Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I was out running my long run this weekend when I started thinking, something that I should not be allowed to do and especially not whilst running. The thoughts that started rattling around inside my head were how much I hate my long runs lately. HATE. I blame Amy Lawson for this (because it couldn’t be my fault), she mentioned on our first podcast that she always thought about how much she hated running while she was running. Anyway, I was thinking about how slow my long runs have been lately (something you’ll all be able to see when I post my December running log in a couple of days, I know you’re all eager to see it), and how much I loathe my long runs. They’ve felt like such a chore these past few weeks. Somewhere running ceased to be fun and enjoyable, and when I realized this at mile 15 of my scheduled 20 miler, I stopped. I considered what this meant for my marathon training and I didn’t care at all because there was a 90 percent chance that if I pushed on through to 20 miles I’d have quit running altogether. Forever.

So I’m heading into the taper with one 18 miler, one 16 miler and no 20 milers under my belt. It’s the perfect recipe for my first ever DNF! Or maybe, for a downgrade to the half, which is awesome because the half marathon in Phoenix is 13.1 miles less than the marathon and that sounds really appealing at this point in time. On the one hand I’m tempted to still go out and try to run the marathon because if I don’t do it now then I probably never will and no one likes a quitter. On the other hand I’m not so sure I actually want to run a marathon, which is probably not a good mindset to be taking into it.

I’ll probably end up running the full marathon anyway, but I’m guessing that you’re going to want to shield your children’s eyes from that race report.

On a lighter note, I’m off work all week which means it’s harder to keep up with all of your blogs but that will remedy itself in January when I get back to the office. When I’m at the office I have much more peace and quiet to read blogs, plus they block my access to Facebook’s Texas Hold’em game so I have nothing better to do. I hope that you are all doing well and that your runs have been more productive than mine. I’ll catch up with you all in the new year.


  1. Happy New Year!

    Now you can be the to test market the whole no 20-milers before a marathon training plan I considered way back whenever it was I considered it.


  2. I think Viper's off the sauce at the moment. Normally, when drinking, his comments are coherent.
    I think he forgot a word. Anyway, on to MY comment:

    Now you can be the one to test the whole no 20-milers before a marathon training plan I considered way back.

  3. I'm no expert, and you probably won't heed my advice anyway, but if I were you, I'd downgrade to the half if it's still possible. Not because of the lack of a 20 miler. But because if you don't "want" to run a marathon, it will be a miserable, miserable experience.

  4. Sometimes it just sucks for a while. And then it gets better.

    It's a lot like life, that way.

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do. :-)

  5. Try not to freak out. Everybody's allowed a bad run here and there. My first 20 miler also sucked, but it turns out that I could, in fact, add another 6.2 miles to it. There are coaches who say a 20 miler is not necessary before a marathon, so you may well be fine. And if you decide to run the half, rock it out, and have fun with it, we will all point at you and laugh, but you can laugh right back because we are the dumbasses who run 26.2 miles all at once.

  6. Just take comfort in knowing that even without a 20-mile training run under your belt, you can and will still finish the marathon faster than I did. And I ran two horrendous 20 milers before my marathon.

    You can do it, Vanilla, but only if you want to.

  7. Stay positive about the marathon! My husband ran his first marathon with just a 14 mile training run. 20+ mile training runs are over-rated!

    My advice is bring your own booze for the race. This always improves a race! Oh yeah and if it is below freezing dumping some vodka in gatorade ensures it does not freeze (it turns it into what I call a "Philips Head Screwdriver").

    If you can't bring your own "sustenance", the hash harriers: The drinking club with a running club, frequently have a banned substances aid station right about when you need it at mile 18!

    Good Luck,

  8. I think I mentioned this before, but my longest run before my first marathon was 18 miles. I wouldn't say the marathon was a huge success, but I didn't feel like I couldn't finish it. I agree with Xenia, you can definitely run the marathon with this much prep if you want to. Besides, you do want to meet up and sing along with me to All Star at the concert afterward, don't you?

  9. You know - I ran a 1/2 after never running more than 6 miles in my life, and it went well. Do what you want :) It almost always works out somehow!

  10. Listen to your body. I am sure you will have no problem doing the 26.2 miles. However, if you feel like you are not ready and don't want to, I wouldn't. Why put your body through that?!

    Happy New Year!

