Wednesday, March 22, 2017

WWU - 11+ Miles, Kill Me Now

Seriously, every time I run a really long distance I wonder what in the hell I was thinking.  Because it's hard, so hard.  And at some point during the run, I usually end up going through the five stages of runner's remorse - for this particular run, it started around the 8 mile mark and it went something like this:
  • Denial:  This is getting hard but I've totally got this.  I can do it!
  • Anger:  Dang it, why am I slowing down?!
  • Bargaining:  It's OK, I'll just go a little slower.  I can do this, right?
  • Depression:  Fine, I'll walk this hill.  And that hill.  And maybe a little over there...
  • Acceptance:  It didn't go how I wanted, but I finished the run.
This was Diane's 18 miler, and we had a pretty good plan set for her route and who was going to be running with her.  She and Jeff met at 4:00 am and ran 6.5 miles; I thought they'd be at a certain spot around 5:30 am, so Cary and I met up there and saw their blinking lights in the distance - we couldn't have timed that any better!  We ran another loop, and then Jeff and Cary dropped off, for a total of 11.5 miles (Jeff) and 5 miles (Cary).  Diane and I refilled our water bottles and set off again - I just realized that this route had us running to the access road of the freeway at two different points...that's one way of knowing that you're running a really long distance!

We hit our turn around point and headed back a couple miles toward our still-closed new road, but going that direction, we had a couple of steep hills and we walked them.  I thought I was just getting tired from the hills, but once we turned onto the new road, my legs were done...and we had about 3 more miles left to go, which doesn't sound like a lot until you add them to the 8.5 miles already done.  We'd arranged for Jeff to meet us somewhere along the new road to bring water for our final refill; he was there, and I really, REALLY wanted to get in the car with him and be done with this run.  But I didn't want to abandon Diane.  I also didn't want to interfere with her run, because she was doing great.  I mean, amazingly well - at this point, she was at mile 15 and looked like she could go another 11.2 miles with no problem.

Diane pointed out to me that maybe I needed more fuel than just Tailwind (I started with a 24 oz bottle of it, and refilled with another 24 oz bottle); I'd hoped to make it through the run using only Tailwind, but I guess it just wasn't quite enough for that many miles.  And really, once she said that, I realized that I was just out of energy; I wasn't hurting worse than any other long run...it truly was a fueling issue.  I had some Bolt chews with me so I started eating them but I was still going really slow and I didn't want to mess with Diane's momentum.  We were coming up to a point on our route where there's about a half mile out-and-back jigjag, so Diane took that while I went straight, mostly walking as I ate the rest of the chews.  We figured she'd catch up to me fairly soon.  I started running a little and walking a little and by the time she caught up to me I was feeling better; we finished the run with Diane hitting 18 miles (a new distance record for her!) and 11.15 miles for me.

I got in my car and drove to Blue Baker to meet up with everyone; on the way, my radio played "Hurts So Good" and then "Stayin' Alive" - both songs couldn't have been more appropriate considering how I was feeling!
The face of someone who just ran 18 miles!  Jeff with the assist of not only miles, but extra digits in order to show Diane's new record mileage.
The face of someone who survived running 11+ miles, with soaking wet hair thanks to 100% humidity and fog rolling in toward the end.
 
All the food - in reality, over the course of three hours I managed to eat the bacon, the chocolate milk, the scone, a couple sips of OJ, and lots of coffee.  I really should stop getting two pastries after my long runs, but it all looks so good!
Another game of pass the baby was played with Mason!  He's three months old and is smiling and laughing now. 

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A few people have commented that I must be doing well as I'm not hurting/injured with running so much, and until a couple of weeks ago, I would have agreed with them, but things are starting to hurt a bit - new things, like my knees, which rarely bother me except for when I need new shoes (and I only have 200 miles on my favorite pair, so that shouldn't be the issue); my left shin is also starting to hurt, and my hip flexor on - you guessed it - my left side was really sore a couple of days before Saturday's run.  I started doing some stretches for the hip flexor and was pleasantly surprised to get through the run without it bothering me, nor did it bother me afterward (I'm still doing the stretches, though - insurance at this point).  I do use my BFF Buffer every day on my sore muscles and that helps immensely, but the truth is, running this many miles puts the hurt on my body.

