Last Friday I had a minor surgery. This surgery required IV sedation and a round of prophylactic antibiotics. I hate antibiotics - they absolutely deplete me. I had to take one week off of marathon training (I can be quite anal about my running schedule and the marathon is only 3 weeks away). The surgery, antibiotics and coupled with the fact that I have been putting in 10 to 12 hour workdays 5 days a week have worn me out. So yesterday morning at 6:00am I eagerly joined my running group for our last long run before the marathon. We were to run 26 miles. I was anxious to get back into the groove and on with life.
The morning started off a cold 32 degrees. It took forever for my legs to warm up. I knew I was in trouble when my fingers started swelling up like vienna sausages around mile 8. My legs felt tight and never loosened up. We had had flooding rains the last several days and the trails were flooded. We were constantly having to go around the flooded areas only to find ourselves ankle deep in mud. We finally gave up trying to avoid the water and just splashed right through the puddles and our soggy feet quickly started blistering. I mentally and physically fought the entire run.
I finally threw in the towel between mile 22 and mile 23. Something in me said I was starting to push my body too far. So I did something that I had always told myself that I would never do...I called my husband. He met me at the Kansas Expressway crossover bridge. I sadly waved goodbye to my running partners and climbed into the car. My husband, sensing my disapointment smiled and said, "I'm surprised you made it that far. You did the right thing." Then, trying to cheer me up he drove me to the book store and bought me a new book, and took me out to eat. He is so good to me.
That run made me feel like a failure. I absolutely hate not finishing something that I've started. My options were : #1. Push it now, possibly past my limit and take a chance on not being able to recover for my ultimate goal (Bass Pro Marathon) or #2. Stop now, let myself heal, rest and rejuvenate with the hopes of being strong for my marathon. I opted for #2.
Today, I am tired. My knees hurt. I am discouraged. I wanted my last long run before the marathon to be a strong one. It's more psychological than physical. That run would have given me the confidence of knowing that when I stand at 7:00am on November 1st in the midst of thousands of people, that I had just completed the run - no big deal, I could easily do it again.
Right now, I sit on the couch, nursing my wounded ego and sore knees. I know that because I am tired, discouragement can descend upon me and blanket my mind, distorting my thoughts. I have to keep in mind that setbacks are normal. More importantly, I have to keep in mind that setbacks are temporary. I've come to understand that the mental part of running, (as well as the thought process in life itself,) has more power than the physical part. To obtain my goals, in running or life, I must change my thoughts and predominant mindset. I cannot dwell on the negative things... I will focus on my goal in a positive way. I will allow myself to go through this process with the hopes of emerging on the other side stronger and ready for the marathon physically and mentally. I have done three marathons before. With proper preparation my next one will be the best one yet!