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Tough 10-Miles and Self Doubt

Some of you may recall a brief mention of signing up for my first marathon in December - the 3 Bridges Marathon. Somehow, it seemed like a great idea at the time. Maybe it was the wine talking. And in the future Jason is never allowed to go grab my wallet for me when I'm hastily signing up for a race without fully thinking it through. New rule.


I haven't really talked much about my training or my training plan for that matter. Right now I'm not doing too much different than what I typically do with the exception of incorporating in dedicated speed work.

My weekly mileage has been hovering between 40-43 miles for quite some time. I try to always keep at least one 10-miler in my weekly running so that when I do sign up for a half (or a full), then ramping up the training isn't that big of a deal. It allows me to focus more on speed since I have the distance for the most part. In other words, 10 miles isn't normally that big of a deal for me.

So, my plan was to slowly start adding miles to my long run. It sounded like the perfect plan and was working just fine especially since we've had one of the mildest summers on record. Oh, that was until summer decided to finally show up mid-August.

With morning temps hovering at 75-80 degrees with humidity and dew points high enough to put a sauna to shame, that sort of throws a wrench into my well-laid plans. Humidity will completely zap you. Flat out, no joke, knock you on your a$$.

So my 14 miles hasn't happened yet. I hit 12 a couple of times on some random cooler Saturday mornings. But now? I can barely eke out 10 miles without crawling home. Because I will be traveling at the end of this week, I wanted to get my longer run done this morning. I thought I could do 11-12 miles. My body had other ideas about that grand plan.

The temperature was 77 degrees. I didn't even bother looking at the humidity or dew point because all you had to do was open the door to know that it was sauna-steamy out. Because I was solo, I had on a light tank, but it was all I could do to not rip that sucker off by mile 2 as it was soaked and clinging to me. I am very claustrophobic, so the tank sticking to me wasn't helping my mental state one bit.

I think what made today even worse was that there was zero breeze to help cool me down. Nothing. Not even when I made it down to the river and up on the bridge, where there's usually a wonderful breeze to enjoy. Nope. Not today. And my sunrise? Can I at least have that please?

By mile 8 I was starting to feel really off, like almost dizzy, really difficult time breathing. Which makes sense as I don't have gills. I stopped not once, but twice during those last two miles home and even contemplated calling Jason to come get my sorry butt at one point. But I'm stubborn. Really really stubborn. So I made it to the house, immediately changed into a swimsuit and jumped into the pool where I sat and sort of stewed for a few minutes.

I was annoyed with myself, with the weather, with how hard the run felt. My pace? Too fast - 8:26 average even with the struggles. It's like I just wanted to go faster and faster to get it done. I need to slow down for my longer runs and I can't figure out how to pace myself better. And that frustrates me.

Of course I started having some serious doubts about my ability to complete this full marathon. I was angry that I had signed up for it to be honest. The last few 10-milers have left me thinking that there's no way I will even be able to hit 16 miles let alone 26.2. I'm going to fail. And, I'm disappointed with myself for thinking this way. Instead of being a Negative Nelly about it, I'm going to recognize the reasons for the difficult run. I will just have to adjust my training plan in accordance to the weather.

I had hoped to very gradually ease into the high miles and allow for extra back off weeks just because I am injury prone. But right now, I also have to be realistic and flexible. I think ...

Have you had to completely re-adjust training plans? How do you get past a bad workout?

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