Ego vs Reason

Warning – this is another post about running.  I realize this isn’t exactly an exciting topic for some of my readers so feel free to skip this post and I won’t take it personally.

Taking a 5 week hiatus from running altogether (due to issues with my IT band) really impacted my marathon training.  I took a hiatus from the very important long distance training runs and am paying for it now.  My endurance isn’t where it needs to be but most importantly, my legs lack the strength to carry me a long distance.

I ran for the first time on Halloween.  I ran 5 miles, very slowly, but without pain.  According to my training schedule – I was supposed to run 20.  The next Saturday I managed to run 10 miles following the Galloway method.  This past Saturday, my goal was to run between 15-17 (secretly hoping for 17 miles because that would leave me with only 9 more miles for the marathon).

I woke up and just did NOT feel like running.  But I knew I had to do it.  I had something to prove.  I started off slow.  I followed the same Galloway method ratio (4 min run/1 min walk).  I ran through Canton, Fells Point, the Inner Harbor and then made the decision to keep moving forward through Federal Hill and finally to Fort McHenry.  It was 8 miles.  Once I hit mile 9, I was exhausted.  My legs felt like lead.

I tried downing a small packet of salt halfway through my goal distance but felt no difference.  I ended up walking from 9.3-10.0 and then picked up to a run.  I modified the Galloway method to run 3 min and walk 2 min.  But at this point, I was feeling really down.  I managed to get to 13.1 (hooray – a half marathon!) and stopped to walk.  I thought I’d just walk for 5 minutes.

5 minutes came and went and I just kept walking.  I finally looked at my Garmin and saw that I hit mile 14.0.  I tried to pick up to a run but my brain and my legs were NOT in agreement.  I just couldn’t pick up my legs.  At all.

I ended up walking to Starbucks, getting a red eye then to Safeway to purchase some Epsom salt.  I should add that I looked deranged.  I was wearing black running capris, a traffic cone (orange) colored running shirt, black running sleeves, purple calf sleeves, neon green running headphones, a light grey headband (with a purple skull on it) and a light blue fuel belt.  I should have taken a picture.  I looked batshit crazy.

You would think the fact that I looked insane would have motivated me to keep running (EVERYONE was staring) but I just didn’t have it in me.

I took an ice bath when I got home and while my quads aren’t very sore today, my shins and ass are killing me.  My knee is sore too (stupid IT band!).

The Philly Marathon folks sent an e-mail with my bib number and all the info I needed about the race.  And they also included this:

Need to run a shorter distance?
If, for some reason, you need to run a shorter distance on Race day, you WILL be officially timed and scored and WILL BE ELIGIBLE for awards at the shorter distance. However, at the Expo, you will receive the bib number and shirt from your original event.  At the finish line, please accept a medal ONLY for your official event.  Your official event is printed on the race number that you are wearing.

Reason would dictate that I should just concede and run the half marathon.  I clearly haven’t been able to train like I should have.  But I don’t like the fact that I’d get a full marathon medal.  That cheapens the whole thing to me.  It seems wrong that I’d get the medal for the full marathon if I didn’t even run it.

I’ve told everyone about the marathon.  I’m very hard headed too.  And lots of folks (including Jeremy and my docs) think that the adrenaline from the marathon could possibly push me forward.  But then again – do I really want a 6+ hour marathon time on my record?  Oh who am I kidding – I don’t give a shit about time.  But how deflating.  I’m pretty sure once you hit that mark, most of the spectators have left. 

Ugh – what to do.  I go back and forth.  I signed up with a 5 hr pace group and checked out what the splits would be for that pace (11:27 min/mile).  I could hold a conversation at that pace (I have in the past running a 10:30 min/mile).  Chatting usually gets my mind off of things (like distance!) and has miraculously pushed me to distances that I never thought were possible for me (a girl that once faked an asthma attack so I wouldn’t have to run 2 miles).  Pacers are generally chatty, right? 

I think I’m going to go for the full and just try to enjoy the entire experience regardless of coming in past 6 hours.  For any friends that were planning on sticking around – I won’t hold you to that!  The only person I expect to see when I cross the finish line is Jeremy (preferably holding some Scotch and desserts).

What would you do?



Filed under Charm City Kim Runs

10 responses to “Ego vs Reason

  1. You drink Scotch?

    Dude, if you are half as stubborn as you say you are, I’m also willing to bet the adrenaline and your competitive nature will keep you going the full distance.

    But don’t do that if it means you hurt your body. Just think how disappointed you’d be if you permanently couldn’t run long distances.

    I do drink Scotch on occasion. My husband (if he’s reading this) is probably laughing his ass off. I started down the Scotch patch when we went to Scotland and I decided that I needed to embrace my Scottish heritage. Ha!

    I think if I do the full – I’ll definitely be taking the winter off of running altogether. I think this might end up being a game time decision for me.

