Not the running. Fooled you, didn’t I?
No, so far, the running has actually been the easiest part. Sure, I’m not into crazy long distances yet (max of 12 miles), and I’m sure at some point soon — like, probably this week — the running will become very difficult.
Not the fundraising. Fooled you again, huh?
I’ve been incredibly fortunate, and with 2 months AND my big fundraising party still ahead of me, I’m more than halfway to my goal of $8,000. The generosity and support shown by friends, family, friends of family, and people I’ve never met has been incredible. I have every confidence in the world that I will hit, and perhaps exceed, that goal. You can buy tickets to the party here!
TRAINING FOR A MARATHON IS (PARDON MY LANGUAGE) A COMPLETE AND TOTAL MINDFUCK.
I knew marathon training was going to be hard. I was expecting my body to be tired and sore. I was expecting to have to stay home on Friday nights so I would be fresh and energetic for my Saturday long runs. I was expecting to spend money on cold weather running gear and new sneakers. There are a lot of things I was expecting would happen over the almost 4 month training cycle, but there are even more things that I wasn’t expecting.
I wasn’t expecting to be hungry all the damn time. Before training started, I was already active and exercising in some way 6 days/week, sometimes 7. I figured exchanging a spin class for a running day, or a boot camp workout for a run wouldn’t affect me that much. WRONG. Running is so different, and more taxing on your body. Running 3 days week instead of my usual 1 (MAAAAYBE) 2 has had a significant impact on how my body functions.
I wasn’t expecting to struggle so much mentally with the fact that I’m hungry all the damn time. If you’re reading this you probably know that I’ve lost about 40 lbs over the past few years. I’ve done it through a combination of counting calories on MyFitnessPal, being active, and just trying to make smarter choices. I would still love to lose another 10 – 20 lbs, but overall, I’ve been happy with myself and where I am physically. The constant hunger, and not always making smart choices to satisfy that hunger, has put me in a tough place with how I feel about myself and my body. If you’ve ever struggled with weight and self-esteem issues, you know that it can be a vicious cycle. You rationalize why it’s ok to have something that you know may not be the best choice (“I’m training for a freaking marathon! Beast mode! Feed me pizza!”), then you feel guilty about what you ate (“was that last slice REALLY necessary?”), and then you’re upset about that so you eat more crap which just makes you feel worse. I’ve been in a really, really, REALLY rough cycle of that since Christmas, but I finally feel like I’m getting control over it again. Constantly beating yourself up, and being truly afraid of regaining weight, is mentally exhausting.
Even though I’m training for a marathon, life still happens. This means that, in shocking news, the world does not revolve around me and my schedule (insert shocked face). There are Bruins games that happen on nights before I have to be up early to run, and on afternoons that I’m scheduled to run 18 miles. There are events I’m invited to, concerts I want to attend, group runs/yoga classes with friends that may not fit in with my training schedule, girls nights to fit in, book club gatherings to schedule, old friends to see, family to visit, grocery shopping to get done. Oh…and a full-time job that I’m accountable to. I feel like I’m constantly making choices. Every time I say no to something, or have to bail on an event I said ‘yes’ to, I feel guilty. I feel like I’m letting someone down. As a people-pleaser and someone that deals with anxiety, this has been an unexpected and extremely difficult part of training for me. This is a 100% internal issue; everyone in my life has been nothing less than supportive of me and my goals as I take on this challenge, but that doesn’t make it any easier. There have been a few things that I haven’t said no to, that I probably should have. I had fun, sure, but I paid for in terms of being able to perform my best. Similar to the fear of regaining weight being mentally exhausting, feeling like you are constantly making choices (and choosing yourself over others), is also mentally taxing.
I’m tired. Like, really tired. I’ve always been someone that likes to sleep and have lazy couch time, but my body is craving rest in a way that it hasn’t before. I was supposed to get up and run 3 miles before work this morning, and I just couldn’t do it. I needed the sleep more. Because of my schedule for today, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get those 3 miles in at another point. Even though I know rest is an important component of training, and yesterday’s rest day was spent at a pretty difficult yoga class, I’ll spend today feeling guilty about skipping my run. Will missing a 3-mile recovery run make or break my training? Probably not, but it will follow me around. All. Freaking. Day. Long.
I’m sore in ways I wasn’t expecting. Sore legs. Quads and hammys for days. Sore feet, sore ankles. Feeling stiff after long runs. All areas I expected to experience some discomfort, and areas that I’ve had discomfort before from running. I had no idea how much you used your back and shoulders in running, especially on hills. Saturday night, after my 12-miler, I was tossing and turning for hours because my back was sore and I couldn’t get comfortable. I need to work on strengthening those areas to be able to perform at my best, but guess what? Something else to find the time to do. I spent my Saturday night before bedtime laying on top of my comforter with diaper rash cream slathered all over my chafed legs. I mean…really?
I knew marathon training was going to be hard. I signed up for that when I embarked on this challenge. I wasn’t expecting it to be hard in the ways that it has been, and I wasn’t expecting to feel so torn and guilty all the time. Despite all of the above, I’m freaking ecstatic that I’m doing this. The training is bringing me to places that, physically, I never thought I’d get to. But mentally and emotionally? Even though it’s hard, I’m going to come out of this a better, stronger, and more confident person. Marathon training is teaching me that sometimes I have to say no, and sometimes I have to put myself first. Running the Boston Marathon is going to be an incredibly emotional experience for a lot of reasons…I can honestly say when it’s all said and done, I will be a different person — even if just more a self-aware person — than I was when I started this process.
It’s been a while since I posted, and I’m hoping to get back into writing more regularly. I have lots of training updates to share! But, you know what? If I don’t, that’s ok, too.
Have you experienced similar issues while training? How did you deal with it? Leave your thoughts in the comments!