Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Fear and loathing in New Hampshire

I lied on Monday. I said I had no complaints about my performance in Sunday’s half marathon, but I do. Even though I finished under 2:30 which was my goal, I’m disappointed in my overall pace. I’d wanted to average a sub-11 pace, but instead ended up with 11:10. In the World of Slow in which I reside I know that isn’t a huge difference, but apparently it’s a big deal to me, because I’m still kicking myself for it. Well, not literally kicking myself. At least not until my quads have fully healed.

This has caused me to have reservations about attempting the Florence marathon in November. I remember being two thirds of the way through the half marathon and thinking I was deranged for even contemplating a marathon this year. Mentally I had a difficult time during the half and now I’m worried I’m not ready to attempt a full marathon, especially since it will take me over 5 hours to complete. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to endure that.

After Sunday’s race, I was almost sure I wouldn’t run in Florence, but now I’m undecided again. If I forgo the Florence marathon, I could focus on speed and hill work while I’m in Rome for the fall. There is no shortage of hills there as opposed to my town in England, so there would be no way for me to shirk hill work like I have over the past few months. Following in Nitmos’ footsteps, I could have a season of speed of my own, only it would be called the Autumn of Acceleration, the Fall of Fartleks, or the Winter of ...erm... I’m not sure really. I’ll leave that name up to you all.

So, yeah, I have no idea what I’m doing or what I’m capable of. Pretty par for the course for me, but things are really out of whack right now because of other things too. The vet appointment today was pretty heart-wrenching for us as we found out one of my furballs (not the alarm clock, but his sister) has a lump which may be the big ‘C’. Because of her age, the prognosis is not good, which means she’ll probably pass away before I come back again for Christmas. And I’m leaving tomorrow for England. Total suckage.

If you all have any advice about the marathon or how I can stop obsessing about how slow I am, fire away in the comments. So far I’ve got nothing.

Later gators.


RazZDoodle said...

Winter of Windsprints

Laura said...

SO much of a marathon is mental. I find it interesting that even after doing a full marathon, I get halfway done with a shorter race and think "oh my gosh I still have so far to go." A half marathon seems really long when you're trying to do a half marathon, but when you're trying to do a full marathon, the first 13.1 won't seem that bad at all. You can do it!

tfh said...

Honestly, I'm scared to start training for a marathon even after running (off and on) for ten years. I'm terrified for my first half. If you're disappointed in yourself, it's probably because you've forgotten how hard you were pushing yourself in the HM. At least that's how I am. Speed-- well, it comes or doesn't, and that's not entirely under our control.

Sorry about your cat. I know the utter frustration and sadness of not being able to explain to a pet why we're leaving them, or won't be there when they need us. So, so sad.

Marcy said...

This is your first HM right? Try and look at the bigger picture. You're planning on running for awhile, right? You have PLENTY of time and opportunities to make yourself "better" "faster" whatever you want to call it :-) I know me saying this probably doesn't help right now but maybe after a couple days once things settle down you'll see. Plus, I just hate to see you just so wrapped up in time that your forget what a big accomplishment just finishing a HM is! ;D Not many people will voluntarily submit themselves to the torture that is long distance running LOL And I must add that you kicked my ass. I completed my first HM in 2:54. So there!

I also agree with Laura. You CAN DO IT!! I also remember thinking "OMFG I will never run a marathon" after running 13 but you can and you will ;-)

I'm sorry to hear about the cat :-(

Merry said...

I'm sorry to hear about the cat too. Maybe it won't be as bad as you fear? Fingers crossed.

And as for your feeling like a slow runner -- honey. Come run with me. Guaranteed you'll feel like Speedy Gonzalez in no time :)

I'm still impressed with how far you've come in such a short time!

Jenn N Butter said...

I want so bad to be able to run. I have goals, I train hard, my body doesn't want to run yet. Some day when it is time for me to run my first half marathon, I hope I will be able to do half as well as you.

You have become some what of an inspiration to me. Not only are you doing the one job that I have lusted over since childhood, but you can do the one activity that I long to do but can't yet.

Don't let the numbers get to you, in the end the important matter is that you did it. There are so many people in the world who are not even willing to get off their ass and try something like this and not only did you try it but you finished it. I am proud of you.

I think I will make a Zenia's biggest fan button for my page.


Jenn N Butter said...


I am a goober, I totally ment Xenia, not Zenia!

Spell check is a good thing!


Theresa said...

Huh. I realize that slowness is relative and all. That some of the guys around here could run half as fast as me, and it would probably seem slow. But, seriously, aren't you supposed to run slower when you run longer distances? So that you can finish. A freaking 1/2 marathon! Especially when there are hills!!