  2. sarah

    Good luck Kim! I personally would do what you’re doing and try to run it (says the girl who’s run 3 half-marathons on stress fractures out of stubbornness). If you feel awful during the race, it sounds like you do have an option to veer off at the half-marathon? Hopefully it won’t come to that, but at the least the race people seem to be ok with running a different distance than you registered for.

    ps – I live in Canton and run on the promenade too – I am frequently struggling with motivation…I can sympathize with how you’re feeling!

    I’m glad to see there are other stubborn readers/runners out there! 🙂

    I don’t know what it is – but if I’m running around large groups of people (or with someone), I can make myself go further. But when I’m alone, its so hard to keep chugging along sometimes! That’s too funny that you run on the promenade. I’m sure I’ve passed you! I just hope I smiled I waved!

  3. Frank Einstein

    I found your blog through a few weeks ago and have been following your marathon tribulations.

    In 2007, I trained for and ran the Detroit Marathon. and for a sundry of reasons, ended up finishing near the six hour mark (5:59:08, to be precise. If you’re interested in my experience, I can link you to a blog, but I didn’t want to spam anything here).

    I just wanted to assure you that even at the six hour mark, there will still be an audience there cheering you on at the finish line. These people are ridiculously dedicated to supporting the marathon runners through and through, even at at 6+ hours. You are definitely not going to be the only person behind the finish line at six hours, and even if you were, these is no shame in that. It’s about making it through, regardless of the time.

    If I were you, I would push through and finish the marathon, only because I am unfortunately (luckily?) afflicted with the same stubbornness that you seem to have. Don’t worry about having a 4 minute run/1 minute walk though. Try more of a 1:1 ratio on the running/walking. Even if you were to push yourself and cut 10 minutes off from your time by going with a 4:1 ratio, the potential of injury definitely isn’t worth it. 10 minutes of ego vs. lifetime of pain isn’t a balanced equation.

    In any case, good luck with whatever choice you make!


    Pee at the very first opportunity. If I could hop on a Delorean and tell myself one thing right before the run, that’s what I would have said. I think the early break would have saved me about 4 hours of pain.

    Frank – if I could hug you, I would. You have no idea how much this comment has made me feel better. I teeter back and forth about doing the full vs the half but in my heart, I really want to push for the full. Please link away! I’d love to read about your experience!

    And thanks for the bathroom tip. 🙂

  4. kyla

    Kim….. TAKE A DEEP BREATH!!! I know how you are feeling, having dealt with an injury before and had to run the 1/2 instead… but there will always be other marathons that you can do. I know it sucks, but if you take care of yourself now, you will be better off in the long run.
    Everyone will be suppportive of what ever decision you make, if you decide to do the whole marathon, you will still have accomplished a great thing, no matter your time 🙂 Sending you positive vibes for a recovery and a little less stress 🙂

    Thank you for the positive vibes! I agree with not wanting to push myself to the point where I can never run again. I think I have enough juice in me to complete a full (whether I’m walking half of it or not) but know that I’ll need to take a few months off of running to let my body fully recover.

  5. Kt

    I say you try to do the full. Even if you end up walking a big portion of it. Honestly, the worst that can happen is that you decide it’s not best for your body in the middle of it.

    But I definitely think you will have doubts if you decide now to do the 1/2.

    And don’t worry – we will be there cheering you on!

    You are very right about me having doubts if I concede and do the 1/2.
    And I feel bad if you stick around! I know Ian will finish under 4 hours… and I’m looking at a 6 hour finish! That’s 2 hours of standing around!

  6. Frank Einstein

    I don’t think I can link the Facebook note I posted about the run because of privacy settings, so I’ll just copy the whole thing here.
    So I ran a marathon, it seems. The Detroit Marathon on October 21, 2007, to be precise. It was transcendental experience; pushing my body to the limits revealed new levels of spirituality in me that – PSYCH. A ha, I am so clever. It was what it was; a long fucking run. I’m glad to have gotten it done, like any other personal goal, but it was rough as shit. First off, I got a ticket on the way there. I woke up late (if I wasn’t driving my sister and her husband down for their relay, who knows when I would have gotten up), which led me to really push it with the speed limit. Naively, I thought “Sunday, 6:00 A.M? Naahh.” I guess the “naahh” didn’t pan out like I hoped it would. So there’s that.

    When I got there, it was quite the zoo. Just hordes of people everywhere. Supporters, runners, volunteers, crocodile hunters, pedophiles, pretty much everyone you’d hope to find at a large event. I believe there were approximately 15,000 runners, total. I eventually dropped off my gear, was corralled into my starting area, and started preparing for the run.

    The course itself was magnificent. I ran through different parts of Detroit that were actually quite nice, almost surprisingly so. I’m sure if I went a block in any other direction, the area would be been quite ghetto, but still, I liked what I saw. Even more amazing was running across the Ambassador Bridge into Canada, and then back through the Windsor Tunnel. I’ve basically run a mile through the sky, and another under water. I feel like Aqua-man, assuming Aqua-man was running the Detroit Marathon and went through the Ambassador Bridge and Windsor Tunnel.

