get in the way of meeting your goals. You can do it.

  34. Amy @ Amy Starts to Run
    September 13, 2011 at 2:52 am (9 years ago)

    You are always so positive and upbeat, I think you’re allowed to crack under the pressure. Don’t psyche yourself out. You’ve accomplished so many amazing things already. If the marathon isn’t in the cards 6 weeks from today, you’ll have another chance. But don’t beat yourself up for 12.8 miles. That’s outstanding.

  35. Fiona
    September 13, 2011 at 5:16 am (9 years ago)

    Hi Beth. I’m a long time lurker:)

    I’ve just given up running. To cut a very long story short I was training for a half, having a lot of issues with my knees, which was affecting my first love – Yoga. My trainer asked me how I would feel if I never ran a half Marathon, and I knew then I just didn’t want to do it. I was relieved. The thought of how many people I’d announced my impending half marathon to did cross my mind (very briefly!). But hey I’m a grown up and I make my own choices. So I’m swimming and spinning quite happily.

    Run the 16 and see how you feel. I think you’ll know what’s right for you, and I also know you’ll run a marathon fabulously at some point!

  36. Lynne
    September 13, 2011 at 11:07 am (9 years ago)

    I can really relate to this post as I am currently training for the Marine Corps Marathon and hating every single minute of it. I thought running/training would be easier by now, but no, and I think every day about droping out of the race or deferring my entry. But, I made a commitment and I do want to call myself a marathoner, so I plan on powering through for the next 6 weeks, envisioning what it will be like to cross that finish line.
    Not every run is going to be perfect, nor does it have to be accomplished according to plan. There’s a podcast I listen to that always says “You’re only one run away from a good run.” I try to keep that in mind on those crappy run days. 🙂

    • Beth
      September 13, 2011 at 11:10 am (9 years ago)

      I love that quote!!

  37. Jennifer
    September 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm (9 years ago)

    I like what you said about running 13 miles and how you never could’ve done that before. That’s what you should focus on! I’m considering training for a full and I just don’t know if my body, and my mind, are ready for that yet. It’s a lot to take on! I think you should do what you can for your training and then assess whether you’re really ready or not. It’s OK if you’re not! It’s better to know that then try it anyway and get injured. Keep us posted!

  38. Harold
    September 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm (9 years ago)

    I’ve been having real trouble too. My right hip is really hurting on longer runs and I have a lot mentally I have to deal with lately as well that’s really bringing me down.

    I might medically defer my MCM to 2012….The Wilson Bridge Half will tell the tale….If I can do that with only minor pain then I’m a go. If I can’t I’ll do the marathon in 2012 and start a weightlifting routine instead. You can defer until October 20th for $30.

    Good luck, keep us posted!

  39. liz
    September 14, 2011 at 8:15 am (9 years ago)

    I am glad to hear I am not the only one. I had a horrific run too this weekend. I only did 13.7 instead of my scheduled 16, and it was miserable from the start. I am not sure how this marathon will go. I am though pretty confident this will be my only marathon. I don’t like these long runs! Good luck.


2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on A Craptastic Run

Leave a Reply