A year ago, I had a great twenty mile run and then the wheels fell off at the marathon. Yesterday, I had a tough twenty-two mile run where everything seemed to go wrong. Maybe the opposite will happen and things will click on marathon day?
Here is the good, bad and ugly of yesterday's run:
good- I was actually looking forward to it. We had run two twenties already and the last one felt GREAT. Since so many training plans include twenty-two miles instead of twenty, I wanted to push it a little.
bad- Laura and I couldn't work it out so we could run together. I had to start super early because my in laws were coming down and we had plans for the afternoon. Laura couldn't go until later as her husband was working at the hospital. I wasn't looking forward to running that far by myself.
good- The weather was PERFECT. There was a heavy marine layer that lasted all morning. The temperature stayed in the low 60's. I wore a tank top and my arm warmers (hey... the low 60's is still chilly to me). I never got hot enough to need to take them off. I really hope that the marathon has the same weather.
bad- When packing up my iPod in the morning, I noticed that the battery was low. I could not find my iPod charger nor could I find the car charger! I hoped that I had a few hours of charge left. I started the run without music in order to save my battery for the part of the run I needed it the most.
good- I did remember to charge the Garmin.
good- My left shin, which has been giving me the most trouble, felt great as I started.
bad- My right shin was twinging a little bit.
bad- I had planned on running around Fiesta Island for an extra five miles. There was a bike race getting ready to start. I had visions of the scene in Practical Magic where the guy gets nearly run down by an entire peleton of cyclists.* I would have to recalculate my route and I am usually pretty bad about calculating mileage in my head.
good- Fiesta Island sucks anyway. I figured I could just run around various parts of the bay until I got the right around of mileage.
bad- My tummy was starting to bug me around mile 3.
ugly- Around mile 5, my tummy issues started getting serious.** Since I changed my route to go around Hospitality Point, I wasn't exactly sure where a restroom was. I probably should have turned around and used the restroom at Hospitality Point instead of venturing along the bay.
very ugly- I was having flashbacks to two of my big races. I had to desperately wait in a porta potty line at the Rock-n-Roll Marathon and I searched frantically for a potty during the AFC. I ran around Mission Bay Marina looking for a restroom. They were all locked, reserved for marina tenants. I walked up to some men asking where a public restroom was. I must have looked horrible, because one of them offered to unlock the restroom for me. OMG. Thank God. My situation was very bad.
bad- I was feeling pretty icky when I got back on the road. Oh my... I had a LONG way to go. I hadn't even run six miles yet.
good- I turned my music at this point. I was ready to stop hearing myself breath and veg out to some tunes. I hoped that I had a few hours of charge left. Luckily, I did.
bad- When I opened my Gu, I didn't tear the top off well enough so I had to squeeze through a tiny hole. As I tried to improve it, Gu came out everywhere.*** I had a sticky mess all over my hands. I tried to get it off with water, but felt sticky for several miles.
good- The next few miles were fine. I was able to keep my pace at or below race pace (9:10) for most of the splits.
bad- I started getting REALLY tired during mile sixteen. I don't think my last Gu had kicked in. Also, my legs were tired and were starting to cramp a bit. I had planned on picking up the pace and shooting for sub-9:00 for the last five miles, but I was having doubts. I ran mile sixteen in 9:44, my slowest split of the day. I ran the next mile in 9:20. I thought that I might need to reevaluate my goal and just try to finish all twenty-two miles.
good- I was able to kick it into a higher gear after mile seventeen.
bad- The effort I was putting out in these last miles felt monumental. I would be pumping my arms and feeling like I was sprinting only to look down at the Garmin and see my pace around 9:10 or higher. I started to seriously reconsider my sub-4:00 goal. It will be a huge effort to maintain 9:10 for twenty-six miles. I started thinking about other goals that I could shoot for.
I really felt like I was hitting a wall. Around mile eighteen I was really wondering why I decided to push it to twenty-two miles instead of twenty. I started telling myself that I could hit twenty miles and then walk the rest. But I had to get back to my car anyway...why not run it? I was really struggling, but I still didn't want to give up the goal to keep those splits under 9:00.
good, very good- I pushed through the negative self-talk. I pushed myself hard. I found what I needed inside me to run a great last mile. I am proud and happy to say that I ran mile twenty-two in 8:35!!!!!!!
Overall, I ran twenty-two miles in 3:23. That is a pace of 9:13. That is a few seconds per mile off a sub-four pace. While I didn't feel as good as I did a few weeks ago, and my confidence isn't quite as high, I did run twenty-two miles at a pace that is two minutes per mile faster than my pace for last year's marathon. I know I can finish this marathon and finish strong. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be trying to figure out exactly what my marathon game plan is.
*The character survives the barrage of cyclists only to be run over by a truck.
**I had made my self a nice batch of peanut pasta for lunch the day before. I hadn't plan on eating a big dinner. Kenny made the kids macaroni and cheese and I stupidly ate a bowl of it. I am sure that either of those meal choices may have contributed to my digestive issues.
***I know there are some of you who are giggling right now. Shame on you!