TWENTY WAS PLENTY…
This past Saturday I did my first proper run of 2016… and it was a bit of a doozie.
Let me backtrack for a minute first. For the past two and half weeks, I was out of town with Lindy for an extended Christmas/New Years holiday.
We spent time visiting my family in Atlanta and then drove up to Nashville for a week visiting friends of hers and checking out the sights.
During our time in the South we were alternating between lounging around, hanging out with friends and running around like crazy checking out museums and live music. Good stuff.
Both types of activities resulted in me placing my normal dietary considerations on hold… okay, more like tying up my considerations with a rope and throwing them off a cliff screaming… but why split hairs.
I did bring running clothes with me, but our fluctuating schedule, winter weather and aforementioned consideration tossing got me a tad off track. I only managed a pair of runs on our entire vacation and neither was more than 5 miles. This kind of left my conditioning a little bit less conditioned than I’d like.
Which brings up back to the doozie.
We’re getting into crunch time with my marathon training with Team To End AIDS (T2). The LA Marathon is only 5 weeks away (Valentine’s Day for those keeping track) and these final long runs are designed to make sure we’ll be properly prepared to endure the entire 26.2-mile trek.
Our distance on Saturday was going to be 20 miles. As our coach JC pointed out, most people in LA don’t want to drive twenty miles, let alone run it.
This was going to be a 4+ hour runfest. Oh, and did I mention it was expected to rain the entire time courtesy of El Nino. Fortunately, Mother Nature did us a solid and the skies stayed dry. I just hope she isn’t saving that downpour for race day.
One alteration I made for the run was to go with a slightly slower pace, which had me running with my old pace group “Team Roadkill.” The upside was I got to spend several hours catching up with some friends I hadn’t run with in a while.
Still I was expecting some “suck” from this run. And it didn’t disappoint.
While I felt pretty good for the first dozen or so miles, after that I started feeling some tightness and fatigue creeping in. Fortunately I had a 10-pack of running buddies alongside to keep me motivated.
The moment of truth, however, came at mile 15. We were approaching the last major rest stop for the run. We had food and water present and a site assistant there with a car asking if anybody needed a ride to the finish.
One of the other runners in our group was battling a cold and strongly considering calling it a day. A big part of me would have been happy to share a ride home with her. Besides, 15 miles was a good amount to have run, especially given my holiday hiatus.
But the group encouraged my sniffly compatriot to continue and so I followed suit. And off we ran for the final 5 miles.
Given the grunts and groans from the rest of the group during the next few miles, I could tell everyone else was also starting to hurt. Misery does indeed love company.
Now at about the 18.75 mile mark the wheels did finally come off for me. I let the group run ahead for a bit while I tried to catch my breath with a little unplanned extra walk break.
After a minute or two of walking and stretching, I did manage to get my legs back to running. And I was happy to see that the group had paused up ahead to let me catch up (they rock).
Now I’ll just say that final mile was rather unpleasant for me. And by that I meant it sucked. Flat out sucked. I was hurting, exhausted and all talked out. But I finished the 20-mile run, which is all that matters.
And I’ve got about a month left to continue working on my conditioning in preparation for race day. So, I think I’m in a pretty good place.
Of course I should also mention that we’ve got our longest marathon training run (23 miles) coming up in less than two weeks.
So I guess I get to “do the doozie” again.