Bouncing Back from a Terrible Run

Yesterday I had one of the WORST long runs in a long time. One of those really tough, lonely demoralizing runs, which make you wonder what the heck you’re doing, and why.

Most of it is my own fault. I haven’t done the requisite training for my marathon. Not even close. So the base, or foundation wasn’t there. So what made me think that I could run a 32km long run? Stupidity? Stubbornness? A bit of both? Really this run was a test to see whether I had enough training in me to run the marathon. My friend Sharon, from our running group, had done her own test the week before, to see whether she had enough training to run the upcoming Toronto Marathon. In her case, she passed. It was a bit of a slog, but she finished the long run and did a bit more, for 36km.

The day was cold and grey. I got up fairly early so I could eat my breakfast and have some coffee beforehand. Need to fuel up! I was running with the marathon clinic at the Pickering Running Room, and made it there with time to spare. People there were surprised to see me, since I hadn’t been out for a few weeks, maybe even months. There I found out that we were doing the dreaded Whitevale route. I’d done this route before in past Running Room clinics, and I actually liked it back then. But that was when I’d had some kilometres under my belt.

The Whitevale route goes north from the Running Room to Whitevale Road, then west to the York Durham town line, down two 3rd Concession, and back to the Running Room. A big box. But, half of that box is very hilly country road, including a VERY STEEP portion through the town of Whitevale.

The run started off well enough, but by the time we got to Whitevale, I was feeling my lack of training. The legs were TIRED! The main group of runners started to pull away, and I was left behind. Of course, this does wonders for my mental stamina, and I got slower and slower. Around the 12km mark, just after the water stop, I started to feel hungry. Not just hungry, but STARVING, like I hadn’t ate anything for days. No idea why; I’d had my normal pre-long run breakfast, which usually is enough, but not today. I slogged over the rollers until about 20km, where I just had to take an extended walk break (I was trying to do 10 minutes walk 1 minute run).

Then, around the 24km mark, my legs started to cramp up, specifically my calves. It was so bad that I ended up only able to run for a minute or two and walk for twice that. And that’s what I did, for the rest of the route back. More walking than running. And feeling sorry for myself.

I finished the run in 3 hours 47 minutes and change. Everyone else was already done, and stretching; some had even left. I went with the remaining few folks to a neighbouring coffee shop for my required caffeine injection and to reflect on how bad the run was.

You can see the run statistics here

If this is a true indication of my fitness level, I’ll be dropping to the half marathon. There’s no way I can do that kind of a run, and STILL have 10km left to go. It would be painful and embarrassing.