Sep 12, 2006

15 miles.

I ran 15 miles this morning.

cue your best lewis black voice:
"What the f did I do that for?"
/end cue

Ok, here's the story. I have been trying for about a month to get my long run distance past ten miles. I couldn't seem to break that barrier. It culminated with a 9-mile run where I hurt so bad afterwards that I took ten days off from running.
Here's what would happen: All my runs were at Rockland Lake. It's a very picturesque setting to run in, and a lap around the lake is a cool 3 miles. This is great, because I can easily cache water and gatorade in my car, and just recharge on every lap. The problem with this is that it's too easy to bail out on a lap because things were too hard. This is what kept happening.. I'd go out to run 12 miles (4 laps), but by the end of the third lap I've been telling myself "no freakin way" for the last two miles. And I would bail.

It is quite discouraging.

My schedule is to have long runs of 13, 15, 18, 20, 20, and 15 miles before ski season starts. It's now mid-september and things are getting close. Yet, I was stuck at 9-10 mile long runs and as of this week I am officially falling behind (the 13-miler was supposed to be last week.) I knew that I had to run at least 12 miles or else my schedule would be thrown off and it would be very difficult to catch up, especially with those monster 20-milers. So today, I set out to run 15 miles. Why? Because if I went for 15, I could bail out on the last lap and still reach my goal of 12 (which would replace the 13-miler.) But the trick is this - I had to make an honest effort to get 15, or else I'm just fooling myself. So I set off to run 15, but thinking I'd probably bail out at the end of the fourth lap.

The first lap was uneventful. Took 40 minutes. I had to piss like a racehorse by the end of it, though, and I finished off a gatorade. "Endurance Formula." High tech, eh? These pit-stops take no time at all, I was running again by minute 41.

Second lap seemed to go by very quickly. I settled into a 13-minute-per-mile pace and was in a zone with a smile on my face. Didn't even bother stopping at the car at the end of this lap, I just kept going.

Third lap was also easy, but I started to feel the results of running so long. Specifically, I get a sharp pain in my right pinky toe. No idea what's up with that. Otherwise still smiling - I even remember waving to a little baby when I ran by. Started to think that I might actually go the whole 15 miles here. The cool air was affecting my breathing. At the end of this lap, I had to pee again like it was nobody's business. I slammed a 16-oz gatorade and started on lap 4.

By the fourth lap, I had basically decided that I was going to go for the fifth lap. There was more pain now, but it certainly was manageable. Knees were starting to ache a bit. Coughing a lot, even though it was warming up. And my left forearm started to tingle, which is another thing that happens to me that I have no idea what it's about. Ran into my pit-stop, drank half a gatorade, and started lap 5.

I did check the time when I passed the half-marathon point - 13.1 miles. I was at about 2:52 - not bad for a fatso. The temps were nice and warm now, yet I was still coughing here and there. Pain at every step, and every step was worse than the step before. I pushed on, remembering all the quotes from "Ultramarathon Man." Pain is your friend. If it didn't hurt like hell, you didn't put in enough effort. That kind of stuff. I put in a bit of a finishing kick for the last mile. Switched the ipod to some metallica and ran a lot harder, which after 14 miles was still pretty damn slow.

Finished in 3:15. I tried to raise my arms in celebration, but they only half-responded. hehe.
I sat down to stretch and noticed for the first time that every time I breathed, I felt a little bit of chest pain. No idea what's going on there, but it subsided after five minutes. When I finally got up 30 minutes later, I couldn't walk normally again. It was a project just walking the 30 paces to my car.

Helluva feeling of accomplishment, and I'm kind of glad that I am caught up. My next scheduled run is 15 miles in two weekends, so I'll go for 18. I'll post a complete report when it happens.

-steve

Start Time: 9:45, about 57º, finish 1PM, about 70º.