August 6, 2011

My virtual marathon

With no homework this Saturday and Superman out of town, I needed something to occupy myself. I had a long run on tap, and had just received a sampler package of Recovery e21 from Molly over at Bounce Bark Run, which I wanted to try out. What better time than during the virtual marathon I'd promised long ago to complete, but never had?

I'm convinced I had to sneak this marathon up on myself, or like before something would happen to prevent it. I would push too hard and hurt myself, or with all this lack of sleep, get sick. I didn't tell anyone I was running it, as I wasn't 100% certain until this morning that I was. Had I not finally gotten a halfway decent night of sleep, I'm not sure I would have headed out.

But I did get a halfway decent night's sleep, so I put into motion all the halfhearted planning I did over the past few days.
Everything you need for a virtual marathon
I packed my camelback with everything I thought I would need. The plan was to carry about 800 calories with me, figuring I'd be on the road about 8 hours. I took 2 Recovery e21 before I left, and planned to take one every hour throughout. I brought money in case I needed anything, like more water. The weather forecast was for a high of 84, but since I was actually sleeping I did not get out early.

My plan was to run until my Jog Log announced a mile, then walk a short while, then run again. I would fuel while I walked. I also set Jog Log to announce the time, so I knew when to take the Recovery e21. The path was out to Superman's and back.
All packed up and ready to go.
I stepped outside and started Jog Log at 10:32. I'd had coffee with creamer while getting ready, but had not been able to make myself eat breakfast, so I grabbed a couple frozen bananas on the way out. I started walking while eating the bananas, but soon broke into a jog.
I'd planned to take pictures every mile, but that plan went right out the window. This is at about a mile and a half, when I hit the first real bit of incline. I decided early on I would walk up the inclines if they felt hard, to save myself for the distance. I held to that, for the most part.
About mile 2, I started getting sunscreen and sweat in my eyes and realized I'd forgotten the towel I'd planned to bring. I started planning where I could stop on my route to pick up a hat or towel or something to keep the sweat out of my eyes. I ended up at Family Dollar and bought a package of 3 hairbands. I tried to take a photo, but it did not come out well at all.
Mile 3. I'm feeling the heat, and just raced a bit to catch a light. I told myself I wasn't going to do that, but obviously I did.

I headed up into the park, feeling good and happy about my plan. At one point 2 ladies stopped me to ask where I got my camelback. This is the 2nd time that has happened, and as with the first set of ladies, I do not believe these understood I carry water in my backpack. I think they just think it's cute. I'm a style setter, I am.
I hit mile 4 at exactly the one hour mark. That's 15 minute miles, if anyone is counting. I was ok with that, considering my walk breaks and the stop at Family Dollar. This trip wasn't about time (other than for curiosity and to determine who won the marathon kit I'd promised back in April). This trip was about making the distance, and I had all day to do it. Also, I'd been moving steadily uphill the entire time.

I took my first Recovery e21. I'd been eating 2 Almond M&M's at each mile, to maintain steady energy levels. That plan seemed to work well.
I started having a little trouble between miles 4 and 5. I apparently still haven't wrapped my head around how bicycling affects my calves, which were stiff when I woke up. I'd stretched them out but they were starting to complain to me again. My heel was also starting to hurt, which it hasn't for several weeks. Hills always do this to me, or rather this only happens when I run hills. I've run hills and not had it happen.

More M&Ms and a change in gait to try to ease the strain on the tendon in my foot. I started landing more on the inside ball of my foot, and started wondering how I would finish 26.2 miles, when I was already hurting at 5.
6 miles is at the top of the park, and I had a relatively flat section in front of me. I pushed a little to get to the light, after taking this picture. One thing I am happy about is that the majority of the path I chose is shaded. While 84 degrees is hot, it is not completely unpleasant with shade. Without shade I would not have done nearly as well.
Mile 7. More uphill, and hot, and hurting. I knew I would be stopping at a store relatively soon, though. I'd already gone through a liter and a half of water, and was hungry. I'd planned on 100 calories an hour, but did not plan on lunch. The air conditioning alone was something to look forward to.
In the space of half a mile, I forgot I'd actually taken a picture at mile 7.
Lunch turned out to be a turkey and swiss sandwich. I considered eating my almond butter & honey sandwich, but did the math on the number of M&Ms I'd brought and realized I did not have enough fuel to carry me through 8 hours if I did. One quarter sandwich was not going to appease my hunger.

