Friday, August 20, 2010

Friends and running buddies are lifesavers...

...seriously.  These long runs are getting harder because I'm getting more bored with running, since I've been doing runs 5 days a week and more miles.  Which means more time on the same trail where I always run.  I'm finding that the biggest thing I have to fight with running is NOT physical:  it's boredom.  As soon as I'm mentally out of the game, every little thing on me starts to ache and feel tight and I just want to walk and feel sorry for myself.  And I start getting distracted by the things I should be doing and the work I'm behind on (*cough*dissertation, and dishes, laundry, other things).  Don't get me wrong, running is usually fun enough and it's still something I look forward to...but there's definitely a mental component to this marathon training stuff. (Totally stating the obvious there eh?? hehe)

I'm a little scared to move my long run to a new spot, because so far it's been helping me mentally to know how much further I have to go, etc, and because on Saturday mornings a Marathon In Training group has a ton of enormous water jugs out along my course (I try not to steal their water because I know they paid a membership fee or whatever to train with that group and have that convenience, but last weekend I ran out of water in this heat and it kind of saved my life... I was able to refill a bottle.  So now I'm paranoid about running out of water, and it's giving me a little peace of mind that if I mismanage my water bottle refills I won't shrivel into a raisin 6 miles from my apartment.  Trying to plan better this week though).  I should probably mix it up a little and start doing my mid-week runs around other places in the neighborhood just to keep things fresh.

Anyway, Sam (my good friend and eternal running buddy) has been really helping me to drag my ass through burnout and to get through these longer runs as my level of fear increases.  Seriously, tonight all I can think of is, "Omg, I'm not going to be able to do this marathon.  Tomorrow I'm doing 15, and that's barely even HALF of how far I'll have to run!" etc.  I'm scared I won't even be able to do 15, even though it's only 2 miles more than what I did last Saturday.  This is the longest run I've ever done.  But for the last 2 weeks he's done the second half of my long run with me.  So I go out and back to do 6 or 7 miles, then meet him and we do the last 6-8.

And even when Sam's there sometimes I want to start doing my pathetic whiny omg-i-dont-want-to-run-now-i-cant-do-this-i'll-never-finish-a-marathon routine.  I told him last week we need to talk or do something to keep my mind doing something besides focusing on my sore toe or whatever else ails.  And last week we played "Would You Rather," where we took turns thinking of two horrible or disgusting or otherwise tough scenarios and then choosing which we'd rather do.  And, THE MILES FLEW BY.  It seriously made like 5 miles pass and then the last 2 were no biggie.  I wish I could think of examples because we had some hilarious ones, but it was all a blur :o)

For tomorrow I printed one page front and back from this Book of Questions book and I'm going to put it in my running belt.  So we'll be the dorks on the trail passing a tattered folded paper scrap back and forth reading a question every now and then.  One could argue that I should be doing my long runs faster and harder if I'm able to pass a paper back and forth and read a line from it, but I'm still sticking with my heart rate zone training for the most part, and we aim to do the long runs at an easy conversational pace.  I want the long runs to be as fun as possible so I don't start dreading them and dreading running...and I push the pace more on my Monday and Wednesday runs.

If the paper-passing fails or is too awkward, though, just for funsies, I asked some other runners what games they do to pass the time, and someone else suggested a game she called "Fuck, Marry, Kill," where one of you names 3 related people (3 politicians or 3 characters from a tv show or 3 lead singers etc) and the other has to name which of those people you would fuck, marry, or kill (one person per item).  Yay amusing backup plan.

All of this entertainment on training runs begs the question WHAT THE HECK AM I GOING TO DO AT THE MARATHON WHEN OMG I HAVE NO FRIENDS RUNNING IT WITH ME... and yes, that is a very good question.  I'm hoping I'll have someone along for the first 13 miles at least, because I know some others from my training group who run my pace are doing the half.  But the second half of the run will be harder.  I'm hoping I can station Sam (after he's done with the half) and at least one other person around what I expect will be the worst miles, so I have people to look forward to seeing.  But we will see.  If nothing else, the race itself will be a true test of my mental stamina as well as physical, which I sort of expected but sort of didn't.

If I have support from my friends to help make this mentally easier, it still counts as running a marathon right?  Maybe I should be toughing this out alone so I've really earned it?  Haha.  Seriously though, I've thought of that.

Anyway, what do you all do to stay entertained on long runs or to avoid getting into a boring training rut?


  1. This is probably something you've tried or thought of, but when I get sick of music while running, I put on a podcast. I like This American Life because the stories are often funny, but there are plenty of podcasts around if that doesn't float your boat. I briefly thought that books on CD would be good - I could load them to my iPod and have 13 or so hours of stuff to listen to. But I quickly realized that the shorter stories kept my energy up better. The books seemed to drag on and made me want to avoid running.

    I'm so impressed by your training for the marathon! I'm like the slowest C25K'er ever - I'd like to eventually run marathon, but at the rate I'm going I'll be well into my seventies before it happens. Ben and I took a break for a few weeks because of his surgery, but he's able to walk at a brisk pace now without any pain at his incisions, so we'll start back next week with me running and him walking.

  2. Hi,

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