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.