Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday I dragged my sorry butt out for the scheduled 12-mile run. By the time I talked myself into going, it was almost 11 a.m. and 69 . I should have been finishing, not starting.
This week was very short on training. Tuesday was the only day I ran and it was less than 2 miles. The motivation to run just wasn't there. Training was beginning to feel like a chore, like something I was being forced to do. And when that happens in almost any part of my life, I rebel. " I'll show you who's the boss around here," is my attitude when I'm being told to do something--even when I'm the one doing the telling.
First I had to find a route. I didn't want to run on the rails-to-trails. It was about time I took the long runs to the streets. I tried the SparkPeople's mapping program for the first time. The out-and-back route came in at 11.59 miles. When I measured the route by car, it came to 12.1 miles. Better to have the run go long than fall short.
Leg cramps are always a problem on long runs, so I filled my Camelbak about 3/4 full (it holds 2 liters) with ice water and carried a small bottle of Gatorade and a baggy with a Luna bar, Shot Blocks, and Sports Beans. The Cambelbak felt a little heavy, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to finish the run if I wasn't hydrated.
I followed the 8:1 run/walk pattern for the entire run except about the last 1/2 mile--that was a full out run all downhill. Hydrating on the run was great; I could really tell a difference in my energy level. But mid-way on the back road, I had to pee. There was plenty of woods on either side, but it was level with the road and most of the trees had poison ivy climbing their trunks. I continued running, trying not to bounce too much. Finally an area that looked like it would provide enough cover came up and I took the desperately needed break. When I got back on the road, my ankles began to itch, then my calves, then my arms, etc. But within a few minutes all of the phantom itching went away. I did not have poison ivy. But I was sweating it for awhile.
There is a long, straight stretch of road that is almost level leading up to the turn around point. Seeing the signal light at the intersection gave me a tremendous boost of energy. Almost half way there and I was still going strong. I figured it would be just another one or two 8:1 intervals and I'd be there. Distance can be so deceiving--it was more like 3-4 intervals. That was one long stretch of road. When I reached the half-way point, I realized I was almost out of water.
I passed a restaurant featuring pizza and ice cream less than a quarter mile before the turn around point, so on the way back I stopped in and bought some Gatorade and poured it in the Cambelbak. Then I asked if I could top it off with some water. The guy was so nice--he took me over to the soda machine and said I could fill it with ice or the ice water--as much as I needed. He asked what I was doing and I told him I was training for a marathon. He thought that was great and wished me luck.
The heat was getting to me a bit on the way back. A couple of times I felt like I was having hot flashes. Huge waves of heat would roll off me and then I'd be chilled for a moment. Chafing was also starting to be a problem. The inside of my upper arm occasionally rubbed against the Camelbak and it rubbed against my neck a bit. Next time I'll wear short-sleeves or buy another vest for the bladder. Nathan makes a light-weight running vest that will hold a small bladder. The vest has pockets in the front which would make it a lot easier to reach the food.
For awhile, around mile 11, I was barely shuffling my feet up the inclines. When I reached the crest of the last hill I practically danced like Cloris Leachman on Dancing with the Stars. . I stretched out my legs and let gravity pull me down the 1/2 mile hill. What a rush!!! I finished up at 2:11:48 (10.92 pace) and continued with a 15 minute cool-down walk. The soles of my feet were sore and my hip was aching, too. I drank almost 4 liters of water/Gatorade on the run and ate the Luna bar, SportsBeans and half the ShotBlocks with no stomach distress. Carrying the extra weight of water was worth it. Not a single leg cramp.
The attempt at a post-run ice bath failed miserably. You start out with cool water and gradually add ice until you're up to your naval in ice water. Then you sit and shiver for 20 minutes while drinking a cup of tea or hot chocolate. It's not pleasant, but it does make my legs and hips feel much better (is it because I can't feel anything?). Well, I started out with the water a little too warm, so I added more cold water and began adding ice. The ice melted quickly, but wasn't cooling the water enough. So I dumped the entire bin of ice in and stirred--kinda like making a martini in the bathtub. Had the water been high enough, the girls could have floated and been the olives. The water never got ice cold; just cold enough to make me uncomfortable. I stayed in the tub for about 5 minutes, but finally gave up.
Looking back on the week, I feel like a kid that got away with playing hooky from school. I had not kept up with the training during the week, yet still had a great run. But I know that if I keep that up, I will get caught. So today I'm back on track with a 50-minute walk and tomorrow I will do the 30-45 min. run.
You can bet I'm looking forward to this Sunday's run--it's only 6 miles. I'm trying to decide if I should extend it to 6.2 miles and run it as if I was racing or if I should just enjoy the shorter mileage and run it as usual. If I run it as a race, I can use the time to project what my half marathon and marathon times might be. I'll just have to wait to see how I feel next Sunday.