    In terms of the actual running itself, I was doing quite well until the 13th mile. That’s when “the pain” started to kick in. I put that in quotes because I’m a have an inflated sense of self-importance, but also because it’s a pain that I have become familiar with throughout the past couple of years. It first kicked in ‘06 when I decided that I would try to run five miles instead of my usual three. It’s been lingering around since then, but has been mostly mild, until three weeks ago, when it started coming back in full force. Basically, it hurts to bend my legs. The outer tendons of me “knee-pit,” for a lack of a more descriptive phrase, hurt to bend. It had gotten better in the last few weeks, so I was hoping that I would make it through all the way without the sharp sensation. When I hit mile 13 though, it started edging into my leg a little bit. Not too seriously though, I just had to walk and stretch a bit more often, but I was still doing pretty well until mile 16, near Bell Isle. That’s when my legs were done with. At that point, I pretty much couldn’t bend my legs and had to stiff leg the rest of the marathon. Try walking/jogging a few yards without bending your legs at all. Then do it for another 10 miles. That was how I finished the run. It was rough as shit. It must have been pretty clear I was hurt too, since people kept on asking me “are you okay?” In addition, all the cheering people that stood on the side streets would always scream when I pass “way to push through!” Initially, I thought they meant in general, “way to push through a marathon,” but after being singled out in Greek Town, I’m pretty sure they all meant “way to push through, Frank Einstein, with your gimpy ass legs, you poor mother fucker.” But about Greek Town, the main cheering guy on the mic saw me and said “Wow, look at this guy. If that was me, I would have quit four hours ago. Let’s give him a round of applause!” It was nice, because a large crowd clapped for me, but at the same time, it made it quite apparent that I was obviously disabled. For the last few miles, I started side shuffling a good portion of the distance, because I could do it about thrice as fast as I could jog/walk. For some perspective, it took me about two hours to run the first 13 miles. It then took me an hour to run the next 4, another hour to run the next 3, and then finally TWO WHOLE hours to run the last six miles. That’s quite a slow down there. If you want to get a good impression of how gimped I was, watch the video via the Detroit Free Press. Start watching for me when the clock says 6:01:50. You should be able to notice when I limp across the finish line:

    I think I look peg-legged. My coworker said I look like a penguin. Perhaps I am a peg-legged penguin. Who knows? One thing’s for sure, my legs were hurting like shit.

    And that was that. Something that I am truly appreciative of is the fact that my sisters, cousin and their friends waited for me at the finish line. They ran the relay, meaning five of them covered the distance that I did myself, so they were able to finish much quicker than I did. They didn’t expect me to take quite so long to complete the race, but they were there to cheer me on at the end. In an uncharacteristic moment of sincerity here, I will say that I am quite grateful for that. My girlfriend couldn’t make it unfortunately because of exams, which I understand completely. I don’t begrudge her for that at all, and as a matter of fact, I wouldn’t have been able to make it past the hours after the marathon without her on the phone, so in my second, even more completely uncharacteristic moment of sincerity, I must say that I love her dearly and glad she was there for me when I needed her.

    All in all, I’m glad to have accomplished this. I would have liked to have been able to run the entire way, but at least I finished, and am now relatively injury free the next day. My whole goal with this ordeal was to get in better physical shape, which I think I am in. I can’t imagine wanting to pound through 26.2 miles of pavement again anytime soon, but the run was very enjoyable. I can see myself doing ½ marathons or relays quite regularly. And who knows, maybe one day, I’ll be able to make it through a marathon as a man, rather than Chilly Jones, the Peg-legged Penguin Pirate. Arrg!

    Frank – you are my new best online friend right now. I laughed out loud at a few parts in this story and was inspired too. I was bummed that the link no longer works because I would have loved to have seen Chilly Jones, the peg-legged penguin pirate, finish the marathon!

  7. Traci

    Also don’t forget how inspired you could be by others around you. I know you are competitive but you might also feel a sense of group love from the others that are running at your pace, where ever you finish.

    That’s very true. I think when you’re a back of the pack-er, everyone is just much nicer. Not to say fast runners aren’t nice but they’re generally racing against themselves to get a new PR. The slow-pokes are there to accomplish something great with no time constraints. Okay – I think I’m going to go for it!

  8. Frank Einstein

    In that case, I’m going to get all spammy and say you should follow me on Twitter in case I ever happen to say anything else helpful in my life ever again. Odds aren’t in favor of that, but we’ll see. @ohheyhowareyou

    Consider yourself followed! (btw – I just saw that you’re following me. Thanks!)

  9. Lauren (athleat)

    I say go for it. Especially after reading frank’s story above! U can always cut it short and make the decision during the race. I hope I get to meet u up there!

    I think I am going to go for it. I think if I don’t, I’ll regret my decision.

    And we should totally meet up!

  10. I seriously think that even when all of the other spectators have left, it will be worth it all to run across that finish line (even six hours later) with Jeremy cheering you on. He is your curb crew (I love that term, my boyfriend and I use it for each other when we cheer each other on during races)! I say go for it. Additionally, however, there is no shame in conceding to the half-marathon. Run your little heart out!

    Curb crew – I love it!

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