Wednesday, February 6, 2008

No Excuses...

Okay, I have no excuse for neglecting the blog so badly. Well, actually I have a LOT of excuses; it's just that none of them are very good. Anyway, I just thought I'd better tell you about the long runs in the last couple of weeks, including the 20-miler on January 26 and the 10-miler last Saturday. They make an interesting comparison.

First, the 20 mile run.
Might I say that I really surprised myself here. I mean, 20 miles! Holy crap! I ran 20 miles. If you convert this to kilometers, it's like 32 kilometers or something. I find that just insane. And yes, I felt insane while I was doing it. This was the day that me and my running partner, Jimmy (the husband of my TNT coach - both of whom are fantastic, no other way to say it), just ran about using his wrist Garmin, which tracked our mileage via GPS. The next week he told me that he had uploaded the data into a couple of websites and found that we may actually have run farther than 20 miles, so there!

Anyrate, started off okay, but I don't think I drank enough water early on. Combine this with the fact that we ran a bit further than we would like (a bit over 5 miles) before hitting the first water stop, and I found myself with some minor dehydration issues (mostly upset stomach) around mile 8. Again, not a problem itself, but it caused me to skip my running goo (in deference to my poor tummy), thereby depleting my glycogen much faster, and causing me to hit the wall around mile 12 (earlier than the day of the 17 miler where I believe I hit it around 14.5). A compounding, snowball effect, if you will. Hitting the wall for me really means that I've depleted the glycogen stores I have (I was probably not carbo-loading properly either), and I've switched over to fat-burning. During the switch-over, my blood sugar drops and I seriously lose a lot of motivation. In fact, it's a bit of an emotional roller coaster where I just wonder whether I'm ever going to finish and convince myself that I must be the stupidest, craziest person in the world for ever thinking I could do this. Then, a few miles later, I'm fine. Go figure.

Of course, after the switch over, I'm really pretty tired, but I do get a second-wind of sorts. Nothing major, but I don't feel like dropping on the spot. Anyway, nothing much to tell there, just ran to the end. I asked Jimmy to tell me when we got down to .2 miles so I could up my pace and practice finishing strong, so he did and I did. When it was over, I really just felt amazed that I had actually done it! 20 whole miles (and then some).

Of course, then I drove myself home, forced myself to eat some lunch, and fell into a mild coma for the rest of the afternoon. Later I went to visit Scott's mom and grandmother, and found myself walking stiffly. When she saw this, she asked me what had happened and I said, "Nothing, just ran 20 miles. That'll do it." The next day I had pretty much recovered, except for some mild muscle tenderness. Did I mention that I also used Ben-Gay that night for the very first time? Anyway, we'll see how that 20-miler compares to marathon day.

The 10-miler

And then there was last weekend. Nothing much to tell here. I ran a pretty decent pace (much better than my 11:39, 20-mile pace), I think it was like 11:07. To be honest, I had dropped much of the anxiety that I used to feel before these long runs because after 20 miles, what's 10? Just a Saturday morning stroll. Crazy, huh? Just went out, ran my 10 miles, and got on with my day. No massive recovery and only a little stiffness, which had pretty much disappeared by the end of the day. So...

This weekend I have an 8 mile run and then its just a couple of itty-bitty runs (2-3 miles). I try to do these a bit faster. On Valentine's Day, I get to begin carbo-loading (which I'm oddly excited for) and need to start drinking lots and lots of water.

Okay, so that's the long overdue update, which I guess I put off because it was so massive and there was so much to tell. Of course, if I would just stay on the ball... Whatever, I'm running a marathon people! It's all I can do to work and train. I barely even read anymore! I'll try to update once more (at least) before the race day and take lots of pics for everyone.

Ciao for now.

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