Monday, August 29, 2011

Redemption Run

I’m happy to report that my 16.5 mile run this Saturday went well. That electrolyte disaster on the NCR Trail was a real blow to my confidence, but I’m getting my groove back. On Saturday I did 16.5 miles in the heat and felt a-okay. I drank Nuun through out the run and had an ice-cream sandwich recovery snack, yum. In fact, I’m a little concerned because aside from a dull pain in one of my arches, my legs felt fine after this run. Perhaps I should have pushed a little harder.

Valencia will be replacing Dublin on my marathon calendar. It will be a cheaper, less stressful, and more ecologically sound trip for us. I’m not convinced that it’s the best option for my first marathon, but right now it’s what works best for our budget and my work schedule. The cut off is five hours, which is at once daunting and merciful!

This Sunday I’ll be running a half marathon in the city of Sabadell. I’m not familiar with the city or the course and it’ll be fairly hot so I’m just going to use this race as a test for my fueling/hydration plans. I’ll carry my handheld filled with Nuun and use water stops along the way.

Upcoming Training looks like this:

Monday: easy 6
Tuesday: easy 4
Wednesday: 7 miles, 5 at tempo pace
Thursday: easy 6
Friday: easy 4 / swimming
Saturday: swimming
Sunday: Half

Monday: swimming
Tuesday: easy 6
Wednesday: 4 and gym class
Thursday: easy 6
Friday: easy 4
Saturday: 17
Sunday: 3 and swimming

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Indecision: Should I Change My Marathon City? Or Seeds of Doubt

All doubt begins with a lousy long run.

The Monday after a wonderful week of running barefoot along the shores of the Outer Banks, my father and I headed out to the North Central Railroad Trail for a fifteen miler. It wasn’t as hot as it had been in Baltimore, but we started late and it was definitely humid. However, neither the heat nor the humidity suffice to explain what happened to me that day.

I didn’t feel too good from the get go, not awful, just sort of sluggish and at about the four-mile mark I actually burped up some vomit. Gross, I know, but that’s exactly what happened. I pushed on though, I knew that this was my only chance to get a long run in over vacation and that I had to finish. We stopped at the bathroom at the seven-mile mark, but strangely enough, even though I’d been sipping water the entire run, I couldn’t urinate. Nothing came out, which is really odd, because if given the opportunity to use a bathroom I pretty much always can. I guess I should have realized that this was a bad sign, but we carried on. My dad chatted away, and seemed unscathed by the distance or the humidity. The man is incredible!

The next 8 miles were the hardest I’ve ever run. I was thirsty, but drinking water didn’t help. My legs weren’t tired, my knees or hips weren’t sore, but my body was just moving through molasses. At mile 13, I tried to urinate again, this time amongst some sticker bushes in the woods, but no luck. I told my dad I had to walk for a few minutes and then we began to jog the last long mile. I could feel the chafing setting in and our shoes were literally squishing with sweat. When we stopped running, I wasn’t exactly relieved. I was actually quite terrified. I thought if 15 feels this bad, how will I ever run 20 or 26.2?

Once inside the air-conditioning of 7-Eleven, where we stopped for water and Gatorade, I didn’t feel better but much, much worse. My hands were shaking and I thought I was going to pass out. Instead of telling my dad this, I just sort of tried to “keep it together” in the store and on the expressway riding home. But, about five minutes from home I said, “Stop the car!”, opened the door, and puked my guts out.

There was no hiding my condition from my mom, as soon as I walked in the house—all pale and purple-lipped—she said “Get up in bed!” And I did just that. Under about three blankets, I stayed in bed and shivered and worried that my training had simple fallen apart. That my body had finally, and fully, failed me.

Fast forward a week. I’ve put things in perspective. I’ve realized I should have had some sort of sports drink on the run and reapplied body glide, but the shadow of self doubt still remains. And the thought of flying to Dublin, paying for three nights in a hotel, taking two days off from work, and possibly failing miserably scares the hell out of me. Should I really travel so far for something that my body seems so unprepared for?

And thus, the seed of doubt began to sprout. Yesterday, on my first day back to work, during the still sleepy month of August, I was surfing the Internet and saw that, lo & behold, I have an out! The Valencia Marathon, just three hours away by train, will be held three weeks later than the Dublin event and it’s on a Sunday so I wouldn’t have to take off from work. Which means I’d be less stressed, because you all know I get kind of crazy about having to ask for time off. And less stressed about flying and wasting Charles´vacation on my own personal misadventure. I’d also have three more weeks of wiggle room! Maybe an extra long run…
But then again it’s always good to stick with a plan. And I did like the idea of running a friendly marathon in cool weather, in a beautiful green place, as opposed to a very a rather dull marathon without many other women or slow people, just lots of serious, speedy Spanish men…

So I guess I’ll torture myself with this debate during this week’s training runs!