Again, for this morning's long run, my alarm went off at 3:45 am. I did not want to get up. I had been sleeping so well, and really, it was a great night of sleep overall: fell asleep quickly and easily and slept solidly through the night, which doesn't always happen the night before a long run. But after laying there for about five minutes, I rolled out of bed and eventually out the door and met the group at 5 am.
This morning's weather was a huge improvement over the last few weeks. While it was still humid, it was much cooler and we had cloud cover for most of the morning, so that helped a lot. And I was feeling great. I was aiming for 18, as was the woman I was running with, and within the first 10, I felt good. I had carried some GU with me, and was taking half of one about every 3-4 miles, so between miles 10 and 13, I was feeling really good. Yeah, my legs were starting to ache and my new shorts were rubbing me wrong, but those were minor complaints.
It was almost immediately after 13 that the good buzz wore off and nothing but weariness and pain took its place. My partner was feeling good so she helped to push me to 15, but by then I was really feeling spent: my knees ached, my feet hurt, my breathing was becoming labored, and mentally, I was spent. We walked for a bit, but as soon as we resumed running, I started to hurt again. She helped me to get to 16.5 and then I'd had enough: I was just feeling so worn down and my legs were killing me, so when she asked how I was, I just started to cry.
I felt like an idiot for crying, which made me cry some more, but I was phsyically hurting and I was mentally beat. You'd think that the mind would win out in this one and tell the body: "Look, you only have 1.5 miles left!" But the body was winning with its retort: "Yeah, but I've already run 16.5 miles!" I told my partner to go ahead without me; I would just walk the rest of the way on my own -- I knew the way and I didn't want to hold her back. She reluctantly left me behind (I had to reassure that it was okay to do so) and promised to come and pick me up once she'd reached the meeting place.
After she left, it was just me, my tired body and my disappointment, and the latter two were really a drag. I walked to the last water station (mile 17) and then about a tenth of a mile past that, I spotted the coach's car as she pulled to the side of the road for me. Grateful for the ride, I again started to cry once I got in (I also felt really stupid and embarassed, which, again, just made me want to cry more).
Thankfully, the coach was SO nice! She told me not to worry about it: She said she'd picked up many runners (one guy, 3 weeks in a row) and had herself once walked the entire last 3 miles (hoping all the while that someone would come and get her). This made me feel better. So did her other comments about how difficult the distance is and how hard the sport is in general, and she told me I was being too hard on myself and that I shouldn't beat myself up over it. But she also asked about my sleep and my diet as of late -- both of which could use some revising. She said that I really have to be thinking about the long run 2 full days before it, and I know that my Thursday night drinking and eating have probably hurt me, as well as the poor sleep on those nights (she emphasized that it's what you eat and how you sleep 2 days before the race, not just the day before).
Bowling is done for me (I have a class Thursday night that starts this coming week), so I think I'm gonna make a good, conscious effort to minimize drinking of all kinds -- this is hard for me, but it starts today (when we are scheduled to go out tonight with friends). But I also need to be a better eater and sleeper as well. So, I'll keep all of those aspects in mind throughout this next week. Next Saturday, I scale back the miles, but then the next weekend is my 20, so I have to begin thinking ahead to that.
For now, I'm tired and I have a pounding headache (might be a touch dehydrated), so I think I'll go rest now.