September 26, 2010

I. Don't. Suck!

Today was the big 11-miler up the Euclid Creek Park hill.  I decided not to try another 13 yet because a) I've failed at 13 two weeks in a row, so figured I'd better downsize, and b) I wanted to tackle that hill again. Superman ran it with me, and pointed out it is the longest run either of us have completed, to date.  Yes, I ran 11 miles!  (I'd crow about Superman's achievement too, but he's a machine and just runs and runs and runs.  No fuel.  Little water.  Just a running machine.)

I absolutely have to fuel.  This time I changed my fuel plan to every 3-ish miles (approximately 40 minutes), instead of every hour.  I think that was the big difference that helped me hit this run. 

I started out a little rocky, with my ankle and knee refusing to loosen up for the first mile +, but that is kind of standard now.  After I got all warm and loose, it went a lot better.  I fueled just before we hit the park, and did not struggle through the hill nearly as much as I have in the past.  I fueled again at the top, then zoomed back down.  I must have worked my trunk, the way it complained on that downhill!  We made a pit stop at about mile 7 and I fixed my shoe, then we were off again.  

I've decided the fabled runner's high is when I'm out in the middle of a long run and think "I can do this semi-long run tomorrow," or "I can add another mile or two to this!"  It is insanity of the highest order, but something in me says "this isn't too bad, why not add more?"  Luckily the insanity doesn't last long, or I'd be hobbling wherever I go!  It may or may not have been during one of those runner's high moments when I admitted out loud I plan to run a marathon.  Not 2011, because I want to feel I'm actually racing a half, instead of just trying to finish.  I plan to run the park up and down for a total of 15 miles, for my winter long runs. I figure it's likely to be plowed and salted more than the sidewalks or roads in my area, and that will get me in shape for a strong 13.1 season next year.  Maybe 2012 will be my marathon year...

This run didn't hit me as hard as others, and I didn't start feeling tired until the 8th mile.  Superman has a tendency to run ahead of me, either to let pedestrians by or because I'm too slow. He's not trying to outrace me, he just has the legs of a 6.4 foot frame instead of a 5.6 foot frame. I several times was able to push a bit and catch him, until we hit the bottom of the park.  I wasn't sure I needed it, but fueled as planned just after the park, and we started the final leg home. I was able to catch him one last time before I started running out of steam around mile 9.   

My legs were very tired on the last 2 miles, which included the final uphill.  My headset died halfway up the hill, and I worried that would contribute to a dnf.  I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and focused on my breathing.  By the final mile, I was chanting "almost there...almost there...almost there" in time with my breathing.  My legs were very tired and I had to tell myself a time or two that I would not stop.  It was more a reminder than a fight to do so.  I did not have that "I don't know if I can make it home" feeling at all!  Superman was in his own world and pulled ahead.  I tried to push and catch up with him again, but had nothing left in the tank.  He finished a full block ahead of me.  

Afterward, we popped inside so I could grab my wallet, and walked another almost 2 miles to see if the Marc's near me had compression socks.  They didn't, but Drug Mart did for $16 (including tax).  Maybe not as fabulous as the $65-$100 ones in the running store, but good enough for me!  I'm wearing them now and hoping they will help my legs be ready for 22 miles on the bike tomorrow.  I'm scheduled to paint baseboards...

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