This past Saturday, Sarah and I went out to Ft. Wilderness to do our 17-mile marathon training run. She's way faster than I am, and I was grateful she was willing to run at my slow-poke pace. All in all, the run went really well. The weather was great, so was the conversation, and I'm walking with no major leg issues.
So why bother with a blog post?
I made some stupid mistakes (not) planning for this run, and this is where I document stupid mistakes. Except stupid relationship mistakes. No one gets to learn from them but me. But I digress...
I have to start by saying I started fighting off a cold last Tuesday, and was sick enough Thursday to take Nyquil before bed. Friday, I made chicken soup for dinner.
Mistake 1: chicken soup and a chunk of bread isn't exactly enough fuel. I had trouble at a 5K a few months back after a light dinner and not enough breakfast, and actually suspected Friday night that soup for dinner would come back to haunt me.
I also didn't really get a whole heck of a lot of sleep on Friday night, but I think it was plenty to get me through.
Saturday as soon as we set out, I could tell that my lungs weren't at 100%. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of keeping a slow enough pace, but my first mile was under 13 minutes. That's been my story in the past few half marathons too.
My plan was to have a Gu every 5 miles, but I only had 2 at the house so I switched that to a handful of Craisins at 3, 9, and 15 and Gu at 6 and 12. I packed water and a water/gatorade blend. I carried water in tiny bottles, and drank the gatorade when I got back to the car at 7 and 13. Had I had a god enough dinner last night and maybe an extra granola bar in the morning, I think I would've been ok.
Our last 4-mile stint was pretty much where my wheels fell off. By mile 14, I was getting pretty weepy and whiny. Sarah was amazing about talking non-stop about whatever could get a reaction from me. I managed to hit most of the intervals, and rallied a little bit in the last mile after she gave me one of her little energy chew things.
So, you know, fuel. It's still an issue for me, but at least not as bad as the time I almost died in the gym training for the 10-miler!
Also, another "I thought we were past this" problem that came back to haunt me: squished toes! I've been in "man shoes" for my past four pairs -- one Brooks Glycerin 10, two pairs of Glycerin 11, and I recently moved into a pair of Glycerin 12. This pair actually a size smaller. The gal who fitted me said that the smaller size was more appropriate for me, and plus they were out of the size I usually wear. This is the first time I've run more than five miles straight in the new pair, and they definitely gave me some trouble. I thought I was getting a "sock wedgie" after eight miles, so I stopped and readjusted. Five miles later, I had to stop again. Sarah told me to loosen the laces all the way down, and I did. About a mile later, I realized my foot felt WAY better.
Sarah said she always ties her shoes looser for long runs, and I've heard that from other people before. It's never been a concern for me before, because the last few pairs were apparently too big. So I'm going to assume that loose laces will save me. The Space Coast Half is two weeks away (minus a day), and I think I'll know after that whether it does the trick. If not, I'll buy a pair one size bigger and keep these for shorter runs. I love them - they are light, they hug my feet, and they are basically PSU blue - and I'm not ready to give up on them.
As my RunKeeper rolled over to 17.00 miles, I choked back a sob. I was overwhelmed by exhaustion, pain, pride, and happiness and just couldn't process it all at once. Despite the pain - or maybe because of it - I feel good about the marathon. I pretty much went 10 miles on feet that hurt worse than they have in two years. If I can mitigate that by half, and can somehow get it to hold off until mile 16 on race day, then I know I'll be able to last.
This marathon thing. Wow, they weren't kidding when they said it's a mental game. There's also a major reason this isn't a thing normal people EVER want to do. I was running (and walking) for 4 hours and 9 minutes straight. And that's just a training run! I have 9.2 miles more to add! And I only have one more long training run (plus a few half marathons) between now and then!
55 days to go...