Also in the comments, some people have mentioned that I might as well run a half marathon now.  I briefly looked running a half marathon in April, but after the windy 10 miler a couple of weeks ago, I realized that I didn't want to run a race just because I was semi-trained for it...for me, running that many miles is still quite a challenge both mentally as well as physically, and I've done too many races where I wanted to quit partway through them.  I have a five mile race coming up this Sunday, and I'm actually looking forward to that one - were it a half marathon, I don't think I'd have the same attitude.

I'm trying to be kind to myself when it comes to running; yes, it's a challenge, and a good one as I do enjoy it, but I don't want to end every long run with the feeling of defeat...so for that reason I'll stick to helping my friend get to her goal, and keeping "my" long runs to a more reasonable number for me.

20 comments:

  1. 11+ miles is a long way to run Congrats! I hope you are babying your legs, hips, and feet this week we don't want any injuries starting up. I love how you all support your friend in her quest to train for a marathon.

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    1. Thanks! And we are all pretty impressed with Diane for choosing to train for and run a marathon...no matter how much support we give her, in the end, she's the one who has to run all 26.2 miles, and that is a huge deal!

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  2. Great job!

    You really shouldn't need more fuel than the Tailwind. I've run my last 3 marathons using only Tailwind. Your body can only process 200 calories/hour when you're running, and that's what is in one pack of Tailwind. If you think 24 ounces of water is too much, then try 20.

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    1. While I appreciate what you're saying, "shouldn't" doesn't always mean "won't happen" - and it just wasn't happening with only Tailwind for this run, unfortunately. It's OK, I still like Tailwind, but I probably need an extra bump of fuel, especially with how long I was out there.

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  3. I had to laugh at your stages of running cus I can totally relate. Especially to the "bargaining".

    I hope these little niggles you are feeling in your hip, knees, etcn go away soon and don't become something serious!

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    1. I figured other runners have gone through similar stages during their long runs, LOL.

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  4. Being diabetic I can't even imagine how I would fuel a run longer than a 5k - congrats on getting so many miles in!!!

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  5. Good for you for knowing your body and mind well enough to know that a half wouldn't be a good fit for you! It's so important to stick to what feels good for YOU - you probably wouldn't still be running if you tried to do what others said you should/could do. :)

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    1. You are so right - I have to run in the way that works for me. It took me some time (ok, years) to figure this out.

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  6. Great job! I wish I could get myself back into the mindset of running longer - every time I read one of your long run posts I feel a bit wistful and wishful. And then I just don't do it. Maybe I would if I was helping a friend like you are.

    Smart to listen to the aches and pains - Diane is going to have to run her marathon alone so you need to concentrate on helping as you can without hurting. I know she'll understand!

    If I remember correctly, you don't eat before you run long and though you haven't said how long these runs are taking, I'm thinking maybe you do need something other than just the drink. I always did when I ran long distance - of course I used to hide bananas and pretzels in the bushes and hope a varmint didn't take them lol!

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    1. I wonder, if I was training for a half marathon, if I'd be doing this well mentally, compared to now, when I'm just helping Diane? Time will tell...

      I don't eat before the long runs and your food in the bushes is cracking me up! Did you just drive by, open your window, and toss the food like a paperboy? Can't stop laughing at that image...

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    2. I seriously used to drive the route I was running and find drop points for food and extra water. I did put the banana or whatever in a baggie but you know, that wouldn't stop a varmint! Luckily not only was it not taken by a varmint, it was never taken by another runner :)

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    3. I would be mad if a varmint took my stash! I wonder if deer like bananas...?

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  7. When is Diane's marathon? I can hardly wait for you to be done helping her train--its making me nervous! Laughing at Helen's banana in the bushes. But maybe if Jeff is meeting you for water, he could throw a banana at you? Or maybe a Kind bar (I think those have more carbs?)

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    1. It's in the beginning of May, so I only have about 6 weeks left...I wonder what I'll want to run afterward? Like, I'm getting used to 5 miles on a weekday, will I continue with that? Or will the Texas heat and humidity make me reconsider? Who knows.

      LOL at Jeff throwing food at me. Not a bad idea, actually!

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  8. I am impressed with how great you're doing!

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  9. I am the opposite of you. I have to eat food before long bouts of exercise or I totally bonk. 11 miles is a long run - almost a half! Go you!

    Can you bring something to eat other than the shot stuff while running? Maybe something to munch when you are in a walking phase.

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    1. We only walk for 45 seconds, so whatever I eat has to be simple. And yes - I was thinking that I came close to a half, which is also probably why this run was so hard...halfs are very hard for me.

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