I am exhausted. I am both physically and mentally spent. I suspect this might be right on schedule for this time of year. After enduring a very run heavy summer culminating in pushing thru October I am just drained. I do believe this happened to me last year. This is arriving right on schedule. This weekend a year ago I ran a Halloween half marathon. Then for the next couple weeks I barely ran and then went to Las Vegas in November and ran my final half of the year. After that, I was just pooped and basically quit running all together for months. This resulted in the idea that I didn’t think I wanted to run anymore. And it also resulted in January not being able to run 3 miles without major effort. I don’t want that to happen again. I can’t allow that to happen again. But right now I’m TIRED.
Last week I knew I was slipping. I knew things were falling apart. Physically I felt horrible. By Wednesday I was sick. I felt exhausted and drained and got hot and cold chills. I went home sick. In the 7 years I’ve worked at my current job I have only called in sick 1 time. Wednesday I went home sick so you must know that it was real. For the life of me I could not make myself do anything basically Tuesday thru Friday. I had mentally just checked the fuck out. I know that sounds harsh but it’s true. My physical tired/sore made my mental state horrific. I was all over the place. I had signed up for one last full marathon yesterday. It was in Tri-Citites Washington. It is about a 4-5 hour drive from our house. I honestly debated not even going. Chris didn’t really want to go honestly. But we decided that we should just power thru and do it.
I worked out last Monday night and went to the gym Tuesday but didn’t do much of anything. I did not work out Wednesday thru yesterday. I have never taken that long of a break. I was uncertain how that would affect my full marathon yesterday. Oh let’s not forget that I have been eating like shit too. This goes hand in hand with exhaustion and fatigue. Tired, beyond tired. I knew it was going to be rough. I knew running a full marathon with little training was a stupid idea. It pretty much was.
I have always said pretty instantly in a run I can tell how it’s going to go. I just have a feeling. I knew less than 2 miles into the run that it was going to be hard. That is was going to require everything I had just to finish. At mile 2 I had to use the bathroom. I knew this was a 26 mile run so if I already had to use the bathroom that I needed to just stop and take care of it. I ran off course to a bathroom in a park. It was locked. I was pissed. Not only did I run off course and screw my time and my distance but I didn’t get to pee. I kept running. It was getting worse. Finally at mile 4.5 exactly another bathroom presented itself, this time it was open. I went for it. This added minutes to my time as I dead stopped to take care of business. At this moment I didn’t even care about going fast. I knew it would be all about just surviving and the time was not going to be great. My legs didn’t have that extra spring in them. So I did my business and got back on course.
In case anyone is wondering, 26.2 miles is a LONG way. At around mile 8 I kind of wanted to be done. I wasn’t running particularly fast. I wasn’t trying but that’s also because I knew it was a long race and I had to preserve my energies. I am not joking for mile after mile I kept repeating in my head, this is brutal, this is all about finishing. Just finish today. I never found any sort of groove. Almost every step was a struggle but I did push on. When I finally cleared the half way mark I was in a park and kind of ending up taking a wrong turn, adding a little more distance yet again to my Garmin. Because 26.2 miles just isn’t far enough let’s keep adding on distance.
This was a small race. So there were points in time where I was pretty much alone on course and somehow I end up taking wrong turns. Lucky me. It wasn’t too bad. It was beautiful scenery mostly so it wasn’t a bad course. I just didn’t have my heart in it. Once I got to about mile 16 my body was TIRED. I knew I had 10 miles to go and then I knew that was another hour and 45 minutes of running and I wanted to cry. I didn’t want to go another step. This race was most difficult for me in the 16-19 mile range. Somewhere around mile 17 or 18, I honestly don’t even remember I came across Chris who was suffering the same fate as me. Ill-prepared, lack of good sleep, lack of training and being spent. I stopped and walked with him for a bit. My body was aching. Physically my legs and hips and feet were aching. And I had a long way to go. We walked about ¾ of a mile or so and then I decided that I needed to try and jog on. Because at mile 18, I still had 8 miles to go and as much as I might want to, I could not walk 8 miles. So I started running again. Slowly. About 11 minute mile pace.
