The Five Stages of a Bad Marathon Run


  1. Denial - You went past the first couple of mile markers, and you're not anywhere near where you need to be in terms of time. Your legs may not feel like they're going too easy, but your brain is making up excuses, such as start line crowds, slow turns, and misplaced mile markers.
  2. Anger - You're half-way through the marathon, and you're coming to the stark realizing that you're off today.  You begin to blame the chef from last night, the beer you had last week, the fit of your shoes, and having the wrong flavor gels.
  3. Bargaining - At mile 15-16 you begin to realize that it's going to be a stretch to come up with a "respectable" time.  You may have been shooting for a 3:20, but now you're bargaining with yourself for a 3:30, then a 3:40, then 4 hours.  No one seems to be hearing your pleas.
  4. Depression - You decide that you're going to miss your goal time by more than an hour, despite [conservatively] being about 15-20 minutes off track. You wonder if someone will scoop you off the pavement if you collapse right where you are. You can't really tell if you're crying or sweating, but you feel like bawling your eyes out, regardless.  You still have 6-8 miles to go, and you're close enough to not really need transport to the finish line, but too far to walk it in.
  5. Acceptance - At about mile 22-24, the pain and humiliation plateaus, and you feel oddly serene and peaceful about your fate.  All that's left is a weekday recovery run.  You will finish.

Elevation chart of one of my bad marathons:

Hatfield McCoy Elevation Chart

Do not try this at home.

I was aiming for 16 miles today, and planned to get moving as close to 5:30 as possible.

Instead, I intentionally disabled my 5:30 alarm at 5:15 and then woke up just before my 6:30 alarm. I ate one of those Little Debbie Brownie things for pre-run fuel. Awful nutrition, I know, but I didn't have any gels, so this brownie-like substance was going to burn off quickly.

I sat in the dark quietly feigning hamstring stretches, but I was really trying to buy time to wake up. Ever since my injury and subsequent backing off of double run days, I've struggled to wake up in the morning. I strangely miss the exhaustion.

On my way out, I did my usual run from Fairground Rd southbound on Bardstown Rd for a 3.4 mile segment that I double-back on for every run over 15 miles. Every once in a while, I come out on to Seatonville Rd and follow it over I-265 and out Broad Run until there is no longer enough shoulder width for safety.

Today, I decided to head down that path at about 2 miles into my run. The problem with improvising is that the end of the run WILL be full of surprises. This time, I passed up Broad Run and continued on Seatonville until Billtown Rd, intent on making a single loop without any scenery repeats.

I've seen a couple runners on Billtown Rd in areas with a decent shoulder, but cars go 60 mph down this 2-lane road with a soft or non-existent shoulder. They're crazy.

Today, I was one of the crazy ones. I found that there are 1/4 mile stretches where thick weeds consume the shoulder and pose a huge tripping risk. I was also more disturbed by two dead animals than usual. This was probably a once in a lifetime adventure, but I feel I empathize with cyclists much more now.

I also managed to run through the Gaslight Festival booths which were set up and just opening up at 8:30 am. Watterson Trail and Taylorsville Road in this area are generally not runnable roads, but have sidewalks in exchange. Due to the booths, I found that I had to run down the middle of the roads. Nothing all that unusual for me, except for the fact that this was probably the first time I had ever barreled down the middle of a road and not been in a race.

Since I had made most of my loop thus far on main roads, I committed myself to following as much of the main roads as I usually use for the rest of the loop, instead of cutting across neighborhood roads. This added about 2 miles to my course today. While I would have been short without doubling back somewhere along the way, I ran out of steam past 15.5 miles, do to fuel and general lack of training recently.

Results: 17.66 miles in 2:53:56 [ 9:51 / mile ]

Best run ever

In terms of overall enjoyment, this was probably my best run ever, 5.3 miles in 44:31 minutes.

69'F, sunny, slight breeze, Friday, no big meetings left this week, legs fairly fresh...  if every run felt like this, I'd run 100s of miles per week.

I've spent the last week trying to squeeze in double workouts every day... morning run [50 minutes easy] and lunch exercise bike [10-14 miles on a "hilly" course at 13-15 mph and "flats" at 20 mph].

Today, I slept in, and had to move my run to lunch--which meant that I had to run through the office park.  Now, on a slightly warm, perfectly clear day, in which there hasn't been more than a slight drizzle in the last week [and nothing in the last 24 hours] mud shouldn't be a problem.

When I saw a muddy run-off on the sidewalk ahead of me, I made the quick assumption that it was thin layer of mud that would get my shoes slightly muddy.  By running on the forefoot more I would *SPLASH*.

No.  Not a film of mud.  3+ inches of mud, a little thinner than mud from a mudslide would probably be.  At 1.5 miles into my run, this would probably have killed my run the rest of the way, but not today.

I was happy to be out running.  I was happy to be free from the bike, which had punished my quads and muscles on the back of my legs that I didn't know I had.  I was happy to be comfortably running off the treadmill.  I was happy to be running sub-8:30 pace comfortably in spurts instead of struggling to break 10 minute pace.

I started thinking about my Chicago Marathon goal.  3:15 would be stupid at this point,  but maybe 3:30 [still a PR] was at least physically in my reach.  It's too soon to make those assumptions.  I haven't run 20 miles since before I took nearly 3 weeks off of running.  13 felt okay last Saturday and, I'm going to target 16 tomorrow.  Then, I'll see.

When I got back from the run, I spent 5-10 minutes trying to rinse/scrub the mud off of one of the shoes.  There wasn't enough water pressure to do much.  My legs were coated from the top of my sock to my knee, and I had mud on my arm in spots.

After showering and scrubbing, I wiped my legs dry with the towel and it turned brown from the mud residue.  My legs were starting to itch, and I started thinking about what that "mud" could have been run-off from.  After cleaning up some more, I rubbed my legs down with Purell.  Hopefully, the itchiness was an allergic reaction to weeds or something, but I found myself creeped out, nonetheless.

I'm sure I got some weird looks from being so coated in mud on a clear and dry day.  Oh, well.  It's good to be running again.

Muddy shoes after an attempt to wash them off.

Just got a cold call offering web design services...

I did a reverse phone number look-up using Google on the phone number on caller ID. [using "xxx xxx xxxx" including quotes as a search term.]

Their contact page is at the bottom of the first page of results.

The [Order Now] button on that page brings up:

If I hadn't been cold called on my cell phone, I probably wouldn't have created a post to point this out. [By the way, I clicked "Order Now" because I was curious how much their "rates" were.]

Dear geeks with an attitude...

Lose the attitude. I understand that there is an experience and language barrier. Frustration is natural. Deal with your frustration better.

People do not post on support forums when they know the answers. The support forum does not exist for you to feel superior about your knowledge in this one little area.

Of course, feel free to demonstrate your lack of ability to spell "calendar", lack of grammar skills, and inability to treat others like human beings.

Click the image to view the response or go here for the original thread.

Geek has an attitude

More issues with my Lenovo T61

Here's a nice shot of the nVidia driver context menu wackiness in windows XP. The longer a window is open, the more of these that appear. (Considering the window in question is Safari, that time span is probably 2-3 hours.)

Meanwhile, I spent 10-15 minutes trying to get the laptop to recognize that my external monitor was plugged in, and then trying to close windows for a graceful shutdown.