Sunday, September 6, 2009

I am Not a Quitter

Yesterday's run stats: Wore tool (hydration) belt; Ran through 2 towns; Listened to approximately 60 songs, consumed 3 GU Vanilla Bean gels, 4 GU Blueberry Chomps, 2 Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes, 1 Hammer Nutrition Raspberry gel, approximately 90 oz. of water, one packet Hammer Nutrition Perpetum, one xl blueberry Slurpee post run; damage report: one red blister now turned blue, one bleeding nipple (How embarrassing!), one badly chafed stomach from my mp3 player rubbing.

Recap: I followed Monday's run with a 10 mile run on Wednesday at the Farmington Canal Linear Trail. The first 5 miles were fairly consistent (8:39, 8:54, 8:57, 8:55, 8:45). The last 5 miles weren't. All 5 miles heading back were run in over 9 minute splits, including a whopping 9:57 mile 9 split. Overall, I finished the 10 miles in 1:30:50, which is a 9:05 pace. I'm happy with the overall pace, but am not thrilled about the slower second half. Another positive note is that I ran the entire 10 miles rather than run-walk-run.
Yesterday was a make-up day for my scheduled 23 mile run. I was supposed to run it a week ago, but for reasons mentioned in my September 1st post, it never happened. So for 4 hours, 4 minutes, and 42 seconds yesterday it was payback time. My original plan was to follow the Jeff Galloway training plan of alternating running for 4 minutes and walking for a minute. I chose to park at the Linear Trail and begin my run there since the sun was shining, and it was hotter than I expected. Most of the trail is shaded, and I was planning on running to the end of it, which is about 9 miles, and back, and then looping on another 5 miles. Off I went, groovin' to my 70's tunes and running on the cinder path next to the paved trail. It indeed was cooler in the shade, and I was feeling good. So good that I decided to run for 5 minutes instead of 4, and then take my one minute walk break. I reached mile 1 near the end of my second four minute run, and Garmin showed me a 9:28 first mile split. Sweet! My goal was to average better than an 11 minute pace, so I was already way ahead of my goal and hardly breaking a sweat. Little did I know that was going to be my only sub 10 minute mile. Miles 2, 3, and 4 were 10:05, 10:08, and 10:05, and I was still running strong. But I was feeling guilty. I felt I was dogging it. I knew I was doing a training run for a marathon and making it as easy as possible. True, it won't be 80 degrees and hot on November 1st in NY, but then again it also won't be a mostly flat run on a cinder trail with shade. So I veered off the trail and started running up a steep hill. Up and down the hill I ran, and along some side streets. I was finally breaking a sweat, and earning my one minute walk breaks. Mile 5 was 10:22, mile 6 slower at 10:48. The hot sun was starting to take its toll, and my splits were all over the place: mile 7: 10:00, mile 8: 10:58, mile 9: 10:59, then a downhill part for mile 10 and a 10:27 split. I was still running on the road and starting to run out of energy. Left brain's negativity was kicking in. How was I going to make it another 13 miles when I was already starting to lose my endurance? I was on a road that led to the trail, and from that part of the trail back to my car was only about 2 1/2 miles. I knew that I had an "out." If I took the trail back to my car, I would finish with a 13 mile run. Left brain was going strong, trying to reason that a 13 mile run combined with a 12.4 mile run tomorrow would add up to 25.4 miles, which is 2.4 miles more than I was scheduled to run. So what if it would be two days combined? I was starting to enter the Twilight Zone. Carlee ( came into my mind. She lives in the same town as me and I had read on Facebook that she was out running an 18 miler. She doesn't take walk breaks either. I was wishing that I'd see her, and she'd be able to give me a kick in the ass and tell me to stop being such a wimp. Problem was, she wasn't around, and neither was anybody else. I was alone, running on the side of a narrow street in the hot sun, sucking down another GU Vanilla Bean gel, trying desperately to find a reason to keep going and not quit. I knew it was time to become right brain strong. If you've read my previous post (August 18), then you know all about the good vs. evil left brain vs. right brain issues we all have. I needed to convince myself/left brain that the last 13 miles were achievable. So as I trudged along, I came up with a game plan. First and most important, suck up the ego and get on the trail and stay on the trail. There's two water fountains that I knew would be my allies. I needed to make sure I was hydrated and able to keep my two water bottles filled. I made a deal with left brain that I would go back to my original plan of running for 4 minutes and walking for a minute. As long as I wasn't feeling any physical pain, I was going to keep running. I knew that my family and you guys were holding me accountable, even though it would be after the fact. Also, my reality check. Running a marathon is hell. If I quit now, I would quit during the marathon. I needed to prove to myself that I had the stamina, the desire, and the guts to run 23 miles. Back on the trail and seeing with other people made a big difference. I no longer was alone, and the four minutes of running with a one minute walk break was working. It was amazing how running for a minute less was such a psychological lift. The four minutes were going by quickly, and my mile 11 through 23 splits were as follows: 10:29; 10:31; 11:04; 10:37; 11:21; 10:56; 10:46; 10:52; 11:01; 11:00; 11:25; 10:50; 10:30. I finished with an average pace of 10:38 per mile, which would be a 4:38 marathon time. Not spectacular, but not bad either.
Tomorrow I'm running in the New Haven Road Race. It's a 20k (12.4 miles) run. Last year I finished it in 1:49:52. This year I'll be happy if I finish in under 2 hours. I still have some aches and pains from yesterday's run, so I'm setting the bar low. I'm not planning to run-walk-run it. I want to suck it up and see how well I can do mentally and physically again.
Fundraising update: I've raised about $1850.00 of the $2600.00 I need to raise for team Autism Speaks. I have three upcoming fund raisers planned, including an "Educator's Appreciation" Happy Hour event on October 2nd. Details in an upcoming post.


Anonymous said...

sorry you didn't see me!!!! I'm so glad you sucked it up. I was only on the trail for miles 1-3 yesterday, so after 7:30 you wouldn't have seen me there.

Kelly said...

Good for your for not quitting! I don't know if I could ever run that far, but it is certainly better to know people are counting on you to do it.

Meg Runs said...

Ugh, sounds like you had a hard time. Lately, the whole "mental focus" idea has been on my mind. It is so challenging to fight off the negative feelings and thoughts, especially when we're tired or hurting.
Sounds like you made it through with some negotiation!
Have fun running today!

Lisa said...

Way to push through it!! You really won a great mental battle. You KNOW you can do the marathon now.


lindsay said...

this was an excellent training run because you didn't quit! so what if all your miles weren't under 11mins, you got the miles and time on your feet done. when the brain revolts, i definitely chalk it up as a big win to finish the run, and with 13 miles to go no less! that's a long run in itself. hope the recovery from this insanely long run has gone well.