So the thing about training for a marathon, is that the only way you'll ever be able to run 26.2 miles without serious negative consequences, is by running 26.2 miles, or at least close to that. Running is one of those frustrating things that are incredibly simple yet really hard. Want to run faster? You run faster. Simple, but difficult.
What all of this means is that all of my weekends from now until November 21 will include a 13+ mile run. Because I am out of town this weekend, I had planned to go for my long run yesterday after work. 15 miles.
I was ready, I have new running shoes, I bought gatorade and a snickers bar, I told people about it, I thought about and psyched myself up for it. I did essentially, everything I always do to prepare for a long run, because when you start hitting this kind of distance running becomes just as much of a mental challenge as a physical one.
Last weekend I did 14, which while certainly not being easy, was difficult in a good way, and overall enjoyable. Running and I have been pretty in love lately, and I was excited for the utter exhaustion, flood of endorphins, and accomplishing one more mile. I was ready.
What they don't tell you about marathon training, are the bad runs. You prepare for blisters, dehydration, chaffing, heat-exhaustion, bruises, pulled muscles, and a gazillion other potential problems. But nothing, none of that compares to having a bad run.
I did 5 miles.
5 lousy miles.
5 miles in which I never hit my stride, it never got easier, I never fell into a comfortable rhythm making me feel I could go forever.
It was so hard, and it should have been so easy.
In my experience with running so far, nothing is more devastating than bad run. Especially, when it was supposed to be a long run. It's kind of like getting dumped. You're surprised and angry, and feel hurt and betrayed, and wonder if you're too fat.
This however, is exactly why I am not training alone. After the miserable 5 mile disaster, I texted Running Buddy.
"I just had a really lousy, really defeating 5 miles. I'm supposed to run in a half-marathon next weekend. I need encouragement!" I wrote.
"Remember the Alamo" he responded.
I stared at my phone.
"If this was going to be easy, there wouldn't be a point." he wrote.
"True." I replied.
"When in Rome," he said.
"Ok, now you're just spewing proverbs at me aren't you?" I asked.
"yeeeaaaaa." he said.
"c'est la vie" I shot back.
So tomorrow, I'll get back on the proverbial horse, or in the saddle, or however that saying goes, lace up my sneakers, and try again.