Two weeks ago I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. I set that goal 22 years ago, and struggled through various obstacles over the last rhree yeats to cross that finisy line.
It was a huge success, and an achievement I am very, very proud of. The thing is, I think it broke me.
I have read countless descriptions of “the wall.” The feeling of the pain, the agony and the fear of failure. The way that an idea penetrates your mind, the idea that despite the training, the dreaming and the work – you really can’t finish it. No matter how many times I read variations of the mental “thud” of the wall – I was not ready. I can still feel the pain and fear in mile 23 and 24.
I finished the race, and struggled through.. The thing is, I don’t feel that I broke through the wall. I feel like it beat me. I feel like I walked. I feel that pain that kept me from being able to run. I honestly do not recall any point in life where I felt that level of pain.
For the last two weeks I have thought about running. I have missed running. I have NOT run, because I knew I had to heal after torturing my muscles through a two-mile walk, preceded by 23 miles of running and followed by 1.2 miles of.. stumbling in a haze of pain and exhaustion.
On the Weds. after the Marathon, I knew I could go for a 30 minute run. Thanks to a wonderful article I found online – I knew that every 3 days, I could run for 30 easy minutes. It’s amazing how easy it was to find excuses to not run, all the while I was missing the running feeling. In my head I couldn’t move past that memory, if it makes any sense.
Today – I finally got my butt out there, and tried to tackle that, while heading out there to embrace that running feeling.
I hated it.. and loved it. It felt exhilarating.. and terrifying.
The funny thing, is I didn’t realize any of this until I had hit the first mile marker. It felt so good to have the road beneath my feet, to feel the (cold) wind. My legs were questioning hwy I was out there of course, but that is to be expected after 2 weeks of no running. My mind started thinking (isn’t that why we run?) and wondering why I hadn’t run, and in a moment of clarity I understood. Unfortunately that dawning of understanding did not resolve everything for me. My run became moments of enjoyment (when my mind wasn’t going) and wallowing in that fear.
I will work through this, have no doubt. I could feel that enjoyment wanting to come back out..
But I think my marathon broke me.
I have some good news for you: I doubt it broke you. Or it shouldn’t. There’s probably a simple explanation for your anguish: you probably overran in the excitement of the first few miles. I did the same thing in the last marathon I ran (I’ve only ran two), and miles 21-24 were so terrible…so terrible……
Anyway, keep in mind about walking, there’s a difference between walking and what I call strategic walking. Any of the pros running a 100-mile race are going to be “walking” at some point…so why shouldn’t you! 😉 Wink: doesn’t it feel better to know that you were using a strategy the whole time? Brain feel better, now?? 😉
LOL… I definitely started out to fast. I looked at my splits and I was totally caught up in it. I just need a week or two of running under my belt again, and I will be good to go!
And I am thinking I might use a different strategy next time…:)
Well done, the thing is you finished and that is a wonderful achievement not most people can say they did. So get back into it slowly and set your sights on another race and soon the motivation will be back there xx
Just yesterday I was talking to a friend who has recently caught the running bug. Now he’s starting to catch the biking bug as well and is seriously considering starting to train for a triathlon.
He made a comment about how he always had the perception that people who run marathons, ultras and/or triathlons are somehow, ‘super-human’. Now that he’s been running for a little while, he’s starting to feel like they really aren’t super-human at all and that even HE might be able to do it. I told him that he was wrong. People who run marathons, ultra and/or triathlons ARE indeed super-human. The only thing he had wrong in his thought process was that he didn’t realize that HE is super-human too!
You set out to conquer a marathon. Not just any marathon, but the Marine Corps Marathon. You accomplished that goal triumphantly. Don’t think for one second that your time wasn’t what you had hoped, or the fact that you may have walked a little ways takes away from your super-human…ous…ness.
Ask yourself, who wanted it more? The guy who trains hard every single day and has the natural gift of speed that is able to run it in 2:20:00? Or the guy who may not have quite as much natural ability, but who has trained hard whenever his busy life gives him the opportunity, who has occasionally passed on the cheesecake and opted for a salad, who still balances all of the other things in his life, and despite not having that natural ability, vows to himself that he will finish and does so in 7:00:00? I think they are more alike than different. They’re both super-human heroes in my book!