  11. What Jess said. If you've never run a marathon that you're not prepared for, you can't even imaging the horror. Going in with a bad attitude will only make a bad situation worse.

  12. HEY...The first time I ever ran was Nov 2, 2007. I ran the Sarasota Marathon (FULL) 4 months to the DAY after only EVER running 4 months. (March 2, 2008)

    The longest run I did was 14.7 miles. I got bit by a dog, pulled a hip flexor, got the flu and almost gave up. but I didn't. I ran it. Slow (5:33:38) but I finished it.

    I know you can do it. You've been training. You have endurance. You have a great base. I say GO FOR IT. If at some point in the race you feel like you can't finish, then stop. But I'd be shocked if that happened. I would be willing to bet cashola on you finishing and with a great time.

  13. Who the hell ever actually WANTS to run a marathon? come on! you still have time to get a 20 miler in, not that it will help you much at this point. heh.

    That guy who advocates the three 16-milers...what'shisname...the Jonas Brothers Project?? Oh right the HANSON Bros project, he says this:
    "The necessity of the 20-miler for marathon success is a farce," says Kevin Hanson, "It’s just a convenient round number that people have endowed with some mythical properties." To prove his point, Kevin notes that European training plans often top out at 30 kilometers (18.6 miles). "Does that mean they’re 1.4 miles less prepared than Americans? It’s ridiculous."

    so there.

  14. I have to chime in here- my first marathon (many moons ago) was run with only one 18 miler in preparation and no real taper either. I had no expectations except finishing, took it much slower than I probably needed to for the first 5-10 miles, and after that felt great and sped up until about mile 20 (then held on desperately) for a 3:45. Couldn't do that pace now I don't think and I'm a little chicken to try, but the point is, take it EASY in the beginning. People burn themselves out with great expectations and fear of embarrassment and lose the enjoyment (esp when they crash into the wall). If you are running your own pace within your aerobic ability, it will feel good to ok most of the time (but you may want something for aches from the repeated pavement pounding). And a bad training day doesn't mean you'll have a bad race day either!

    Don't despair! We're rooting for you whatever you choose to do.


  15. I concur. Running DOES suck - it's the stopping that I like.

    The first race I ever did in my life was a marathon - no 5Ks, 10Ks, etc. for me. And the "training" leading up to that first marathon was laughable - my longest run was 13 miles. Somehow, though, I managed to cross the finish line...6:16 later, but, hey I finished. You, too, will finish. It might not be pleasant or pain-free, but if it was a piece of cake then what would be the point? Good luck, you.

  16. I finished my first marathon with that exact recipe of long runs, plus I didn't get a chance to taper. Went from 18 to 26 in one week flat. I was glad that I didn't back out because it really was funner than I had imagined. It was my first, and I had only one expectation - to finish.

    So chin up Vanilla and get out there and show us what a real man you are :)

  17. I hated every one of my long runs. While running, I always thought about how I hated running. But, I loved running the LV marathon. So I dont know what that really means for you - but its definitely a different experience, not just another "long run".

  18. I wouldn't worry about it, your marathon was going to suck anyway. The worst thing that will happen is that after you're finally done, you'll think, "I wonder how much faster I could go if I really trained?" That will only lead to more running next year. You should probably downgrade to a 10K.

    Good Luck!

  19. I hope it works out for you Vanilla...

    Wow I did not know FB had TX hold em. score!

  20. You're welcome.

    No just kidding.

    Here's the thing--sometimes mental burnout strikes and the best thing you can do is cut it short.
    These blogging runners, in my humble opinion, take training way too seriously.
    You'll finish. And believe it or not, you'll finish faster with a 15 miler under your belt rather than that 20 miler. I'm totally serious. Totally serious.

  21. YOu said: "So I’m heading into the taper with one 18 miler, one 16 miler and no 20 milers under my belt. It’s the perfect recipe for my first ever DNF!"

    That's exactly how my training for my first marathon went. And I finished. Lots of walking, but I finished. You will too.

    I've heard about your blog from Steve @ Phedip, but haven't read it before 'til some other recent chains of blogs brought me here.

    Good luck!

  22. I burned out around Thanksgiving. Felt pretty much the same way that you did. I took a week off and put things into perspective. I felt a helluva lot better after that. You'll be fine.

    Of course, that's just my $.02.

