Marine Corps Marathon 2014 Training – Week 13 – Sometimes it’s no fun.

Another week down!  We’re inching ever closer to the big event, and this was probably the roughest week I’ve had as far as scheduling.  Today, as a matter of fact, was probably the absolute worst run I’ve had in all 13 weeks of training.  But – we’ll get there.
When I left you on Sunday the 14th, I was musing over how far I really wanted to run and when I would do it.  The result of all that hemming and hawing was that I did nothing.  Not a single mile.  I’m slightly consoled by the fact I did get in eight miles the day before, but skipping a long run all together at this point is ill advised.  Obviously, if I had been sick or injured, I would have taken the day off, but that’s quite a cop out.  No excuses, I just didn’t do it.  And this may be part of the reason that today was so terrible.

On Monday I didn’t run (it wasn’t in my plan), but I did have Back to School Night (remember – along with marathon training, wedding planning, working at the running store and juggling two kids – I am also a third grade teacher).  The result of this is my not even getting home from work until well after nine, and needing to smash in as much as I could before I absolutely HAD to sleep.  My sleep suffered.

On Tuesday I did get out after work.  Actually, I got to the gym.  I ran my five miles and then brought the kids over to the gym pool where I soaked in a hot tub to try to forget the fact that I would have another late night – this time I needed to attend back to school night as a parent for my 5th grade daughter.  Also, on Tuesday nights my daughter takes gymnastics in Burke until 9pm, and we live in Kingstowne.  This, of course, became another night of sacrificed sleep.

Wednesday seemed to be shaping up to be a better day.  I only worked a half day at school as I was due to pick up my wedding dress from being altered.  I put my dress on and found myself in the interesting problem of suddenly hating my own wedding gown due to some less than stellar alterations.  After about an hour of troubleshooting, we came up with a solution that worked (even though it ended up costing me some more money), and I headed to get my kids from my mom’s house.  Luckily enough, I had eight miles to run and it was lovely outside.  My parents kept the kids so I could enjoy my eight miles on the street and burn off some of the stress and frustration from my fitting.  The drawback to this, however, was that by the time I was leaving their house in Burke to head home it was almost 6pm.  I don’t even remember what we ate for dinner that night.

And then there was Thursday.  Thursday seemed like FINALLY I’d have a day where I caught a break.  My day at school was fine, and again we hit the gym for a five miler run after work.  Walking out of the gym I made the mistake of checking my work email and became aware of a particularly unpleasant situation.  The rest of my day was spent stewing and pacing and be generally aggravated with everyone and everything.  Catching on to the tone of my week?  Sleep deprived, eating less than stellar, and maybe feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the running/teaching/planning.  Didn’t even want to eat dinner, and was a big sullen jerk to my entire family and then went to bed pouting.  Nothing is worse than a pouting adult, and I gave my family many apologies when I recovered.

Friday finally rolls around – which is a rest day for me.  My kiddos were gone for the weekend, as was Sean who was away having his bachelor party weekend.  It was pretty wild to be alone in the house as it is just not something I’m used to anymore!  The result of this, of course, was I couldn’t sleep.  No rest for the weary!

Saturday morning I got up early to go run five miles at race pace before going to work at the store.  I was really feeling great (fresh legs will do that to you), so instead of running my hopeful race pace of 9:45, I ended up running my miles at a 9:20 pace.  I thought nothing of it, and went for my all day shift at the store.  Another night home alone meant another night of having a very hard time sleeping.

6:15 am this morning and my alarm goes off.  I’ve had maybe six hours of sleep and am slated to run 20 miles.  There is something daunting about that number.  I’ve only run it once before in my life (the last time I ran the Marine Corps Marathon).  When I ran in 2011, my longest training run was 18 miles, which I repeated two weeks ago.  The 18 felt great, so I was pretty sure 20 would go fine as well.  It did not.

It started off okay.  I was with a friend from the training group (the same friend who ran the 18 with me).  His schedule, however, had been altered due to a race he ran last weekend, which meant he only needed to do 13 today.  As we headed out I was enjoying the morning and the company, but not necessarily the running.  By about three miles in I just felt so much more tired than I should have.  When my watch beeped alerting me I was ten miles in I felt devastated.  How could I only be half way done?  This was a nightmare.  Not only was it feeling awful – it was also going much slower than the 18 miler had gone, and today I was on a time crunch due to my daughter started lacrosse and Sean being out of town.

The final blow to my ego was when we hit 13 miles and suddenly I was alone.  Moving forward became awful and it felt like there were bricks on my legs.  I stopped off at our training program coach’s car to fill up with some gatorade and water and sat down in order to get everything full.  Standing up was far more painful than it should have been.  I’ve gone out for much longer and faster runs without hurting the way I did and feeling so beaten down.  I knew that 20 was simply not in the cards.

I didn’t want to quit at 13, and I didn’t.  I toughed it out for 2.5 more miles before totally throwing in the towel.  There are a lot of factors that could have gone into today going so poorly.  I know I didn’t sleep enough this week.  My weekly mileage was WAY down last week (last week I ran a total of 23 miles, the week before had been 40, and I was attempting 43 this week).  I wasn’t eating wonderfully (Chipotle on Thursday, Chinese on Friday, and sliced prosciutto for dinner on Saturday night).  It was a little bit humid.  I ran a little too fast yesterday.  And the jealousy of watching someone else finish and knowing you are just no where near being done.  I don’t think a single one of these is to blame, but I think they were all contributing factors in today’s fairly impressive crash and burn.

All said and done, it wasn’t a total loss.  15.5 miles is certainly much better than none.  I’ve already passed 100 miles for this month, which is only the second time this year I’ve managed it (and last month I came in right at the wire, hitting 108 miles on the 31st thanks to a half marathon).  I also put in 39 miles this week, which is my second highest week of the year.  And, because I’m using a more challenging training plan than I have in the past, I will have another shot at the 20 miler in two weeks.

This week is a bit less hectic.  There are still cub scout meetings and gymnastics, but it should (hopefully) be less stressful on the whole.  This Saturday I am racing in a 5k to try to beat my PR (25:28).  I’d really love to get under 25 minutes, but that’s a pretty high bar to set for myself at the moment, so we shall see!  Sunday’s long run is only scheduled to be 12 miles, which will be a lovely reprieve from some of these long distances.

I realize this week’s post may sound a lot grumpier than a lot of my posts, but it is pretty reflective of my week.  I do realize, however, that one really bad run does not destroy all that I’ve built.  I’m looking forward to having the week ahead to shake off today and this whole week.  Until next Sunday – run healthy!  And get some sleep!!

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