Get 'Er Done

I really wanted to do an 18-miler this week, despite the fact that I only made it 14 last week.  I still wanted to skip 16 and go right for 18.  Not the smartest of plans, but I have had a combination of events that have been clipping my long runs. 

First, I think I signed up for too many half-marathons.  Sure, 13.1 miles is good for the legs, but not when you're supposed to be pushing 16, 18, or 20.  And I push way harder during a half marathon than during a long run, so I just don't have it left to hit the extra miles.

Then I had that 5K last Saturday.  I know you all are thinking, uh, why would 3.1 miles derail you?  Well, because I killed it (by my standards), which it turn, killed my legs.  It also meant I gave up a Saturday.  My only way to get in a Sunday run was to run at the crack of dawn before church.  Which is why I only made it 14.5 miles before calling it quits due to time (probably could've been longer if we hadn't been dragging so slowly due to overused legs).

And add onto that, I will be out of town Friday-Sunday next weekend living my other life - art shows.  I design and sell jewelry, and typically do a number of juried art shows, but I cut way way back this fall due to marathon training.  I will probably pick back up in the spring.  So while I might be able to fit in a shorter run in the mornings, I'm usually at the shows pretty early and on my feet all day.  Pretty much, a long run will not happen. 

With all that said, I still didn't have a solid plan for how I was getting a run in this weekend.  But the stars aligned and I got a phone call on Thursday night from a running pal, Pat, asking me to accompany her on a 10 mile run on Friday morning.  At first, I thought, that won't work... I have Paige.  But then I reconsidered knowing my weekend would be busy, and my husband would be working, and I better take the opportunity.  So I contacted my dad, and he was up for taking Paige off my hands for a few hours, so I could get to the lake with Pat.  But I still wanted my 18.  I was just accepting that it would be nice to have company for half of it.

Thursday night, the cards started to stack up against me.  I had a fever between 101 and 102.  I had a headache, sore throat, and major cramping.  Fun times... but I still had all plans to get out the next morning.  Fortunately, I woke up feeling decent and fully capable of running.

I met Pat at the lake at 8am.  It was slightly chilly, and I made the typical idiot wimp mistake of leaving my jacket on.  The lake was quiet, which is unusual.  It is usually packed with runners and cyclists.  I took this picture right before we got started.

Pat and I started out at a pretty good pace, but quickly realized we better pull back.  We had to make a couple of short stops - potty, water fountain, etc.  But we kept them as brief as possible.  One loop around the lake is 9 miles.  And I was still feeling good at the end of loop #1, but it's still hard to pass your car and head back out around.  Pat wanted a full 10 though, so we actually passed our cars by 0.5 mile and then came back to hit the even 10.  I grabbed a quick sip of gatorade, refilled my water bottle, grabbed some sports beans, and headed back out alone.

This is where I started the calculations... since we added on that mile, going another loop would put me at 19 instead of 18.  Hmmmm... I could go 4 out and turn around... maybe?  I don't know.  I figured I'd decide when I got to that point.  I just kept going.  Strangely at mile 12, I hit a wall.  Not a mental one, a physical one.  And not my usual "I'm hungry and need energy" wall.  My legs felt really heavy, my side started to cramp.  It was a new feeling.  I looked ahead and allowed myself to walk... probably less than 20 seconds.  It was extremely short, but shockingly refreshing.  I couldn't allow myself to die that early.  I pushed on.  I was remembering that this was not my favorite side of the lake and if I turned around I would have to run this side again and not get to see my favorite side of the lake.  So I made the decision to just loop it.

The plan was to hit 18 and walk the last mile to my car.  Around 15, I started singing to myself.  It was just a 5K left, right?  The mental struggle started.  I was already further than I had ever gone.  I just wanted this run over.  I wanted to see my car.  I wanted to get in my car.  It was starting to get really hot outside (in the 80s).  I hit 16, and I knew I could make it to 18.  I knew I had it.  But it dragged on F.O.R.E.V.E.R.  Finally, I hit 18.  In my mind, I was envisioning a hat that I could plug into my Garmin that would show everyone else around how far I'd gone.  I wanted to celebrate (almost as much as I wanted to pee).

I started to walk that last mile to my car, but I wanted to get back fast, so I was walking pretty briskly (over 4mph).  My legs were hurting and my car was not getting closer.  I was out of water, I needed to pee.  HELP!  Forget this, I am NOT walking.  At right around 18.5 miles, I gave up on walking.  I pushed it in... I ran.  And finally, I saw my car... at 19.1 miles.  Geesh!  Done.  I was pleased with my sub-12 min/mile pace considering the 1/2 mile of walking and the fact that this was 5 miles over my longest run ever.

I was totally braindead after, but I feel shockingly good.  I'm not hurting.  I haven't cramped.  I ran up my stairs several times with no issues.  My feet ached a little, but that was it.  I didn't even ice.  I did, however, wear my CEP compression socks during the run.  It was my first time ever wearing them during a run... but more on that in another post.

Obviously, I took today off... REST DAY!!!  And a very welcome one.

Good luck to all my bloggie friends hitting marathons tomorrow (mostly Chicago and Portland)!

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