Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Twenty-Miler that Wasn't

This weekend I needed to run twenty miles.  I set monthly mileage totals and weekly long-run distances, and this week was my first-ever twenty mile run.  Running that far is a milestone; for many first-time marathoners, that's their longest training run before the big day.  I wanted it to go smoothly.  I wanted to have that experience.  I didn't make it, and I'm pretty disappointed.  Here is what I learned.

  1. I need to be physically rested for a long run.  This means that I cannot do anything unusual the day before.  Saturday, Jenn, James, and I worked a cross-country meet at Haganstone Park.  It was fun, the weather was perfect (and cool!) and I also stood for four hours in dead shoes, frequently squatting or bending down to retrieve shoes, receipts, and the occasional train engine.  Then this morning I left the house and did not discover until arriving at the parking lot that I had left my water bottle on the counter.  I drove back, got the bottle, and ended up starting about thirty minutes late and frazzled.
  2. I need to be mentally prepared for a long run.  This means that when I set the date and time, it cannot change.  Saturday at the meet the weather was so cool that I decided I'd run that afternoon instead of waiting until Sunday morning.  We got home, I got all gussied up in my new running shorts, and it started to rain.  So, I ate ice cream instead.  
  3. The Garmin can only tell me my pace, not if that pace is a good  choice.  This is the most important lesson for the day.  I started off at a good pace, but since I typically run negative splits (get continually faster as I go), the pace was too fast for such a long run.  I sped up, got tired, slowed down, sped up some more, etc.  That really threw me off.  I should have seen my first mile's pace and noticed that it was too fast; instead, I saw it and felt proud of something that I could not sustain over twenty miles.
  4. Dehydration and pew aerobics don't mix.  I got pretty close to passing out during the Prayers of the People.  I hadn't rehydrated well enough and I suddenly felt hot and saw pretty pink spots.  I sat down and got some water as soon as I felt steady, but yikes!  Good thing we were in the back of the church with all the other toddler parents.
So that's this week's long run.  I ran 18 miles and felt completely drained afterward, both physically and mentally.  It's not the run I planned, but it probably does have its place.  The last few miles were really difficult.  I had to push just to finish, and my body ached immediately.  I was at my limit.  Lately that hasn't been the case, so there's value in the challenge.  Right?

1 comment:

  1. For whatever it's worth, I think that this is actually a valuable part of your training: learning that you can get to a really, really low point physically and mentally and still climb back out.