  23. Pffffftttt you can still roll with it ;D No doubt! Who cares if it isn't pretty. First marathons are fo fun anyway. Just make sure you drink every and any alcoholic beverage a spectator wants to hand you along the way :P

  24. Best of luck either way - if you go long be sure to finish with a run, no walkin. If you go short, kick some ass.

  25. Don't kid yourself. Your gonna do awesome at whatever you choose to do. If you wantr the 26.2 you got it, if you don't there isnt anything wrong with that!

  26. Sounds like you had the classic why-the-heck-am-I-doing-this moment during a long run. I get them all the time. That's part of the training.

    When you are in the marathon, at mile 20, you will get one of those moments. The long run helps you both physically and mentally push through that mess and finish the race.

    You long runs are boring? Are you running the same route all the time? Do you bring enough water or gels? The same monotonous route and being low on fuel can make the long runs a nightmare.

    Take a deep breath. Add an extra rest day in there, and continue with your training. Its a setback, but not the end of the world.

    Stay golden. :)

  27. For me, I know I'd opt to still run the full marathon under the I've-Come-This-Far-Might-As-Well-Finish-It slogan. You can finish, of course. Do you realize how many people walk more than half a marathon these days?? If you run out the first 15-16 miles, you can do a walk/run combo to the finish and still finish in the middle of the pack - if that matters to you at all.

  28. If you don't want to run the marathon, don't do it. Seriously. There are better ways to make yourself miserable, many of them actually fun (at the time; misery comes later); many involving beer and this happy sound: "glug-glug"; or, if you're lucky, this here better, happier sound: "glug-glug-glug-glug-ahhhhh!"

    I sure hope I spelled "glug-glug-glug-glug-ahhhhh!" correctly - otherwise Nic (nwgdc) will come back here and correct my Grammar, and believe me, she HATES that; and Grampa ain't to keen on it, either.

    But to give you some perspective: Nic has run a few ULTRA marathons - 50 milers! Yet what does he consider to be Teh Awesomest Pastime? Nit-picking others' blog comments! See? Running a marathon doesn't cure lame.

    No disrespect to Nic. It's just that nit-picking others' grammar and diction used to be my bailiwick. He's determined to take everything from me.

    Seriously, I wouldn't sweat the marathon. You're still a funnier blogger than 99% of what I see out there. (And there's some funny stuff out there.) And your comments on others' blogs are always killer.

    Whatever you ultimately decide, best of luck to you, brother.

  29. Let me get this straight ... you've never once spent an entire run thinking about how much you despise running? Then I'd say you were due, buddy.

    Sounds like you've gotten lots of advice and a wide range of opinions, which is a good thing because it'll let you make the decision that's right for you.

    Either way, you're still the funniest damned blogger out there.

  30. Happy New Year!! Wishing you lots of good runs in 2009. I'm a bit like you, I hate the idea of running until I'm out there, but I don't mind the long runs. I hate hate hate fartlek or speed sessions.

    Whatever you decide to do, enjoy yourself.

  31. Sorry it didn't go better for you! When you get here and see the gorgeous sun it will all come together.

  32. When I ran my first marathon, my longest run was 18 miles. So no excuses.

    Long runs. After doing her second marathon, my wife noted how running stopped being fun after about 15 miles. She now only runs half marathons

  33. So.. sounds like the consensus is that you go to the marathon and tell jokes.

    But seriously, I've felt this way on multiple occasions. On my first (and only) marathon, I struggled a lot towards the end. I ran a test half in the middle of my training and I think that is where I peaked. Sadly, I still had a month to go.

    Then, this year, I was training for a marathon and life got in the way. I think I also realized that I'm not a "marathoner".

    So.. get to the point, right? You need to figure out if this is what you want to do or if your just doing it to check an item off the list. Either way, it's cool. But, you don't "have" to run marathons.

    In a strange twist of stream of consciousness... you should run. You are so far in, you'll probably regret it later. And, even if you decide to never do it again... you can check it off your list. You're ready.

  34. If it weren't for the "group training run" our local running club threw together the day I was due for my 20 miler I probably wouldn't have made it through mine either.

    Good news is, when you get to the marathon you'll spend the first 10 miles thinking it's the coolest thing on earth, the next 10 miles realizing that you really are running a marathon, then the worst 10K known to man. It will be fantastic and I'm certain you'll rock that course.

    My buddy pulled a 4:13 marathon and his longest training run was 15 miles. But everyone has stories like that.

    Happy new year man.


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