Sunday, November 25, 2012

Longest Run Yet!!

(I guess that this post title can be used a few more times in the next couple months...points for originality!)

Sunday Runday was a HUGE success today!

3 loops of Central Park.

18 miles paced at 9:45.

Minus the fact that I stopped to buy a water around mile 6 and didn't realize until 2 miles later that I had forgotten to restart my Garmin.

That, makes me sad. As if I can't validate those 2 miles. Sigh.

Overall if I am honest with myself, that run was TOUGH (an hour after the run though after a coffee I was all "oh I could totally run more RIGHT NOW" pfffttt oh how we forget the struggle).

Anyways. Up with the sun this morning and in the park, ready to run around 8:45 - a brisk day, high 30's with some awesome wind gusts. Mmmm perfect conditions. Or not.

For "breakfast" I ate a full pack of the Gu Chomps, Peach Tea since they seemed to work so well yesterday. 2x the caffeine is a fantastic way to start the day! Should also note that I barely drank anything and forgot to bring a bottle of water for the commute in. Rookie mistake. I mean hydrate for 18 miles? Why would that be important?

I got off at Columbus Circle and another mistake off the bat was deciding that I didn't need to stop in the rest room. Instead I set my Garmin and was off. Stupid excitement to run.

I tried to settle in a comfortable pace not too fast and was feeling good but had a feeling that it was going to be a tough day. My legs were not fresh and oh yeah I worked out on my rest day Friday...I swear from now on I am paying attention to that rest day. It is clearly built in for a reason. It wasn't hard persay from the start but I knew that I would have no problem backing off on pace (as opposed to last week when I did my 15 at 9:14 and felt fresh as a daisy for some reason).

I pretty much started to zone out. I knew I had some serious mileage to conquer and just aimed to be comfortable. After about 4 miles though, I realized, that I should have definitely used the bathroom before starting. My goal now was to get through those next 2 to return to that restroom. Those 2 miles involved a lot of "clenching" and just saying a prayer to make it.

I finished the first loop, stopped for the bathroom real quick and a bottle of water so that I could take a gu and took off again. This is where I forgot to restart my Garmin. A couple miles later oh my lord I felt nauseous. I definitely thought that I was going to throw up. And as I looked down to check where my pace was out I realized, I forgot to start my Garmin again. Total sad pants moment.

I'm not sure if it was the gu, the water, the combination of the two or what, but my stomach did not agree. It also could have been the fact that I hadn't had any "real" food since about 8pm the previous night but whatever it was, it sucked.

Going up the east side was a relief. Cat Hill definitely is not that bad anymore. I actually smile every time going by the cat. However, going up the west side was torture. As you rounded to the west side going down hill the wind started gusting at you and did not stop the entire time going up Harlem Hill. Which, really isn't a hill, more like a never ending mountain. At least when your legs are tired. It is basically...okay you are going up...oh look you are almost there just get around the bend...oh s**t it doesn't stop around the bend...still going up...will stop around that one...or not...and so on for what seems like forever (at least when you are looping the park multiple times!). What an awful experience that must be for newbies. At least I know that it isn't ending but if you aren't familiar with it, then it must be such a tease thinking it is over but in reality having like another mile of going uphill. I can appreciate it for the fact that those hills make you stronger than straightaways and flats; but my buns were feeling the burn!

Around mile 14 or so things got interesting. It was at this point that mentally I was falling apart. I wanted to quit the run. I was tired, and nauseous again after another gu. I had given myself a mental high five when I passed the half marathon point but that joy was short lived.

I was feeling aches in random places, my knees hurt, the soles of my feet ached, my shoulders were stiff, my hands were frozen (even in gloves), my legs were numb (I was wearing a running skirt) and I convinced myself that I was a moron for deciding that I needed to do a marathon, that my body was going to fall apart before I even had the chance to run it. I am pretty sure that I kind of yelled at myself out loud a couple times to pull it together. And then I wanted to yell at others that I was marathon training and that was why I probably looked like death. (seriously when you are doing a distance run I wish there was a flashing sign you could wear that announces your mileage in case you look like you are struggling!).

I was convinced that I was running 12 minute miles. My legs felt like lead and as though I was shuffling along, not running. I refused to look at my Garmin for a while because of this.

Dramatic? Perhaps. But also this internal debate got me through the next couple of miles and before I knew it I had less than 2 miles left. And now my thought process turned to - oh only 2 miles, you can do this in your sleep! Whoever thinks 2 miles is a challenge is an idiot.

Haha, yes. My train of thought was awesome. But, I got through it. I told myself to just continue to run. It's a training run just run, who cares what your pace is? (clearly, I do, and I need to stop trying to "race" these runs...that they are to be run slower for a reason).

As soon as I finished all I could think of was just HOW BADLY I wanted coffee. I wasn't even that excited that I did 18 I was more excited to hydrate and warm up. My body was aching and I wanted to get home to a piping hot shower. I am eternally thankful for the Starbucks at Columbus Circle.

I got caffeinated, ate a banana, chugged a bottle of water and felt like a new person by the time I got home. A few hours later, I am definitely not as still as I was feeling last week, which is good! I thought with how achey I was feeling during the run that I was going to be hit hard with stiffness.

Overall today I learned a few things:

- I still have a long way to go to figure out the optimal fueling strategy for me for this marathon

- Never skip the pre-run bathroom break

- The marathon will most likely get pretty mental; I need to keep remembering that after the fact I always feel as though I could have run more

- Trust the training plan. Rest day Friday is there for a reason. Saturday's run sets you up for your legs to be a little tired on Sunday's run. If you decide to ignore rest day then you are going to want to kill yourself on Sunday. Stop feeling guilty about a rest day.

- That I genuinely love this. The training, the mental toughness required, the sense of accomplishment I have after each and every workout I conquer. I am legitimately proud of myself.

Bring on ING Miami. 2 months. I've got this.

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