Did Not Finish. These three words have started to form in my head over the past two weeks.

Last weekend, while running in Philly in 95-degree heat, I had to start walking half way through my run. I had used all my energy trying to get through the hot parts of the city, so I couldn't make it through the shady park areas I has left for the end. Instead of a 15-mile run, it turned out to be an 11-mile run and a 4-mile walk. The heat competely got to me...and there are NO water fountains in Philly (I ran past a total of three). On top of that I had forgotten to charge my iPod the night before, so I only had 40 minutes of battery to use--which I saved for the end...maybe not the smartest move.

Yesterday, I ran 16 miles back here in New York. It was much better than the run in Philly. The weather yesterday was beautiful: cool and breezy, more like an early autumn day than the balmy mid-summer days we've been having.

I was going great through Central Park, then Morningside Park, and even through the hills of Riverside Drive--I was cruising. It didn't get hard until I hit the West Side Highway. I hate running along that path. It is the worst 4-mile stretch of Manhattan possible: it's long and straight, and there is absolutely no coverage from the sun. And by this point, the sun was high in sky, and the temps were probably in the 80s. I made it through all four miles running, but I was in bad shape by the end of it.

I only had four miles left, but in my mental map I might as well have been running to Canada. So I started walking for 1-minute and running for four. It was the one of the old tricks I used to use on myself in order to build up mileage back when I first started running. Back then, 5-miles was a long run, so I hadn't successfully used this technique in years. But it worked. It worked pretty well. I finished only about eight minutes over my target time.

But back to the DNF. So in the past two weeks I've had one bad long run, one kinda successfully long run, and the runs in-between those have been just OK. So my main thoughts now are:
  1. Marathon training indeed is a different beast than half-marathon training (yes, I knew this going in, but now I really know it since I'm in the thick of it)
  2. My training schedule may be too hard for a first time marathoner
  3. What are the 1,000 ways DNF can appear next to my name in Baltimore?

The last thought is scaring the bejesus out of me and, right now, I feel powerless to do anything about it. This is new territory for me. I wasn't even this scared for my first Half-Marathon. And the worst part is that the fear is completely unfounded. Yesterday I did 16 miles in 2:27. If I did that on race day and walked/jogged the rest of the way, I would still finish it in about 5 hours. Which isn't too bad for a first timer.

Ugh. I don't like this part one bit.


Amy said...

My motto is that the good runs motivate you and the not so good runs make you a smarter runner. Take the experience and forget the lesson. Seems from your post you are a great runner and will finish with no problems.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

sRod - Looks to me like you are doing really well too. If you look around, lots of people are having yucky runs right now. Might be the part of the training where it ramps up a bit, might be the heat, etc. I always think that every not so good run that you prevail through, no matter how you get through it, makes you stronger in some way.

I like Amy's idea too that you learn from it. Try not to get too down and TRUST your plan. I am using Nonrunner's Marathon Trainer and there is as much psychological stuff as there is physical. You gotta trust it and believe that you will get through it.

I think you are on to something that remembering the goal of the first one is just to finish. I will probably be at least an hour behind you!! Good luck and thanks so much for visiting!!

Zon Fiar said...

sRod - I myself have finished two marathons, both in San Francisco, most recent being two weeks ago. I made a few rookie mistakes in my first "real" marathon two weeks ago (the first I don't count as real because I entered three days before the race with zero training). Check out my 2006 vs. 2007 post on the mistakes I ran into. The main one, though, drink a ton. I didn't drink enough and my calves completely seized up on me around mile 19.

Looks like you are doing great though. Keep on keeping on!

Tom said...

Every one of us can empathize with you, and know how tough it can be. You're made up of a lot more than a DNF. You're a runner with endless possibilities ahead. Your next race will top them all!

Non-Runner Nancy said...

sRod - Hope you are having a good run or two since writing this. Keep at it!