Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Worst 13

January 14, 2013

We did some traveling over the holiday.  Before Christmas, I had my first 13 mile run of this training season.  And it was a good run.  It didn't start that way though.  I thought I was going to have to stop in the first few miles because my IT band was acting up.  My chiropractor had told me if I had to alter my gait in any way, it was time to stop.  

But it's so hard to stop. 

We hit the intersection at mile 5, and something happened.  Either my legs loosened up or they went numb.  But either way, I would be able to continue.  At mile 10, a fellow Road Runner drove by and gave us peanut M & Ms.  That was awesome, and it was just the fuel I needed to finish the run with ease.  I felt really good and  felt like I could have kept going.  

After Christmas went on our trip. I took my running shoes, but running in the snow is something I am unfamiliar with; and I let the ice intimidate me.  I wish now that I would have went ahead and went out for at least a mile...  Alas, I didn't.  I have these beautiful pictures of snow, and I imagine myself running in them like the Rave Runs they have in Runner's World magazine.

This should have been me, although maybe less maniacal 

We made the long drive and arrived home on New Year's Eve.  We were all tired, and it was a quiet celebration at home.  Then I woke up and the new year welcomed me with a fever.  There would be no long group run for me.  I did my best to get well quickly, and I was able to go for a good 3-mile run the following Wednesday.  I worked out some trying not to push it and have a relapse.  Saturday's run was a scheduled 12 miles, but we opted for 13 since Kelly was not with us for the first 13-mile run.  Not only that, but we had only run the 13-mile distance once.  Last year at this point, we had run that distance at least 4 times before our first race.  So off we go for 13.

In my mind, I see myself as this elegant runner.  I am graceful and powerful and I picture myself 50 pounds thinner.  In reality, my face is the color of a tomato, I am hacking up phlegm every 20 minutes, and I am not above going into the bushes to do my business and wiping myself with wet leaves. (gross)  My point is everything was going well until mile 8, then things started falling apart.  My chest started to hurt.  I couldn't cough up the congestion as easily as I had been.  I was slowing down.  In the last two miles, I asked for an extra walking interval.  Kelly and Paula were very accommodating.  I stretched.  I focused on my breathing.  But I was not rocking this run by any means.  We kept going.  My hips were tightening up.  And my chest hurt.  And all I wanted to do was finish.

It's such a fine line and it's a constant mental battle.  Am I quitting or do I need to stop?  And if I stop, is it only because I want to?  Is it because it's too hard?  How do you trust yourself to know when all you want to do is stop?  How do you know you're stopping for real reasons, not ones that you trick yourself into believing?  I can't stop because I will feel like I failed.  

"Do you need to stop?" Kelly asked me.
"I need to finish." I replied.
And we kept going.  

I was falling behind.  And with every walking interval, my legs were fighting me.  We were finally within a half mile from Paula's house where we started.  Kelly's watch went off for us to take our walk break, but I kept going.  I knew at that point if I stopped again, I wouldn't be able to start again.  Kelly gave me a thumbs up and let me go.

And I ran.  I found a stride, thankfully, and I kept running.  I was going to make it.  I was going to make it to Paula's house and finish what I started.  Then both of my calves started with spasms.  Less than 200 yards to go!  I refused to stop; I was going to make it!

Then I turned a corner, and a car was coming, and I had to stop.  And that was it. It was as if the record scratched and everything else did too.  I didn't run again, but it was just a short walk to her driveway.  Still it was frustrating!

Me, Kelly, and Paula after the 13 miles

The run ended, but my heart didn't.  My heart rate was very slow to come down.  I was hurting.  I have never felt that bad after a run.  Kelly drove me home home.  As soon as I came in I laid down on the floor to stretch, but it ended up being me just laying on the floor.  And my heart rate still wasn't back down to a normal level.  I was going to go upstairs to lay down, but I didn't make it upstairs.  I made it to the couch, and literally crashed for 45 minutes.  And I had no energy for the rest of the afternoon.  It was awful!

Needless to say, I was kind of freaking out because the Galveston Half Marathon was at the end of the month.  A bad run can really mess with your confidence, and this one was definitely messing with mine.  It was by far the hardest 13 miles I have run so far.

I could only hope that race day would be better. 

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