Well, the good times couldn't last forever. For the last few months everything has been going great. I am ramping up the mileage in marathon training, and doing solid speed work. Feeling fast and strong.
Well, this past week I had scheduled myself for a 40 mile week - my longest in maybe 30 years! Tuesday was an awesome 7 miler, as noted in my last blog (HADOHNM). But then Thursday I was sluggish, and did 5.8 miles pretty slowly. Then Friday I did 8.4 and again felt like poo, and just survived the run. That left me with a 19 miler for Sunday. My legs felt pretty dead but I just hoped a day off would help.
Saturday we hosted a big Christmas party at our house (Yes, I know it is January, but we always do it in January because December is just too busy for everyone) Anyway, it was a fun party with about 30 people in our house. But that meant lots of time on my feet prepping and partying, so by the time I got to bed about 12:30, I was pretty tired. I had a long list of reasons not to do 19 miles the next day:
- Tired legs
- Not enough sleep
- Feels like I'm getting a cold - congested and sniffly
- Heat wave! 80 degrees! (I know - don't hate me)
- At least I didn't drink any alcohol at the party, so I had that going for me
So instead of the normal mostly flat beach run, I decide to not only hit a new record long run for this year, but to do it on my hilliest course - up to Palos Verdes. And did I mention the heat? It wasn't too bad at the start - maybe 58 - but by the end it was 76.
First mile - I feel terrible. Even stopped for a breather when I was short of breath! Unheard of! Second mile, even slower! I am negotiating with myself on how far to work this travesty. Six miles sounds good, maybe 10 if I don't get worse. After three miles I get to the 2 mile long hill that defines this run, and head up it. I get chicked! Twice! Not only that, but these two ladies are cruising up this really steep hill, passing me and chatting the whole way up! So I feel old, slow and pathetic. Yet, I keep going.
Part of marathon training is training the will to JUST KEEP GOING when your body really doesn't want to. Today was that day. I had plenty of chances to turn around, and plenty of reasons, but I kept plugging and putting off that decision, and guess what, it never came! Oddly, I started to feel better in mile 5 as I was climbing the mountain. By the time I reached the top, I knew I would do the whole 19. Sure I was moving a little slower but I felt better and found a rhythym and was starting to have fun.
It was a BEAUTIFUL day, and this run goes along the top of a cliff over the Pacific, along a street with beautiful mansions. I was thinking about the coming Loopfest, and if people were looking for a cool place to run, I would take them here. There are some dirt trails, and the views are amazing.
So anyway, I kept plugging all the way to the turnaround at 9.5 miles, and headed back. It got tougher. My feet were hurting, my hips and back got stiff, but I kept going. I practiced my drinking on the run with my water bottle, and that worked out fine. The last three miles got to be pretty tough, but I didn't fade too much, and considering the heat and the tired legs, I'm calling it a success.
Splits: 8:49, 9:10, 8:48, 9:29(up), 9:19(up), 8:34, 8:30, 8:58, 8:30, 8:42, 8:40, 8:24, 8:50, 9:20(up), 8:18(down) and then Garmin died but I think I finished the last 4 under 9 minute pace (barely)
So a good workout for the psyche and the endurance. I hope it pays off and I feel better in 2 weeks when I do my first 20.