In the last two or three kilometres of my 25.5 km run today, four ugly words crept into my brain: I can’t do this.
These are words that long distance runners must avoid repeating at all costs. I know this. But I was tired, I had been on my feet for three hours in direct sun, I was unwittingly dehydrated, and, I felt defeated.
I had set out to run 26 km today, but miscalculated the distance by a bit, so I had to make up about 1.5 km by doing a short out-and-back close to the gas station where I parked my car. It was torture. My legs wouldn’t work. I was sun burned and tired, and done.
All I could think was, if I feel this way now, how can I possibly run a full marathon?
Now, after a few hours have passed, I know I am simply in thick of training. I have to trust this training and know that every tough run, every longer distance, will help me reach my goal.
I’m realizing now that it’s been a while since I’ve felt the pain of pushing myself to new limits. My first half-marathon was almost four years ago now. This is all normal and good, so I must press on.
I’m still smiling.
Highlights of today’s run:
- I changed it up and ran outside of Saint John in the Kennebecasis Valley. I ran alongside the majestic Kennebecasis River on flat portions and many rolling hills. The route was actually hillier than I expected. (See my route here)
- The sun was bright and direct during my run, which started at about 11:30 a.m. I actually got a sunburn. I wore full-length running tights and a light, long-sleeve top over a singlet, but quickly warmed up. I ended up tying the shirt around my waist and it chafed (ouch). It was about 5 C when I left home in Saint John but 14 C by the end of my run… you gotta love unpredictable spring weather!
- I brought along my fuel belt with one bottle of water, one bottle of sports drink and two Clif gels (chocolate – tasty!). I did not bring enough water, but I can’t figure out how to rectify this…. do I need to buy an annoying belt with four water bottles? Incorporate a place during my run to replenish my fluids? Buy a water backpack? Marathon runners, what do you do?
- About 13-14 km into my run, I had just tackled (ie walked) a mountain of a hill, and my pace was lagging. I saw some girls playing with a water hose on their front lawn and as I passed, I asked them to spray me down. They laughed and gladly doused me in water. It was kind of funny, and I noticed other neighbours looking on. I’m a goof.
- I’m questioning if I had enough energy in my body for this run. Maybe our rice/chicken meal last night didn’t contain enough carbs, and maybe too much time had passed since breakfast (eggs/toast/tomatoes) before I started my run. I ate a banana immediately after, followed by a protein smoothie.
- Also, I stumbled into a local market after my run purchased melt-in-your-mouth white rolls and chocolate cookies. I needed something delicious as a reward.