To Run, or Not to Run (Opposite Day)

2012 has really started off opposite of most of last year. Let’s look at 2 of my major goals:

1.  Lose weight.  More specifically, 1600 calories on all days but long run day.  No sugar.  Mostly organic.  Keeping the ratios pretty even.  Basically, good, clean eating. For most of December, I struggled HARD with 1600 calories.  This week, I rocked it out of the park.  To the point where some days, I was eating more at night to get to 1600 on purpose.

While I don’t necessarily think that I should be shoving food down my mouth if I’m not really hungry, I want to get good data if I’m losing at this calorie range and not just my normal TRY TO EAT AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE without going insane and then get frustrated. So yeah – no sugar.  Very little nutritionally void food.  Mostly organic/good quality.  Only out to eat 4 times last week.  Around 1600 each day, 2400 on long run day.  I feel so much more fabulous than I did this time last week.

Weight is 178, while it’s up from my last official weigh in, is actually down from the damage I did on vacation.

2.  Marathon Training Most of 2011 (at least the last half), it was all about “my training is going awesome but I can’t get my eating habits together”.  Sadly, I’m just about opposite this week.  I missed one workout (my swim – not critical, but still, not good).  I had to take my 10 miler at planned marathon pace down to 6 miles due to time constraints, and worst of all – I couldn’t get my long run done – I only did 14.5 instead of the 15 minimum I had required, and the last mile + of that was walking.

Now I’m in a bit of a pickle.  My goal was the Austin Marathon in 6 weeks.  I have thus far done one terrible 18 miler with much walking, one 16 miler, one 15 miler, two 14 milers, about 5 half marathon distance runs, and probably another 10 double digit runs.  My during-the-week training has been spotty as well. Most importantly, I’m not having success with my longer-than-half runs, my calves, hammies, and glutes seize up like whoa and running is painpainpain no matter how slow I take it or how many walk breaks I give myself.  If I simply was undertrained and was feeling good during runs I’d probably go for it, but this feels like there may be a problem.

I’m trying to remember how getting from 10k to 12 miles felt, but I really break down somewhere after I hit double digits. The super frustrating part is that I remember some of my long runs for halfs I really trained for wasted me for the whole rest of the day, maybe 2.  While I’m in major pain during the latter halves of these runs, after I walk, stretch, and get some food in me, I’m feeling great and could probably finish the mileage.  Either I’ve somehow lessened my ability to tolerate pain and uncomfortableness, or this is worse.

This week I’m loading up on potassium and calcium, and will attempt to take in more calories before and during the run, and see if that gets me through the 20 miles.  If not, then I have some hard choices.  Enter the proverbial pro/con list.

PRO running 26.2:

-I set the goal, I want to follow it through.

-I have a month set aside to rest and recover.  This is the right timing in the year with my other goals I want to accomplish.

-It’s one step closer to ironman.  If I can’t run a marathon, I will never do an IM.

-I want the silly little decal on my car.

-It’s proof that I can indeed do anything I set my mind to.

-It’s going to be HARD.  I haven’t done a race that’s really hard besides the arbitrary standards of time I set on myself for a long while.  Since my Olympic tri in 2010 for sure.  Everything else has just been either chasing a PR or for fun.

-5 hours of running is a good experience if I want to consider 6-7 hours on my feet for the half iron and/or century

-Not doing it after I said it so publicly feels like giving up.  I’m convinced y’all will think just a tiny bit less of me if I wuss out on this.

-I’ve been training for it since October.  If I wasn’t going to bother, I should have spent the time resting.  What a waste!

-This would be false start #2 for marathon training for me,  I’d like to see it through.

-I’m not trained up for a half marathon PR right now, so what’s the point of even running it?

CON (running 13.1):

-Supporting Joel to the finish line on his 2nd half marathon

-Running a distance I know literally is just another weekend jaunt and I can move onto other things sooner than a long marathon recovery.

-Another lesson to myself that every race is not just about Quix PR’ing it.

-Less chance of hurting myself means I can start tri training earlier

-I hate training in the cold, less time I have to be out during crappy cold weather! (Yes, I would much rather heat train – I’m silly like that…)

-Getting as comfortable as I am with double digit runs and running 4 halfs this season is still a huge accomplishment.  I’ve always run 13.1 miles and threw a fit and stopped running for a month and taken 6 months to even want to attempt a long run again.  A double digit run is now just another Saturday now.

-I will have another chance at a marathon in the fall.  After I run the half iron in October, I can bank on all that stamina and training from the summer and probably do the same thing I did with the olympic and the half marathon 6 weeks later in 2010.  Also, RnR San Antonio is perfect weather, a nice fast and flat course (which Austin isn’t), and I really liked it in 2010. (However, I was considering banking my endurance and doing a century in October.  Can I do both?  Will I be so OVER training by October that I don’t want to do any of this? Will taking the pressure off myself earlier in the year help lengthen my post season motivation?)

-I don’t feel ready for the marathon.  I’ve never entered a new distance feeling as if I had so far to go from training to race.  I don’t feel as if I have earned the right to do it.

-Unless the nutrition really is the key and I have a stellar 20 miler this Saturday, do I really want my first marathon to be mostly memories of being in pain?   Maybe it’s worth a few false starts to grow more comfortable with longer distances.

-Will I really feel accomplished and worthy of calling myself a marathoner if I just drag myself across the finish line in what feels like not a respectable time?  I don’t want to just finish a marathon, I want to run a marathon.  I’m not sure if I can do that yet.

-I don’t really have love and passion for the distance.  It’s really just a stepping stone to do something more (Ironman).

-If it was between a marathon and a tri, I’d have dropped the race like a hot potato.  This really is because I feel like doing this is the most efficient use of my time to improve for tri season.

-If I just make this call, all the stress about training schedules goes out the door.  I can start ramping up my biking and swimming NOAWWWW which is all I wanna do.  I am the sick puppy that wants to go out and buy my trainer NOAWWWW (yes, again for emphasis) and cycle through movie and tv marathons.

-I may just have to accept the cold hard fact that 178 lbs is heavier than my body wants to be to do the miles in a manner which does me proud.  Not that I’m an advocate of waiting until you’re perfect to accomplish your goals, but doing this after taking off 10-20 lbs later in the year (please, let that be reality!!!) might be a game changer in terms of how the miles feel to me.

So in summary, I have a lot of thinking to do.  Most people I’ve talked to say to not do the marathon, but I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m being weak willed about it and trying to cover it up by making it sound like I’m making the smart choice, and really, I just need to push my boundaries and buck up and do something REALLY HARD.  I may be longing for tri season and not feeling a lot of run love right now, but isn’t that always the case for me knee-deep in a running training cycle?  Right about now all I want to do is anything BUT run (but then the light at the end of the tunnel appears near race day and wheeee!!! the love returns in spades).

So yeah, my thinker is going overtime.  I’m also trying to think of what is best for weight loss, but it seems like my eating is pretty well in check and once I accepted that training more != the ability to eat crap and/or not be stringent on how many calories I’m taking in (make sure it’s an appropriate level), I don’t think it matters either way. So, if you were in my position, what would you do?  Will I regret the race I ran without full and complete feelings of preparation, or will I regret not taking the chance?

One comment

  1. amy says:

    It sounds as though something is actually wrong, as opposed to not being ready. If that is the case, I would definitely hold off on the marathon until this fall. Switching to triathalon training sounds where your heart is leading you anyway…