Marathon training update: Can I even do this?

This never stops being true

I would love to be positive and optimistic about marathon training. However, after this weekend’s attempt at a long run, I’m starting to worry.

This past weekend I had 12 miles planned. Which I completed, but everything that could go wrong went wrong.

First, I started my run way too late in the morning, around 9:40. Since I get up pretty early on the week days, I take a long time to wake up and get moving on the weekends. Additionally, I woke up ravenous this past Saturday, which rarely happens. So before I ran, I got some breakfast at Chick-fil-A.

The first few half was great. I ran in Grandview Heights past the youth triathlon to Upper Arlington, which was the first six miles. Mile 7 took me down Kinnear Road towards Ohio State. This is where my run went completely to hell.

Half of the Olentangy trail was closed down, so I basically had to run around in circles at OSU to get to Neil Avenue. It was noon at this point and my body had enough. My water bottles on my fuel belt weren’t cooling me down at all. I had to pause my run at the Hangover Easy, a diner that serves breakfast with liquor, and got two glasses of water to try and cool down.

You know you look bad when the waitress – who appeared to be a solid seven to ten years younger than me – brought me my water and double-checked that “you sure you don’t want some food, honey?”

I’m at the age where both older and younger women are “honey”-ing me.

The last thing I wanted to attempt was running with food in my stomach, so I declined and ran-walked-shuffled down Neil Avenue towards to Arena District. I thought there were sidewalks I could take from there back to Grandview Heights, since I didn’t want to run on the bike trail by myself.

I misjudged that one entirely. And should have taken the trail. The sidewalk I was running down came to a dead end in a construction site, so I wound up turning around and going back the way I came, with a second water stop at North Market.

I turned my Strava off after 12 miles were up and walked the rest of the way back to my car, disappointed and unhappy with myself.

Then I discovered the parking garage had a three-hour limit on the weekend. My car was still there, with my first-ever parking ticket on it.

My folks and grandparents got a chuckle out of that when I called and shared the news with them about the ticket. I can at least smile about that part of my crappy run.

Which brings me to right now. I was supposed to run this morning, but woke up exhausted and wound up staying in to cuddle with Marina, so I’ll run after dinner tonight.

Sunday is the Columbus 10k, which is usually the race I try to PR at. I’m not going to focus on the PR this time, since I haven’t trained hard in a long time and there’s no way I can break an hour. With the 10k I’ll be thrilled to run a pace of 10:30, which isn’t PR time but is an improvement on what I’ve been doing during my training runs.

Then next month is the Columbus Marathon. I don’t want a repeat of the first time I ran the full marathon in 2017, but based off how my body has been giving up on me after eight to 10 miles, I’m getting scared I don’t have what it takes. I know I’ll finish, but I’d rather it not be completely demoralizing as I’m doing so.

Focusing on the past at the expense of the present is never a productive thing to do, and we all have heard the comparison is the thief of joy line. I can’t help comparing myself training now to how I trained in 2019 leading up to my fall races. Granted, I hadn’t come out of a year and a half of the world being jacked up, unemployment and a break up from a relationship that – in hindsight – had some deep, growing problems within it. But I can’t help feeling like I should have maintained my fitness regardless. Most of the runners I know stayed with it, even when all their races were cancelled. I just … stopped entirely.

I know we’re all supposed to show ourselves grace, but the soul of who I am is a come-back-swinging broad. So that’s what I’m going to do. Even if my marathons are horrible, I’m still swinging. The fat lady isn’t singing yet.

So with all that said, I hope you all enjoy yourselves and show today who’s boss.

Yours in writing and running,


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