The Advil was for my heel and calves, which were not very happy at all. I took some Advil and ate the sandwich, stretching my calves, ankles and feet all the while. Then I filled my camelback and drank the remaining water in the bottle, made a pit stop and headed back out into the heat.
Mile 8. After lunch I encountered more hills. These will be the hills I have to run next weekend, for the Perfect 10-Miler. Oh, I didn't tell you I'm running a 10 mile race next weekend? Silly me. I was perfectly willing to run the race sore and tired. I was not willing to run the race broken from today's run. Luckily the Advil kicked in and my legs/heel started feeling better. Knowing I couldn't walk all the hills when all there was were hills (I'd never get home!) I slowly powered up the next ones I encountered.

That is the last mile marker picture I took. I was tired by then, and simply forgot that part of the plan. I walked more than just the mile markers at this point, too. At about mile 10, I started to think I was developing a blister on my right foot. Turns out no blister, but it certainly hurt as if there were one across the side of the ball and big toe. I stopped to retie my shoes at that point, thinking I would need to use moleskin next week. The last long run I did in these shoes, I had the same pain. No blister, just pain.

I adjusted my stride again, and started feeling pain on the ball of my foot. This is where I had the deep blisters several months ago, when I blew my feet out running barefoot (which prevented me from running this marathon then). When I tried to stretch my foot, the tendon cramped across the arch. I started thinking maybe I could ride the bike home. This had always been an option, but I didn't start to really consider it until mile 11 or so.

I tossed that idea back and forth for the remaining 2 miles, reaching Superman's at exactly 13.1 miles according to Jog Log.

I said hello to the cats, then cracked open a cold one.
The other thing I'd been thinking about for the last few miles was a shower. I was hot and sticky, and when I wiped my hand across my face I was gritty with salt. I figured I could take a quick shower, cool down, and determine at that point how I felt. I still hoped to complete the marathon.
Much refreshed, though back in my sticky and stinky clothes. I took stock and decided the foot, heel, and calve pain were not to be toyed with. Not and run a 10 mile race next weekend. I hopped on my bike and headed home.

Michele from Baby Weight My Fat Ass won the goody bag by guessing closer to my finish time than anyone else. For the record, if I'd stayed on the time frame I was when I got to Superman's, it would have been a toss-up between her and Rose from Eat, Drink, and be Meiri.
For the record, I do believe the Recovery e21 was helpful, though I will probably test it out on a few more long runs before considering purchasing. I know I ran 13 miles, biked 13 miles, did not ice, and can still get up out of my chair right now. 

Having my bicycle here creates some interesting logistics for the coming week. I have the option to ride to my parents on Tuesday, letting Monkey Boy take my car to visit friends and whatnot. The the other option for Tuesday is to have him drop me off and pick me up, which didn't work out well last time he was home. Either that or he can stay and visit with Grandma and Grandpa, which is a very viable option.

I will have to ride the bike to my parents Wednesday, as it makes more sense to ride to Superman's from there, rather than ride there, ride home, then ride to Superman's. We have our weekly bike ride Wednesday night. I can then leave the bike there and run to my parents Thursday. That is only 4 miles. It's the other 9.3 miles from there to get home I'm concerned about. Doable, if I take it slow and easy. Again, while I'm willing to run my 10 mile race sore and tired, I am not willing to break myself before then.

One thing today has taught me is, while it was ugly, I can certainly pick up and run 13 miles on a whim.


Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

Being able to do 13 miles on a whim is pretty hard core!!!!

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

oh damn! Really doing a half like Rose says is a big deal! kudos to you!