A couple of "firsts" this week - the first time I ever ran over 13.1 miles, and the highest weekly mileage ever: 29.1 miles. Can't leave off that .1.
The week started off with a simple 3 mile run on Monday. Then I had to think ahead...my long run for the week was 15 miles. I wanted to do it on Saturday, when I would be able to get out at 6am and avoid the heat. However, I have a 10k race on Monday - would I want to run 15 on Saturday and have tired legs on Monday? So, I thought about running the long distance on Wednesday. The biggest issue, was the heat. Due to getting the girls off to school, then driving out to the park, I wouldn't be able to start until about 9 - when the sun is up and blazing hot. I decided to go for Wednesday. And I learned my lesson.
I woke up that morning feeling pretty eager about the run, curious to see how I could handle my longest distance to date. I made several mistakes that day. For one, I assumed I could run it like my last half marathon. I ran that in under 2 hours - I knew I would be a little slower due to the heat, but I still saw myself finishing at just over 2 hours. So, I started out pretty fast, right around a 9:10 pace and held that for several miles.
The first 6 miles of the run was in the shade...not bad. I was feeling good. Stopped at 5 miles to take some chews (my big order of gels is not in yet!!), and drink. After mile 6, I was in the sun and it was 84 degrees. Things started to go downhill. I started to slow down, but I told myself that was fine. It was good to slow down, and I knew that I really should be running around a 9:30-9:45 pace (honestly, what did I know? I've never run that far!). I think I stopped around mile 9 for more chews, and at mile 10 I came across my half-frozen water bottle I had set out on my way to the park.
This is when I started having horrible battles in my head on whether to quit or not. I began to realize how freaking hot it was outside and how tired my legs were. All I could think about was laying down and drinking cold water. I began to stop every mile to drink, and it was hell having to start back up again. I reached my car around mile 12 to grab a nuun out of the cooler. I sat there for several seconds debating on finishing up, but Hal Higdon kept ringing in my ears, "You can vary the schedule all you want, but don't skip the long runs!" (I'm paraphrasing.) I knew I had to finish. I've talked before about having to battle that nagging little voice that tells you to quit - I've never had a battle like this. I was in such a bad frame of mind...my legs were killing me, my feet were incredibly sore, my mind was nothing but negative thoughts - it wasn't pretty.
I kept going though. I would run (shuffle) a mile, then allow myself to stop and drink, and walk for a few feet. Then, I would convince myself to run again and just make it to the next mile. I thought I would never reach 15, but I did. 2:36. Ugh. After reaching my car, I grabbed my chocolate milk, and sat in the shade to stretch. I was soaked in sweat, and quite possibly, overheated. Stretching hurt. Walking hurt. Climbing into my car hurt. I began to get really sad and full of doubt...how in hell am I going to make it another 11.2? Should I just go ahead and cancel? I am anxious about the marathon, but I'm not going to quit. I realize how stupid it was to run that far in that kind of heat and humidity when I've never done it before. It's NOT going to be that hot during the race. I made it through the 15, and went on to run 4.34 on Friday, and 6.67 today (I know...wacky distances, but it all evens out!). My next crazy long distance, I will definitely run on a Saturday EARLY, EARLY and with the group, so I can learn from them.
I'm not going to let that horrible run cloud my thoughts on running and the race. I'm once again eager to see how I can handle my next super long distance - 16 miles in two weeks. It did suck though. : )