The Mileage Gets Longer and L O N G E R

Marathon training isn’t easy.  It begins with a crazy idea to run a marathon that eventually takes on a life of it’s own once that decision is made and the race is chosen.  One has to find training plan, and stick to that plan.  It takes dedication and requires a lot of hard work which includes payment in the form of blood, sweat, and tears.  It is challenging physically, but EXTREMELY challenging mentally … because it’s more than just running.  Anyone can say that they could run a marathon, but will they actually make it to the finish?

Although I have been a runner for many years, it is only in the last few years that I have become a “serious” runner.   I joke that I am in constant, perpetual training as 2010 is the year that the most mileage has been hit every month.   With a half-marathon every month, there is no room for slacking off.  Put the mileage in and get the work done.

As I really have NO clue as to how to properly train for a marathon, in February, I began researching the option of getting a coach.  It’s one thing to download a plan and follow it.  It’s another to have a real, live coach giving me actual direction.  I found a few, sent out a couple emails, and choose one which I thought was a good fit.   My requirements were direct and to the point:  1. My training plans have to work around my life and my schedule; 2. I need someone to hold me accountable; 3. I need someone to engage me; and 4. I prefer not to have my training plans given to me all at one time.  Easy, right?  Apparently, too easy.  In June, my coach sent me my training plans for my NWM training up until the day of the marathon!  Noooo!  I can’t have plans like that.  First off, I have a somewhat confusing working schedule.  And secondly, as I perused the *entire* schedule, it caused me to panic as anxiety and self-doubt set in!!!  As if that were not bad enough, I don’t hear from my coach again.  I saw him online a couple times, and I sent him a message that said, “Say, ‘Hi, Row., how is your training?'”  So he asks.  I shouldn’t have to ask.  You are my coach … you should be on me everyday!!!

Ah … but that’s old news already.   I have a new coach.  I have a better coach who gives me a weekly plan, is accessible, answers my questions, quells my fears, helps squash my self doubt, but best of all, holds me accountable for my workouts.  I like my new coach.  it’s only been a month, and I can see that I have improved tremendously since signing on.  However, the mileage is getting longer … and L O N G E R …

Duh, Row.!!!  You are training for a marathon!  It is expected that the mileage will get longer, but thinking about it makes me queasy and puts me in a state of discombobulation as my mind spins in circles trying to wrap my head around the idea.  It’s crazy because I know that I can run a marathon.  At this point there are 6 weeks left until NWM!!!  SIX! I have to get the mileage in.  I need to get the mileage in.  I have NO excuses.  If I want to do well, if I want to improve … and I DO … then I have to suck it up and do the work.

So I run.  I follow the instructions and the plan, and I run.  Intervals, tempo, mile repeats, long runs, hills.  As the mileage increases, so does my need to find the time to run for hours, as well as my need for good, restful sleep, and intake of extra calories.  It took me awhile to figure this out as I often found myself exhausted, or in the middle of a hypoglycemic episode at the *wrong* time!

I have been working hard at getting more sleep in … but it’s a little difficult as I am a true nocturnal being.  I work at night, and sleep during the day.  Makes for a weird training schedule as I don’t have “normal” hours.  Some nights when I know that I should be sleeping, I’m not.  Instead, I’m messin’ around on the computer – Facebook or Twitter are the two places that I troll around and lurk the most.  Either that or I’m trying to catch up on housework, or whatever else needs to be done.  It’s so hard for me to just “turn off” and go to sleep.

Eating has been a challenge as well.  I’ve had a few hypogylcemic episodes because of this lack of intake – once was at work, as I was rendering patient care.  I know I freaked that patient out as I turned pale, began sweating profusely, and damned near DFO’d (done fell out)!  In my head, I know that I need to eat.  I know that I need extra calories.  I have to remember to feed myself.  When I don’t do it correctly, I tend to eat all the “wrong” things.  I need to get this right more than any other part of my training.  This has been the most difficult to correct.  I need to learn about slow burning carbs – but I despise oatmeal’s texture.  Gah!  In the meantime, I eat, albeit it’s more like force-feeding myself, and I gag the entire time!  I have been told that I am “fueling an athlete’s body.”  Therefore, I should feed it right!  I know, I know!

I countdown, and I panic at times as I realize that time is moving so quickly towards the day of the marathon … when I know that I shouldn’t.  In my mind, I know that I have time.   My Coach reels me back down to reality …  Focus on the now … Focus on the now … No countdowns.  Just focus on what’s happening now … day by day.  Look no further than what’s at hand.  I will eventually get to “D” day, but for today, I will get the work done, and look no further than what’s on my schedule for today.

37 days left … Time to go get the work done, put the mileage in, ’cause these miles ain’t gonna run by themselves!!!  See you at the finish line!

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