It seems like every other week I flip between feeling ready for the marathon and feeling like I won't make it to the finish line. After finishing my 20 mile training run last week feeling so strong and confident, I was so sure that I had a great race coming my way. After today's failed long run, I am full of doubt.
This morning I set out to do a 16 mile run. I thought that this run was going to feel so easy. Usually I do my long runs the day after a medium length run, to practice running on tired legs. This week, to accommodate a race on Sunday, I planned to do my long run on Saturday, the day after a rest day. Plus I only had to go 16 miles instead of 20. So easy, I thought.
I knew about a mile into the run that it was NOT going to be easy. Three miles in, I was ready to quit. Every other step I thought about just turning around and heading home. At about five miles I decided that I had it in me to finish the run, but I might need to slow down a bit. I was not running very fast at all, just my normal long run pace. I told myself that this was a chance to work on my mental toughness, to prove I had what it will take to make it 26.2 miles.
I pushed myself all the way to 9 miles which is when my IT band lit up with pain. I was over a mile from my car. I managed to keep running in spite of the pain, but each step was agony. When I got to my car, I decided to just call it quits after only 10.3 miles.
I'm pretty disappointed. Does this mean I don't have what it takes to finish a marathon? I think stopping when I did was probably a wise decision. Had I kept going, I could have ended up in injury territory with my IT band. With three races in the next five weeks I need to stay healthy. Even though I feel like I made the right decision, I am now filled with doubt for my upcoming races.
Tomorrow I'll have the chance to regain a bit of confidence. I am running the Growler Gallop 5k and Mr. Shoe is running the 10 mile. I've been reminding myself of my week 4 training. I only managed 4 miles of my 10 mile long run and the next day was a race. Even though my long run absolutely sucked, I ended up pulling together a much better race than anticipated. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow plays out in a similar manner.