Knowing I had 8 miles left was daunting. I had serious moments of not wanting to go another step. It was miserable honestly. That is what being ill prepared does to you. Somehow though once I hit about mile 20, at my current 11 minute mile pace things felt better. It was like once I was in the 20’s it was less daunting. Somehow being at mile 17 or 18 is hell, but once you are in the 20’s it feels much more bearable. I was pretty much alone on course, which was a weird experience. Just me and my headphones trying to make it thru the grueling final miles. Each mile passing was a blessing. I was still keeping a pretty consistent 11 minute mile pace and despite all the burning pain, I kept going. I kept telling myself to push on. Each step was one step closer to the important finish line.
I also knew at this point that I was over on distance and my time was all about just finishing. Gone were illusions of even touching my Portland Marathon time. But honestly those illusions were gone after 2 miles. I knew it was going to be a rough brutal kind of run. Honestly even a half would have been hard yesterday yet alone a full marathon. Somehow I dug deep and the last couple miles I managed thru. I honestly think I handled the last 6 miles better than I handled miles 14-20. Go figure. I crossed the finish line at 4:50:44 I also crossed the finish line with my Garmin reading 26.65 miles. Could be better, could be worse. Considering how out of sync I felt pretty much the entire run. The bathroom stops. The waking of mile 18, etc., 4:50 is acceptable.
This was a humbling experience. 26 plus miles is a LONG way. My legs ached. Badly. They still ache today. I learned that I can’t take anything for granted. You should never take running a marathon lightly. I was not prepared physically or mentally for it. I was exhausted before I started. I had been sick the week before and mentally I had checked out some time ago. Thus, just finishing is a victory. I pretty much ran everything other than that Mile 18. I will take it. I hurt pretty good towards the end and crossing the finish line was a huge relief. Despite everything being stacked against me, I finished.
And now today I am pooped. So beyond drained that I just want to close my eyes and sleep. After we finished the marathon I had to drive 4 ½ hours home too. We didn’t get home until fairly late last night and sleep is a precious commodity these days. I need more relaxation. I realize now my body definitely needs some time to recover. I have put it thru an epic amount of shit and it’s time to be more kind. In the last 5 weeks I ran 3 full marathons and the fastest half marathon I’ve ever ran. In exactly 5 weeks’ time I asked my body to perform a lot. And now its exhausted as a result. I do understand. I do get it. It’s tired. It needs a break. It’s not recovering well because I keep asking it to do crazy things.
This is going to be an ease back into it week. I say ease back into it because I need to also ease back into healthy eating. I seriously have been horrible for 5 solid weeks pretty much. This week is getting the food back under control and being kind to my body physically. This weekend I only have a fun 5k planned. I am sure I am just walking it with my family so it’s not even as if I will run it. In fact my next race isn’t until November 14 in Las Vegas so I do think I am going to allow my body some time to try and repair itself. I have truly asked it to do so much in such a short timeframe.
I am pretty sure most things I read online told me that running a marathon is had on your body and you need all this recovery time, etc. And somehow I thought it would be okay to run 3 marathons in 5 weeks. For the most part I did it. But yesterday I knew was rough. Yesterday I knew my body was at its limit. I’m overall grumpy and irritable and lack any motivation. It’s time to rest and recover and give myself a break.
A month and a half ago I hadn’t run a marathon now I have done 3. That’s kind of a lot really. I will try and not take for granted again how difficult 26 miles is on your body. It’s hard. Plus honestly for the past couple weeks I truly have been so mentally off and I am thinking it’s a lot to do with pure exhaustion. So I do think I am NOT going to the gym tonight. I am going to let my body rest one more day post running my 3rd marathon. Instead today I am just going to try and not binge on food. That’s really the plan for today. One day at a time.
There’s a saying that’s something like, you’ll never know your limits unless you push yourself to them. I discovered my limit this weekend. I pushed and pushed and pushed until I hit the limit. That’s it. I’m calling it. No more full marathons for a while. Next spring. Oh, I will run another one, don’t get me wrong. I will probably run a few more for sure next year. But not for a while, and not without training for them.
My legs hurt. Just a dull tired ache. And mostly I just need to sleep. For like a week straight right? Ah ha. I honestly never claimed to be the most rational or sane person around. 3 marathons, 1 half, 5 weeks. Sure.