Today I ran 28 kilometres and it was not fun. It was the last 8k that really took the “fun” out of the long run, but for the first time this summer I found myself questioning whether or not I can actually run a marathon. Considering I just wrote a blog post about “Why I Wasn’t Ready To Run A Marathon 6 Months Ago, But I Am Now”, this came as a bit of a shock. Now, I know that this feeling of doubt and frustration is common as we’re really getting into the thick of marathon training and the fall season isn’t too far away. If you are part of any sort of online running community, you’ll notice that right about now is when people start posting about injuries, self-doubt, and are dropping their distance from the full to the half. I should note that I think this is a perfectly respectable decision as I’d rather race smart in a shorter distance than push myself to injury or burn0ut in a longer distance.
The first 20k of our run today was great, and it was only around 21k that things started to take a dark turn. A couple pleas of “I don’t think I can do this” turned into “this hurts so much” and “this is the hardest thing I have ever done” and “I don’t think I can run a marathon” and eventually “can we stop?” Luckily, my boyfriend Nick calmly listened to me complain and just as calmly said, “no, we can’t stop” and so we didn’t. We ran all 28 kilometres from City Place to the West Toronto Railpath, from High Park to the Lakeshore, and finally along the Don River Trail to Pottery Road. As we were walking home, the pain in my knees started to subside, my heart rate returned to normal, and my mind calmed down a bit. I apologized to Nick for being so over-dramatic on our run today and started thinking about all the other running “firsts” that I’ve completed and how what used to seem really challenging is easier now.
I remember the first time I ran 8 kilometres. It was on a hot summer day along the Lisgar Trail in Mississauga. I remember busting through the front door of my parent’s home, begging my mom for water, bent over and gasping for breath. That run, at the time, was the hardest thing I had ever done and it hurt like crazy. That fall I went on to run my first 10K and then the following year, my first-half marathon. Those runs were both really tough the first time I did them too, but now they are distances that I am familiar with and feel comfortable racing. Until today, the longest I had ever run was 25 kilometres. This was my first go at 28k so it makes sense that it hurt and it was hard and it made me want to cry. I wasn’t thinking so rationally as I was running, but as I had some time to reflect this afternoon, I can see that my reaction was completely normal. Do I think that running 28k is fun? No. Am I nervous about the 30k run that I have to do next Saturday? Yes. Will there ever come a day when 28k runs don’t feel so awful? I don’t know, I hope so.
When I texted my coach to tell him “That was the most painful thing I have ever done and I want to cry”, he replied “Luckily you don’t have to do that very often!” No sympathy, just straight-up common sense and tough love, which is definitely what I needed to hear. Despite my pleas of “I don’t think I can run a marathon” today, I will continue on with my marathon training, trying to keep my eye on the prize and my feet moving in a forward direction. This marathon business is freakin’ hard, but no one ever said it was easy. As always, I couldn’t do any of this without the awesome crew at Tribe Fitness. Special thanks to Kate, Mat, Ravi, and Nick for running with me today!
How do you get through marathon training? If you have any long run tips and tricks, I would LOVE to hear them!