Sunday, February 17, 2008

Week # 14

This was a very tough week for me. As you can probably tell from my last post, I’m in desperate need of inspiration right now. I’ve really been struggling with staying motivated and on track with my running schedule. I just didn’t want to run this week. I’m not sure whether it’s the cold dreary weather or just burning out from so much running. Perhaps a combination of the two. I haven’t been able to get outside for many of my runs and the treadmill definitely takes a toll on my spirits.

I had a rough week at work. And that was coupled with (or the cause of) me skipping a handful of runs during the week. I was so completely stressed out about work and my training. By Wednesday I was at the end of my rapidly fraying rope and that night I had a meltdown. I just didn’t want to continue with the training schedule or run the marathon. Whether I could do it or not wasn’t the point, I just didn’t want the stress of it anymore. It was just causing problems and beating me up. So I decided to take a few days off and get ready for Saturday’s long run.

Thursday evening, Valentine’s Day, was spent home alone watching crappy reruns on TV and eating everything in the house. Ryan left earlier that day for a long weekend of trout fishing in Arkansas with the boys. I usually love being home alone, having time to myself to relax, read, and watch my favorite shows. But this night was just lonely. I hate to admit that I moped around and pouted about being alone, but that’s exactly what I did. Nothing like a stupid “romantic” holiday to make you feel sorry for yourself. And then Friday I woke up feeling sick again. Congestion, sneezing, coughing, achy body, and fever. This scared me to death. I could not afford to get sick this close to the marathon. I took loads of vitamins, ate soup and bananas, drank plenty of fluids, took two Airborne and prayed.

All week I couldn’t stop thinking about (dreading) my 18 mile long run scheduled for Saturday morning. For some reason, this 18 mile run has been making me so nervous and scared. I had no problem with last week’s 16 miler and felt great afterwards, but 18 was a different story. This run would be my longest and hardest to date. It was a mental obstacle for me. I needed to be well-rested and hydrated. This was the one time I felt really confident that I could run it. I knew I could do the distance, I just didn’t want to. I wanted to give up and go back to bed. Where was my motivation?

Friday night my mom and Anna came to visit and spent the night with me. We had a nice dinner of tortellini and breadsticks, birthday cupcakes and gelato, then we played a few games and went to bed early. I was still feeling sick, tired and nervous. And of course, I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I woke up at 1:00, 2:30, 3:30 and finally I just got out of bed around 4:30 am. My run was at 7:00 and as I sat in the living room eating my breakfast, I tried to come up with any possible excuse not to go. I was so tired. I felt absolutely terrible. I knew I was sick again. It looked so cold and dark outside. My spirits were completely broken. I forced myself to get dressed. I got in the car with tears in my eyes.

I felt a little better when I pulled up the trail-head and saw all the other TNT runners. There were more people than I expected. A new group had joined that just started their training for the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon…newbies. When we were going over the distances we would each be running that day, I felt very proud to say I would be running 18 miles. And to my surprise, some of the other runners looked at me with excitement and awe. My heart absolutely lit up – I was so proud of myself at that moment. I couldn’t believe that just a few months ago I was in their place, running my 4-5 mile long run and admiring the runners that were close to their marathons and going super long distances that I only dreamed of. At that moment I realized just how far I have come and knew there was no way I wouldn’t finish this marathon.

I paired up with another girl who would be doing 14 miles that morning and also training for the St. Louis full marathon, Abby. What a blast I had running with this girl! We talked about everything from boys, to books, to Build-A-Bear, to bridesmaid dresses in our 14 miles together. I didn’t want to the run to end! When she finished her run, I turned around and headed back out on the course to get in 4 more miles. My coach Rhonda joined me for a while and I attempted to make small talk as my legs burned and my feet ached. She is so encouraging and got me through to the end! I finished my 18 miles in 3:12:15, with the following splits:

1 10:39
2 10:35
3 10:26
4 10:35
5 10:33
6 10:35
7 10:31
8 11:01
9 10:26
10 10:23
11 10:40
12 10:30
13 10:51
14 10:31
15 10:56
16 10:42
17 11:22
18 10:38

I got home and gave myself a 15 minute ice bath. I think the bath was more painful than the run! But after my steaming hot shower, I felt absolutely refreshed. My legs didn’t hurt at all – what a miracle! Mom, Anna and I treated ourselves to lunch and shopping. Easter came a little early, as you can tell from the pictures. And yes, you saw correctly, a new pair of bunny slippers, to make her fast!!

Weekly recap:

Tuesday: 5.0 miles
Wednesday: 5.0
Friday: 2.0
Saturday: 18.0

Total: 30.0 miles

I also got some fantastic and inspiring news...Marion finished her first marathon, Myrtle Beach Bi-Lo Marathon, Saturday morning with a time of 4 hours and 6 minutes!!! That is FAST!! I'm so incredibly proud of you Marion!! You have been such an inspiration to me. I know I'll never be able to beat a time like that, but you've helped me realize what's possible with hard work and determination. And Tim finished the Run the Reagan Half Marathon, his first half marathon, with a time of 1:55:46!! That is also FAST!! He had a great race - which is obvious b/c Tim's already scouting out the location of his first full marathon! I'm so proud of both of you two!! You are my heros!!

4 comments:

  1. Girl, I am so proud of you! Reading about your training helps keep me motivated and It's helping me to think of my own impending marathon training. You've really gotten out there when so many would have given up. You've trained in some miserable weather, but it hasn't stopped you.

    I hope this week is a little easier on you. Not too much longer before you start tapering...you will definitely deserve that after these many months of HTFUing!

    :)

    k

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  2. Sara, you continue to be an inpiration to me! I had a rough week as well, feeling physically beat up, not having good runs, missing my first run ever in my training plan and not making it up, mentally discouraged, tired of the dreary and crappy weather to run in, and wondering if I would have the physical and mental endurance to keep after this marathon.

    Your words are so encouraging, namely to know that I am not alone in how I am feeling. I'm doing this completely on my own here, no training team, no running buddies, just me. So, I struggle at times with motivation and relating to anyone that has a clue of what I am going through and you, with posts like this, and the last one especially, help to keep my heart and head in the game. Thanks!

    You're doing an AWESOME job, Sara. Keep it up! And, thanks for the inspiration.

    p.s. - Tell Anna that I loved her outfit, she looks wonderful in brown. My youngest, Lindsey, just loves brown outfits and looks good in them too. And, that I just love the new bunny slippers. She looks faster already. ;-)

    Have a GREAT week!

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  3. I am glad you made it out for the long run and found some additional inspiration. Hang tough. You have done such a great job and continue to impress me with your accomplishments. There is no way I could match the levels that you have already achieved. What you have done is very admirable and I am driven by your continued success. Keep it up!

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  4. Reading this post provided me with inspiration :) 18 miles. Yowza :D Congratulations on sticking through it and providing motivation to the rest of us!

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