Monday, September 17, 2007

Long Run Week 1: Humble me Lord.

Saturday 14.0 miles/2:04:44/8:55 average pace

The overall time and pace on this run is way deceiving. It was terrible. If I didn't stop my watch during walk breaks this run would be about 20 minutes longer. It was awful. I was fucking owned.

It has been a couple days and I'm largely over it, but it would be unfair for me to gloss over this with my usual positive "I'll get em next time!" BS. So I'm going to dig up a little of the despair I felt during this run to share with you all. Basically, it really sucked. I ran one of my favorite courses- Lafayette Moraga Trail- on Saturday, and the weather was perfect the whole time- 60's with some clouds and plenty of shade. I had a nice breakfast of oatmeal and a banana, after my standard spaghetti dinner and a plenty of sleep the night before. I had planned on running 15 miles rather than the scheduled 13, because, you know, I'm smarter than Pete Pfitzinger (sarcasm). So this all started off just lovely.

Unfortunately, I was off from the beginning. The course is an out and back paved bike path of just under 7.5 miles- it gradually and sometimes not-so-gradually (aka steeply) climbs for the first 5 miles to St. Mary's college. Then it drops down and flattens out to the turn around. Well, I have run this trail plenty of times- I love it. The hills never really get to me, in fact, I have used the word "imperceptible" to describe the five-mile incline at the beginning. Well, I was perceiving the shit out of it this time. In fact, I believe I pushed too hard up that incline, refusing to walk until I got to the top at St. Mary's, that completely did me in. I haven't run really any hills lately and started off my run just a little (ha ha) cocky. My first five miles were: 9:10, 9:04, 9:07, 9:11, 9:09. That is not insane but it was too fast for me on this course on this day. I could tell my heart was pounding, and I really really wanted to take a little walk break, but I just keep pushing till the top. I figured I could recover there and enjoy the rest of the run! Not a terrible strategy, but on this day it was not to be. At the top of that hill, I was spent. Done. Finished. I am probably talking out my ass on this, but I believe I had lactic acid built up in my muscles and I had essentially "hit the wall."

I did take my break at the top of the hill, then put my head phones on and tried to relax a little and keep the pace easy. I was struggling and tired, but I kept going. Miles 6-10 were 8:54, 9:12, 9;05, 9:10, 9:04. I was drinking a lot of water, suddenly I just was dying of thirst! Weird because I was well hydrated going in. I took a couple walk breaks but was doing "ok." I climbed back up the back side of the St. Mary's hill, and took another little break.

From here on out it was a full-on Suck Fest. I had nothing left. I have literally only felt this bad running before one time, and that was in my first marathon. :( I just couldn't run. I was running like quarter-mile or half-mile at a time then walking. I had to take my headphones off because I just couldn't deal with the distraction. I wanted to quit. I did not have my cell phone with me (dumb) and anyway Zach was out on a bike ride, but I have never wanted to call him so much and have him pick me up or something. But it was impossible, I was out there alone and I had to get back to my car. I wanted to cry. I wanted to lie down and go to sleep. My last 5 miles are funny because like I said it was a freaking walkathon: 8:28, 8:30, 8:32, 8:08. As a frame of reference, this run should have been 15 miles, and I ran 14. Which means I walked about mile. BOOOOO!

I did call Zach as soon as I got back to my car, and I did cry. Then I called Maritza and cried and complained some more. She was actually out running (smart girl carries her cell phone!) her 18 miler but still had plenty of sympathy for me. I was pretty upset and a little pissed. I had no idea what went wrong, my "lactic acid" theory has sort of developed since then on much reflection. It was weird though. And it was not the distance, which I guess makes me feel better, because I was feeling like crap at like mile 10. Obviously I can run 10 miles so I guess this run was just "special".

Whew, well that was carthartic. I'm over it though, and anxious to get today's run out of the way. I am sure that Saturday's suck a thon was a fluke, and I'm just going to try to learn from it and move on. So, Moving on!

I actually had a really great weekend after that. Sunday morning Zach and I got up really early and went down to watch the Tri for Real Triathlon! It was cool to watch the transitions and just to see the whole race play out. I have actually NEVER been a spectator at any event, so it was really cool. And I got to meet 21st Century Mom!! Check out her blog for her race report- I can tell you she did great and makes it look too dang easy! Here's a pic:
(yes, it is officially wear-my-boston-marathon-jacket-everywhere season!)

Later that day I went up to Heather Farm Park and swam in their outdoor pool. I did 1250 y in 25:59. It was really relaxing and fun, a great way to balance out my terrible run. Last night I found a couple new pics online from our tri:

Allright- TOTAL miles for the week: 36

PLUS 13.9 miles bike and 2000 m swim :)

Moving on!


21stCenturyMom said...

You have my deepest empathy on that run. When I was marathon training I did the parking lot to park and back run often. It's good because there is water in a couple of spots and a potty at the 1/2 way point. It is hard, though. You are running uphill pretty much the whole way out. It's a subtle uphill for the most part so you don't realize it but uphill it is. And you know what? Some runs just suck. It happens. Fortunatly it is the exception rather than the rule in most cases.

Thanks again for coming out - that was great!

Kevin said...

Sometimes you bite the dog, and sometimes the damn dog bites you Jen. You will get over this run, and will maybe have another one like it some day. It's just the way it is. Your training is amazing! This too shall pass. Hang in.

jahowie said...

Even on one of your "bad days" you still would kick my ass!! I feel really slow right now. I'm sorry that you had such a hard time though. I know how bad you must have felt.

Donald said...

Yeah ... long runs are that way sometimes. Hopefully not too often, though. Usually I can just chalk it up to a bad day, and the next one is better. Think of it as a character-building experience for your next race.

Chris said...

Been there, done that. The first week after the Lean Horse 50K, my "long" run on Saturday (exactly one week after the race) was "only" 8 miles. My three runs before that that week had been fine...slow but fine. But that eight miles absolutely kicked my ass. The most difficult eight miles I've ever run. I absolutely could not get my body to go at the right pace; I was either going faster than I wanted or not at all and going too fast was killing me. Then, two days later I ran another 8 miler and it was great. Take the good with the bad and hope the good are more plentiful (which they usually are).