Marathon anxieties

by - Friday, October 24, 2008

I've been putting off this post for a few days now because I know it's going to be a bit rambly and long. It's also a big look into my mindset and I was a little nervous about sharing that with the world. (Don't say I didn't warn you)

After my awesome 5K last weekend, I got all excited to register for races again. So I started looking for anything of any distance.

I put together this list:

GW Equal Justice Foundation's 5K Race for Justice (Nov. 9) -- My friend's a GW Law student and wants me to do this one. Plus I could potentially use it as my smooth time for the challenge.
Celtic Solstice Five Miler (Dec. 20) -- This comes highly recommended from a girl I work with and apparently the race jacket is sweet.
National Marathon (Mar. 21) -- We'll discuss this in more detail below.
Frederick Half Marathon -- (May 3) I want to do the Maryland Double (The Frederick Running Festival and the Baltimore Running Festival)
ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon (May 31) -- Annapolis is a beautiful city, I think it'd be sweet to run a race there.
Baltimore 10-Miler (Mid-June) I DNS'd this last year because I hurt my knee and I'd like to go after it again.

I love my entire potential schedule (I don't however love the dent it will leave in my wallet, but whatever, I'll deal.)

Except thoughts of the marathon are almost making me sick to my stomach. I have five million questions running through my head about it.

Here's what's going on inside my brain:

I want to do another full.
But do I want to dedicate all the time to training?
Do I have a reason not to dedicate the time?
Football season and tailgates will be over and won't get in the way of Saturday long runs. Therefore I have no real excuse not to run.
Running in the winter sucks because days are shorter and forces many runs to be done on a treadmill.
It sucks running in the cold, but it also sucks running in the middle of summer heat.
Do I want to commit to it?
If I don't will I feel like a slacker for doing the half when a bunch of other people are doing the full?

Training for marathons makes me really selfish.
I have to block out large chunks of time to do training runs.
It puts a strain on all my friendships and other relationships.
Do I want to do that?

I'm also worried about my travel schedule.
My friends want me to visit on the weekends and I love doing it.
Will they love it when I have to get up and run and someone has to give me a key or wait for me to get back to their places before they can start their days?
Will I or my friends by happy with the alternative of me not going to visit?

But really why am I so worried?
My friends were nothing but supportive last time.
They made me signs and cheered for me.
My roommate bragged about me to all her friends.
They thought it was so cool I was running a marathon.

But for some reason this one feels different and I don't know why. But it's got me worried. I want to do 26.2 again. I read somewhere once that your brain had to forget the pain of last marathon before the body let you train for another. I think I'm there. I think I'm ready.

My times have been improving, my running in general has been improving. I've come a really long way in 2.5 years of running and I know I can improve my marathon times if I were to tackle another one.

So why the hell do I have all these reservations? What is holding me back from being as spontaneous as I was sophomore year of college. When I signed up for that marathon, I sat down at my computer, pulled out my credit card, punched in the number and hit submit. At the point it was done and I was in training. Why can't I do that now.

I've studied the race course, I've read everything on the Web site numerous times. I've sat on the registration page and then hit the X.

Sometimes I wish I could be more like Frayed Laces. Seriously that girl is like my running hero. Somehow she manages to be a 20-something running superstar and balance her social life and her PhD program and her training. The girl is dedicated and motivated, and isn't afraid to put her running above other stuff. I used to be like that when I was marathon training, but somewhere along the line I think it started to fade. I'm not sure where or why or how, all I know is I need to get it back if I want to do this marathon. (P.S. Frayed if you can bottle that up and send it my way that'd be awesome LOL!)

I guess that's my rant. Apologies for the length and thanks bunches if you stuck through it to the end.

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  1. It's all good girl. We know the challenges of fitting in things that take A LONG TIME into a busy schedule. I loved both the training plans I used for my marathons. Once you got above, say, 10 miles, they began alternating weekends with a long long run and a short long run. Then, you only ran twice during the week for thirty minutes. Entirely manageable.

    This IS all about you though. Do what makes you happy and keeps you sane :-)

  2. You probably have time to decide. The National Marathon isn't big so probably won't fill fast, and if it isn't until March, you have another month that you could continue to weigh the pros and cons before beginning training. And I agree with Wes, get your mileage up some and then see how you feel.

  3. I think the balance of training is easier to manage the first time because it is new and full of the unknown. You're facing this idea of a second one with experience and a whole new combination of life goals/experiences/situations. When I ran my marathon I was newly married, teaching, and finishing my Master's. It was crazy, but I did it. I've been contemplating a half or a full, but now I have a whole new set of variables to throw in the mix - two young children and a writing career! The balance is always changing and so the decisions we make (and how we make them) change along with the shift in balance. You'll find what works for you, it just make take a bit more mulling, figuring and hair-pulling before you discover your new balance and decide on the goals that best suit who you are NOW. Good luck! And know that whatever distance you choose, the goal will be a good one because it will fit your needs and should make you happy. :)

  4. I don't think you need to make the decision TODAY. But you're gonna need to really want to do it so that you can make the training fit in your schedule and ENJOY it.

  5. I agree with Lisa. You don't need to make a decision TODAY, so just chillax for a bit and let the idea sit for a bit, girlfriend!

  6. so you in for gw?! i really wanna do it but not alone :)

  7. Well, it's 90% mental and the rest is in your head. I'm sure when you get back into a structured training plan the mental stuff will fall right back into place.

    And i'm right there with you and Frayed Laces. I'm totally east coast stalking that girl. She keeps me moving when nothing else will.

    Now go sign up for that full marathon! I tend to fall out of habit with things after about 3 years, so don't be like me. Stay healthy and sign up!

  8. all your points are definitely valid... i think also the first time has all this other excitement around it since it is the first time. the second time around you know what it takes, and for me i want to be better and train harder so its definitely not as easy. i think its good to consider everything you are and decide if its something you really want to do then. good luck deciding!!!

  9. i say "sit" on it too... keep increasing your weekly mileage and register for those shorter distance races and by then marathon training may not sound so scary.. (just my immediate thoughts after reading your post)

  10. It is a lot to think about. I have similar thoughts as I plan out my schedule for next year. I agree with what the rest said. Don't decide today and see where your gut takes you. :>)

  11. I've been stressing myself out with running a marathon again. But relax - you have time to figure it out. If they are good friends they will completely understand and support your decision (and training!) Do some research and find a manageable training program then talk to some friends for their feedback. Ultimately it is about you and what will make you happy!

  12. It looks like it is a few things to think about, but as I am reading your post I kept getting this feeling like you WANT to do it again.