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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Some Salt Left for the Tears

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.


Marcy said...

((((HUGS)))) I agree with coach, you shouldn't beat yourself up over it. The longest I've ever run is 13 miles and I know how I've felt towards the end (not exactly the greatest. Both physically and emotionally) so the idea of running 18 miles would probably make me feel the same way. Shoot, there have been times when I've run 5 miles and wanted to cry because I just wasn't "in" it. Running is humbling for everyone at some point or another :-)

Jess said...

I remember almost crying many many times from sheer mental and physical exhaustion when I ran my marathon last year. I think it happens to everyone from time to time. Marcy's right, running is humbling.

teacherwoman said...

Hydrate yourself and rest, Jess. I think you did a great job. And I know it is super hard to be transition from a regular schedule to training mode; cutting back drinking and getting enough sleep, as well as the proper nutrition. Believe me, I struggle with this as well! I just have never ran more than 9 miles at a time... so the idea of 18 to me is very far out there...
*smile*... this is will make you stronger!

Ryan said...

If I remember right, you started to be a real pain when it came to drinking around this time for your last marathon. If you did it then, putting up with Thanksgiving, Chrimmus, AND New Years, you should be fine to scale it back now. Expecially with bowling over.

Firefly's Running said...

(((Hugs)) Hang in there, Jess. You still did awesome! You will rock the 20 miler next week. I have had those weeks myself, but I usually rocked the next week.

Way to go....and get some electrolytes in your system!

Neese said...

that is a wonderful attitude and goal to conclude with you can do it! :) And although the miles brought tears look how far you DID run holy cow...nice job XOXO

ws said...

I feel a long comment coming on...oh well, you deserve it for lifting me up when I'm down.

Yes, it has been cooler the last few days BUT it is still a far cry from good running weather. So, despite the respite from hellish humidity, the heat index is still in the mid-80's and the weather is still impacting your efficiency. So great job on your run - think about the first 16.5 and forget about the rest.

Marcy is right, running humbles all of us. It is just you (your body and mind) and the road. No one can help you. It is a battle somedays just to convince my brain to let my body do what I'm telling it to do. The marathon distance is meant to break us down. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Not that the half-mary distance isn't tough, but you and I and everyone else that has trained for and run a full marathon knows that something happens a few miles after #13 that changes everything.

I have the same issue with crying which is why I try to avoid it at all costs. I have to agree with the coach too. Even when I was bike racing, what I did Friday foodwise and sleeping had a huge impact on Sunday morning.

Have a good Saturday and get rid of your headache!

Wes said...

Jess, you did a great job on the 18. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being mentally, physically, and emotionally spent after such a long run. I remember my first and only 16 miler to this day. I have NEVER been so worn out in my life. You are a rock star, girl! Walk as much as you want. 18 is not a walk in the park :-)

L*I*S*A said...

Don't do anything rash. Perhaps rather than cutting out drinking, you should cut back gradually. ;)

JustJunebug said...

shes ABSOLUTELY right about the 2 days before. i learned that last year. so my thursdays are my eat and rest days. plenty of sleep on thursday nights honey! and unfortunately no beer.

as far as the bailing at 16.5 sweetie dont sweat that AT ALL. it happens to the best of us. i was worn the F out at 8 this morning and the only reason i prevailed was because i am the GD pacer! UGH. what the hell have i gotten myself into?

you're doing SO great Jess! i am so happy when i read about your successes and today WAS ONE OF THEM!

find the positive in everything and you're going to do so wonderfully!

big hugs honey!!

robtherunner said...

Stay positive and know that it gets better. I have been humbled to a walk many times. Hang in there!

Tom said...

I'm with the gang--who keeps agreeing with Marcy--that you had a demanding run, poured yourself into it, and are going to emerge stronger than ever.

Everything your wise coach told you is true. You've got 18, 20, and more great miles in you.

We'll be right behind you when you conquer that next 20 miler.

The number one thing you can do now is take care of yourself.

J~mom said...

We put so much into these runs and when they don't go the way we plan it's so dang disappointing. First of all you rock for getting up! Start with that! I mean I didn't do it today!! Then you ran 16.5 miles!!! Holy cow, I have never run that far! I am supposed to run 6 tomorrow and I am already thinking about it. It's ok to cry!! I cry watching teeny bopper movies so no worries there! :<)

Great job! Go buy yourself some more crop pants! ;>)

scott keeps running said...

sometimes it's funny how these ├╝ber tough runs are the ones we remember most, and the ones we look back on to push ourselves even further. great job sticking with it like you did. :)

that's good advice about the 2 days before thing. i'm going to keep that in mind too. sounds like you have a very supportive coach.

Erin said...

I tried to leave a post yesterday but it didn't stick.

I wanted to remind you that a couple weeks ago you ran 17 when you only set out to run 14. Now that is something to brag about. Hang in there, this is part of training. You all run more than I do in all my 30 years combined. With all sports there are ups and downs in the training cycle. Next week will be better.

miss petite america said...

looks like we had the same kind of long run this week. and i'm sure everyone on here will say that those days happen to them too. knowing what you know now and feeling what you feel now, i know that your 18 miler will kick ass!

Mendy said...

Ahhh... Jess. The others are right. Some of the best long distance runs are the ones a week after a crappy one - which means that 20miler will be fantastic for you.

You're doing sooo fabulous getting out there and knocking out the mileage, and even after the pains, fatigue, mental toughness. Keep it up! You're so strong at this and nothing will get in the way of that Chicago Marathon for you!

Just12Finish said...

Coach was right - you accomplished a lot by that time already.