Monday, April 25, 2011

10 Mile Report

I made sure not to write anything when I first got home.  Because it would have been a really whiney and complain-y post with a lot of venting.

It stunk.

The weather was great.  The sun came out, the temp was fine.  It was a little muggy but there was enough of a breeze that it was tolerable. 

The crowd was fine, the set up for the race was fine. 

I was not fine.

I know a long list of things I haven't done right to prepare lately.  And maybe that's the good thing to come out of this 10 mile event- I know how important it is to stick with my training for the next 2 weeks.  I haven't been eating right.  I haven't been getting my regular scheduled runs in during the week.  I ran the 15K, I ran less than 3 miles the following Weds, I ran a 5K this past Saturday, I got 1 mile in on the treadmill on Thursday.  Not nearly enough mileage. 

I couldn't even run a 4 minute interval today.  I was exhausted within minutes of starting. 

I was done by mile 6 and spent the next 4 miles entertaining thoughts of flagging down a race volunteer and quitting.  I was tired, I could feel a huge blister on the bottom of my left foot, my left ankle was hurting because my form was bad because I was trying to adjust for the blister, my hips hurt, and I had no energy.  None. 

But if I quit, Christy would quit.  I felt bad enough that she was walking every time I walked.  Which was almost the entire last 4 miles.  I tried over and over to dig deep and walk fast, maybe jog a little.  I encouraged her several times to go ahead and run without me.  I knew she could do better if she'd just leave me.  But she stayed with me until the last .25 of a mile when I practically forced her to run ahead.

It was... grueling.  And it was primarily mental.  My energy had crashed and I didn't have the mental power to pull myself through.  All systems wanted to shut down.

And when I got within that final .10 of a mile, maybe less, I dug deep and found the last few steps of run I had left.  I felt like a failure.  When Christy took off, I cried.  Not because she left me.  But because I'd been holding in those tears of frustration for over an hour.  Because when I was alone, I could let myself really feel that fail.  My frustration was overwhelming.  I had done the 15K and it had been hard but I hadn't felt like my body was failing me.  I wanted to dig deep and push through and find my rhythm and all that jazz.  But I couldn't.

I held it together again until I'd dropped Christy off and I called my husband to tell him how I felt like a failure.  And I choked up while we talked.  And I cried while I soaked in Epsom salt in the bathtub while Jeff took the kids out to lunch.  I had a nice pity party and then had to face the music.

One thing that I've really loved about this running journey is the connections I've made to others.  I've been able to support others and also received fantastic advice and support and encouragement along the way.  I think, in some way, I felt like I'd let all those people down because I just couldn't run.

I posted my failure on DailyMile and on Facebook.

I call it a fail. Yes, I finished. No, I wasn't dead last. But I am remarkably frustrated and my performance was abysmal and I'm sore and blistered and doubting my body.

There's no emoticon for feeling like an awful failure. Hm. I finished. I walked most of it. I'm sore and blistered. I'm mad that my performance stank. I'm mad that work has overwhelmed my schedule so I haven't been running like I should. "I finished" is the only accomplishment.

The best part of having a solid group of people who support your efforts is that they are there for the hard lessons and failures, too.  I got awesome responses.

From Emily: The only fail would be not to try or to give up. Even if you walk the entire mini and are sore and blistered after- you will be able to say you COMPLETED a HALF MARATHON. Do not sell short what you have accomplished. To some- just having the guts to get out there and start the race makes you a hero in their eyes. You INSPIRE people. Doesn't have to be fast, doesn't have to be pretty. To take from modern vernacular "It do what it do, baby" :)

From Ashli: You did not fail. Sure, maybe you didn't meet your expectations, but fail, no way. You are strong and had the courage to get out there and just do it. Maybe you aren't a runner for life most of us aren't, but this season, this moment, you are out there trying to find your groove. Hang in there and I am praying for peace and understanding for my dear friend :)

From Jill: You finished! I say you won. Good for you :)

From Elizabeth: It's not how you finish that's important and measures your success. It's the fact that you did the race and completed it... soreness, blisters and all :)

From Beth: Liz, I'm so sorry. Any run like that is frustrating, and a race is even more frustrating. I will point out that "I finished" is still a BIG accomplishment.... 10 miles is really far, whether you walk or run it. But I know it's frustrating. I think you rock, and you're doing the best you can with your current schedule & responsibilities!

From Renee: A year or two ago, there is no way you would have even thought about doing something like this. Today, you completed a major accomplishment. Be proud of how far you've come, I know I am.

And there were many, many more.

The first bit of encouragement that started to lift my spirits came from my husband. I was whining, choked with tears of frustration, that I'd gotten to mile 6 and wanted to quit and had to fight that desire for the remaining 4 miles and that I'd never felt that way before- I've never had to fight to keep myself from quitting.

"But you fought it. It was hard but you fought it. I say... you won the battle."

You can see why I married him.

As I write this, my hips are sore.  The worst is the blisters.  I have a large blister under a thick callous on the ball of my left foot under my big toe and a less drastic but still painful calloused blister deep in my right heel. 

But I've learned an important lesson.  I know that I need a strategy for the next 2 weeks.  If work continues to interfere with my lunchtime workouts/runs, I'm going to have to plan to walk more than I run and that means wearing my walking shoes rather than my running shoes.  I have to commit to healthier fueling and hydrating. 

I learned a lot about my horrible 10 mile event.  But I'm slowly licking my wounds and ending my pity party.  I'm ready to put it behind me and get down to the business of running so that my first ever half marathon will have me elated at the finish line. 

I know that I can cross that finish line and feel good about my performance.  I don't have to be fastest, I don't have to place at a certain point, I don't have to beat my previous times. 

I just want to know I did the best I could. 



Mrs4444 said...

I'm not sure why we are harder on ourselves than we would be on almost anyone else, but it's natural, I guess. When I picture you talking to your kids or your husband or me or anyone after we did something like this, I picture you saying all the right things (and meaning them). Still, I get it. Better luck next time :)

Garret said...

Sorry Liz ;-(

Call Me Cate said...

I'm not sure I have anything to add that hasn't already been said or that you don't already know. You've learned some really important lessons. About fueling. About preparation. About continued conditioning. All of the things that I only know from watching my husband run because I'm certainly not out there even walking ten miles.

You did good, Liz. Maybe you didn't meet your expectations. Maybe you were frustrated. But you kept going, you assessed where it went wrong, and you'll be better for it going forward.

Keep going, Liz. The only failure is to stop. You can do this!

Alison said...

Those aren't blisters. They're war wounds. Every twinge should remind you that you were out there fighting--fighting obesity, fighting heart disease, fighting cancer--while many of us were not. Failing a battle does not mean losing the war! Did you ever consider saying, "Oh, I already know I can't do that next run"? No, you said, "I know I need to prepare better for the next run."

The fact that there is a next run tells me you haven't lost the war at all. :)

kbiermom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kbiermom said...

As you said, you learned a lot on this run. I'm sorry the lessons came so brutally that day for you!

You learned that you can and will persevere, even when you are in pain and your energy level is maddeningly not there.

Your plan going forward sounds good. With the change of shoes and the plan to walk more, that should help with the blisters... sounds like the blisters really led to most of your other problems that day, even tapping your energy level that was already low from work stress and koss of training time . I hope you can work out a blister-free strategy for future runs in your running shoes.

Karen M. Peterson said...

I think it's a good thing you didn't write this post immediately after getting home from the race. You had some time to process it first and relax a bit. I know you were frustrated and disappointed, but you know where your mistakes were and how to avoid them. You are gonna rock that half!