Monday, March 5, 2012

In The Long Run: Feeling It

Midlife Rambler and TripleT talk about another long run in this week's installment of "In The Long Run"...

Full disclosure: I was pissing my pants about this Saturday's 3 hour 10 min run. About 9 days prior to Saturday's run, I was told I had a mild case of Plantar Fasciitis. I didn't know you could have a 'mild' case of PF: I likened it to being "a little" pregnant. 

I see 7 needles in my leg. I think he had at least one in my foot, too.
My fab chiro has been bending and twisting my leg in unholy ways in addition to poking my 'overactive' muscles with needles and taping the Hell out of my left leg and foot for the past week+. The previous week, I managed 10 miles on my long run (WITH PF!), even though I cut the run short about 50 minutes.

After two more visits to the chiro, I was feeling much better and texted Coach on Friday: "How long should I go tomorrow? Last weeks 2:35 or what's on the schedule -- 3:10?"

Her response: "Shoot for 3 hours."

What I heard: "2:35 and I won't give you a beat down. 3 hours will earn you my verbal praise."

I thrive on validation. 

On a 33 F day, with wind ranging from 20-23 mph, and snow falling, I headed out on a 3 hour run. 

A three. Hour. Run.

From stride #1, I felt fine. All of my left side issues, from the foot on up, weren't noticeable. I had no discomfort at all. I told myself that dealing with some kind of injury and a shit-ton of wind, 12 min/miles were 100% perfectly okay. Just keep moving. For three hours.

And then I ran.

I made it just under 7 miles north to my turn around point: Plaza Del Lago. There is something so mentally satisfying about setting a goal for when you can turn around and head home and on Saturday, Plaza Del Lago -- a cute little plaza in the 'burbs (Winnetka? Wilmette? Kenilworth? I surely don't know...) was it. I actually hit the Plaza before the timed half-way point (1.5 hours), but I assumed I'd get slower as time wore on, so I permitted myself to turn around there 'early'.

My mind was everywhere. But as the miles on my Garmin increased, I kept having this thought: 

If you don't get this reference, you're too young to be reading this blog.
I'm gonna make it, afterall. 

I ran, man. I ran and ran and ran. It snowed almost the entire time I was out, and it was WINDY. At one point, circling the area around my home, I caught myself in a street-level window and saw that I was bent in half, fighting the wind. While in the half-way position, I checked out the watch and saw that I was moving (or not moving) at an impressive 17 miles per hour!!! That was a mighty, mighty wind for this 118 lb. gal, friends!

I didn't feel it physically on Saturday. I was plopping along, trying to just stay on my feet for three consecutive hours. Distance doesn't really matter in my training, I guess. The idea (I think...I don't really ask a ton of questions. I just trust the shit out of my trainer and do what she tells me to do unless it makes me puke, then I stop) is to build endurance. I'm guessing it's a build of muscle endurance, but honestly for me, it's mental endurance. I knew on Saturday that if I couldn't complete three hours, my 26.2 in May was doomed. 

99% of what I felt on Saturday was mental. I kept thinking of the people I know who have finished a marathon and the fatigue and pain they suffered thru during those last 8 miles or so. I thought about new blog friends who have talked about their 26.2 experiences. I thought about the people I know who have completed full Ironman events and imagined what it must be like to run 26.2 miles after biking 112. I thought about every jackass that I've caught on the news who just decided to hop into a race and run 26.2 fucking miles ... sometimes barefoot... on a whim because they wanted to see if they could do it (without training for it). All I could do was convince myself that if they could muscle through the fatigue and discomfort and pain, I'd have to be able to do it too.

I ended up running 15.75 miles in 3 hours -- my farthest distance (and time!) to date. Prior to that, my farthest distance was about 14.1 miles at my first Half-Marathon, which took me about 2 hr/40 min to do complete.*   

I had a lot of cards stacked against me in that three hour run (I had dealt all the cards to myself, FYI, but none the less, the outlook was bleak when I left the house). A lot of inner monologue, a fairly good (albeit 30 min. short for the three hour run) playlist, three Power Gels and a mini-Snickers carried me through it. Once again, I knew that stopping (just because I was tired and bored with running) would only bring short-term relief and a weeks worth of defeat, which would set me up poorly for the next longest run.

For the first time in a few weeks, I felt like this marathon thing -- well, it may not be pretty, but it's going to get done. I was feelin' it!

Similar but different:  I felt it mentally on Saturday, but Sunday was a different story entirely. Mother of Christ, my knees and hips hurt. Both sides! Nothing sharp and shooting, just that creaky old pain of knees and hips that can't stop asking me why the fuck I made them work that hard for three consecutive hours. Anyone that tells you that running the double digits doesn't have consequences the next day is a lying asshole. You should punch them right in the face, assuming your knees have enough left in them so you can run to safety.

I wonder if Midlife Rambler is creaking as much as I am? Probably not, because I am, afterall two weeks older.  But see how his run went by clicking here. (Rumor has it that if you scratch that yellow 'here', you may be able to smell Gin...)

*Yes - a Half Marathon is 13.1 miles, unless it's the first time the event is being put on and the course wasn't accurately measured. It was also in the woods of a park and there was no finish line in site. My friend and I let our doubt get the best of us (at what I figured was about 13 miles!) and started walking.  My second Half Marathon was significantly better -  I finished it in 2:10:09.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Braving the wind and snow! Great way to get in 3 hours! AWESOME job, I am impressed!!