Monday, March 8, 2010


I had a total breakdown on Saturday. The planned run was 15.5 miles. I was warned that there would be hills. We arrived at the designated start point at 7:30 am and I was ready to run. A little over 3 miles and 37 minutes later, I stopped. I didn't start to walk, I just stopped moving. The hills were miserable. My legs were still tired from the 14 total miles I ran throughout the week. I felt like I could have walked up the hills faster than I was running. So I just stopped. Luckily my fiance was still with me at this point, and the other three guys in the group were well ahead so they didn't have to see the disaster that was me. I stood there for a while and I was really upset, but we turned around and walked back. I knew I wouldn't make it 12 more miles.

The main thought going through my head as I was contemplating stopping was, "I don't even want to run a marathon." And I'm still not sure if I want to or not. My initial goal was to run the half marathon on May 2, but I was coaxed into trying for the marathon by my running mates, and then I started reading all these awesome running blogs, so I decided I'd go for it. If I run a marathon, I want to run it, not walk. I want to be prepared to do well, not just cross the finish line. I think it would be awesome to run a marathon, but I don't think I'm ready yet. I'll be more proud of myself for running a great half than just finishing 26.2. I still haven't registered, so I am still undecided about the marathon, but I'm leaning towards the half. 13.1 miles is still 10 more miles than my longest race.

Other factors that make the half more appealing are:
1. I think I have a mild case of Iliotibial Band Syndrome in my left knee/leg.
2. I want to add strength training to my workout routine, but I'm scared to do too much for fear of ruining my legs or core for the really long Saturday runs.
3. I don't want this training experience to make me hate running, just as I am beginning to enjoy it (I really only enjoy distances of 7 miles or less).

One of my favorite running quotes is:
"The will to win means nothing if you haven't the will to prepare." - Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner
And a variation from Joe Pa:
"The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital."

And when I think about the will to prepare, I think about more than 18 weeks. I think the will to prepare for a marathon is proven over years, not months or weeks.

So I will try the 16 miler scheduled for next Saturday. Beyond that, I know I have the National Half marathon in two weeks and at least a half on May 2.


  1. Hey there, sorry to hear you had a bit of a bad experience on your run. Training is tough and it will break you down, but you have the drive and initiative to not only get started doing this and set goals for yourself but to plan for and prepare to meet them.

    I don't know what it would have been like for me before I ran my half, if I would have been as anxious for the marathon as I was had I not done my half yet, but I know that's a tall task to consider 26.2 when you haven't raced anything but a 5K. That mental part of it can't be overlooked, and you have to deal with that just as you do those pesky hills.

    I do think that you can and will do well on your half, and if you want to re-assess your marathon goal once you cross the finish line... well, maybe not once you cross because that might not be the best time, how about once you are a few days removed from the finish line/accompanying pain.... then you have every right to do so. You only get one shot at running your first marathon, and if the experience is miserable, you're right, it might turn you off from running. And that's the last thing you want to happen.

    Anyway, good luck, and really, good for you for knowing when to say when. Some people would have pushed through whatever and then might have paid a heavy price for it afterward (injuries, loss of motivation, etc.). So at least you had the presence of mind to just call it a run. Nothing wrong with that.

  2. If your knee pain is related to IT Band Friction Syndrome, you should definitely check out the website: Good