I am the queen of beating myself up, so I know how hard it is to stop, but stop it already.

No comment about whether or not to do the full marathon - I'm sure you CAN do it! But I like the idea of taking advantage of the locale to work on hills and speed.

And such sad news about your furbaby. :( I will be sending good thoughts your way.

Theresa said...

Well, that came out wrong. If anyone ran half as fast as me, they would be walking in baby steps. It was supposed to be TWICE AS FAST.


Jenn N Butter said...

Every one grab a Xenia's Cheering Section button at my blog.

Love Ya girl.

BeachRunner said...

Enjoy your completion of the HM - for crap's sake - and revel in that accomplishment. That is a great thing. Worry about Florence and the other shiz later.

So sorry about the cat. :(

Running Knitter said...

Sorry to hear about your cat.

This was your first half, and so no matter what your finishing time was, you FINISHED! Like Marcy said, that's 13 miles, and that's more than most people do at all! I know you can do it. Keep in mind too, that maybe if you had run a different race, (bigger race, more people, flat course, etc), your experience would probably have been very different. You will have plenty more half marathons to PR at. Oh, and you are not slow. You are already faster than me!

Steve Stenzel said...

Jeez, good luck figuring it all out. Go with your gut!

Meg said...

I agree with most of what's need to focus more on what an awesome accomplishment the half is and be proud of that! And since you had run 13 before the race, you can obviously push yourself. I'm discovering now that training is almost more mental than physical, so if you want to do it, then you will get through it. You can, so run it if you want to run it.

I'm sorry to hear about your cat, that's really rough news. My family's cat passed away a couple months ago and I hadn't seen her since Christmas so I understand what you're feeling.

The Laminator said...

Hey Xenia...

You should still be celebrating your awesome half-marathon finish. Don't worry about the marathon. Once you get through the training, the race will take care of itself and you'll finish. So much of a marathon is mental, so you really need to make yourself not contemplate the totality of the situation, which sounds very intimidating, but instead break in down to simpler steps that are much more tangible. Think only about the training for the week ahead...and don't worry about the future. The better you can make yourself think that way, the better prepared you will be for the big race. Good luck on your training.

And yes, take a few days to revel in finishing the half first. You'll still be on target to run a great full.

MizFit said...

what's the news on the furball?

thinking about you...

Roisin said...

As a slow runner, I'm telling you that you CAN do this.

1. As I was finishing my first half marathon, I promised myself that I'd never do a full.

2. That same year, I completed the Dublin Marathon. Slowly.

3. I think you have to work up to speed. I started training for distance running nearly 3 years ago at a run/walk. Then I moved up to 11:30, then 11, and now I'm at a 10:30, with my sights set on a 9:00 someday.

In other words, you can and should do this!!!

Viper said...

All right, suck it up. I'm sick of being nice.

You're just experiencing the post race blues. Happens to every runner. You did great, despite battling some nastiness.

Don't worry about being slow. Speed (which is relative anyway) comes with time and practice. There's this great graph in Jim Fixx's "Complete Book of Running" that shows how runners continue to get faster every year for the first 10 years of their running life, no matter what age they start. It'll come.

Sorry about your cat. That blows.

Lily on the Road said...

All of the above is SOOOO TRUE, oh BTW, Marcy that was very nice & well written!

Do you really realize what you just accomplished??? Do YOU? You are freaking awesome!!! You ran a Half Marathon!!!

Take some time to let this sink in...You ran a HALF MARATHON!!

and yes, I'm yelling at you LOL...don't worry about running a Marathon right now, revel in completing the Half first....yes, Viper hit it right on the head, you ARE experiencing post race blues.

Give yourself some time, you have been flying all over the world, running, visiting, worrying and living....

You are bombarded by what the bloggers do and say....take some Xenia moments, relive what you did, look at your pics and don't make a decision to run a marathon so soon after the Half...unless YOU really want to, none of us and I mean NONE of us would think any less of you ~ whatever your decision is, make it yours... no one else's.

Okay, I'll shut up still are AMAZING!!!

and I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty, that is just so sad, as you know I just love cats...

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Sorry to hear about your kitty. I'm a pet owner and totally understand your sadness over that diagnosis. :-(

As for the half. You really need to take a step back and realize what you just accomplished. Not everyone can do that. You really need to bask in the glory of each footstep that got you across the finish line. And you can give yourself a new goal for the future.

Am I correct that it was your first one, too? You ROCK!!