Saturday, October 20, 2012

Consequences of running 20 miles

Last Saturday I just got up and ran 20 miles, seemingly out of nowhere. If you ask me, that's pretty freaking phenomenal!!!  I still can't quite wrap my mind around it or understand how I even pulled that off, but the fact remains, I did it.  I should just accept it and I most certainly shouldn't question it!

The problem was, up until this weekend, I wasn't making this marathon a priority. I needed to make it a priority.  So, the decision was made: Saturday was the day I would go for a long run.  Jack Rabbit Park Slope was hosting a group training run for free, and I desperately hoped I'd wake up in time. Running miles upon miles all alone can often be a sad, lonely, boring, and sometimes painful endeavor.  Plus the moral support of running with a group can help you maintain a steady pace and keep going when you otherwise would've given up a long time ago.  I overslept, per usual, and barely made it on time.  I jogged all the way to the store and caught up with the group just a couple blocks into their run - whew!

I'm so glad I went with the Jack Rabbit crew. Being with the group made things far less stressful; it was dramatically easier to simply follow someone else rather than tracking my own route or worrying about getting lost by myself.  It was great to have the company to chat with along the way. To be honest, if I had attempted that long run by myself I probably would've ended up walking.    

Perhaps most importantly, running with the group helped me learn to pace myself. We started at an extremely slow, very comfortable, almost laughably easy pace, but that was perfectly okay with me.  I knew we still had a long distance to go.  In the end it was great because it allowed me to really push myself, pick up the pace and sprint and push hard at the very end. I was stoked!  All told the 18 miles took us just about 4 hours, but when you account for all the bathroom stops, stops for pictures and delays at traffic lights, I have no idea what our actual pace really was.  Then I jogged the remaining mile back home, for a daily grand total of 20 miles.

The next day I was feeling so jazzed and optimistic from my long run that I decided to run to brunch.  SO another 4.5 miles were put on the books. Yay!  Only problem is that the additional miles did me in with blisters. Although my legs felt great and my cardio could easily handle that additional few miles, my feet were not ready to hit the pavement again so soon. I ended up developing blisters within blisters from the day before - If you've never experienced this phenomenon, you are lucky! It is PAINFUL! 

I took the proper precautions for blister care, popped and drained them, and covered them in bandaids. Then I put on shoes and the blisters immediately reappeared. They wouldn't dry out no matter how many times I drained them!! Meanwhile they started to hurt and I developed a blood blister.  I started walking funny and my shoes started to cut into the backs of my feet. Next thing I knew my feet were all cut and scraped up, and I could barely walk properly, let alone go running!!!  It's terribly discouraging and disheartening when you are feeling physically fit and healthy, motivated and ready to run, only to be debilitated by something so minor as a little blister. It' amazing how something so seemingly inconsequential can completely handicap you for an entire week. 

The pain persisted for an entire week.  Finally on Friday morning I noticed that it was starting to heal. Just in time for the weekend and another long run! Woohoo.  Good thing I got this long run out of the way so my skin had plenty of time to heal and toughen before marathon day!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tapering... or not...

Apparently this week is supposed to be my highest mileage week out of marathon training.  It's supposed to be the toughest and most taxing to date, where your mileage "peaks" and then you being to "taper," or cut back on mileage in order to let your body recuperate so you're well-rested and ready to go come race day. I understand all these concepts, it's just the execution piece where I'm lacking... if I spent as much time running as I've spent sitting around eating ice cream, I'd be very well prepared.

So glad that my grand total mileage for this week so far is 4.5 miles. Does running to the subway count????  If you count my frequent morning dashes to the subway, the total is about 6 miles.  Next week I'm supposed to start tapering. Wonderful.  I have no clue what I'm going to do.  That's all well and fine if you've actually been putting in the work and building mileage up until now.... but when you've barely been running at all,  "high mileage" is all relative.  To me, at this point, 10 miles would be "high mileage." But there's not much to cut back from 10 miles.  Everyone else is starting to taper and I'm just starting to kick up the miles.

This marathon is going to be a shit show (pardon my French..) I may end up sleeping in and not even making it to the race.  First of all, even IF I wake up in time, around 3:30am, which depends on IF I get to bed early the night before, and IF I make it to the ferry in time, and IF I manage to find my way to the starting line (given my record of lateness, those are all HUGE IF'S...)... even if I manage to make it to the starting line, then I still have to actually run the entire thing.

I don't know what I was thinking when I registered for this marathon, or what I was thinking when I figured I could get away with not training for an entire MONTH.  I haven't run any races this entire year.  2012 has been one of the saddest years in my running career to date. and now I'm supposed to run a MARATHON!?!?

The point was, I wasn't thinking. That's the problem.  This is a disaster.

I have no fueling strategy. I have no clue what I'm going to wear on race day. I have no idea how I'm going to stash and carry my gear. I have no clue if anyone I know is even coming to watch and cheer for me.  I have no idea how to pace myself. I don't know how or when to properly hydrate. I don't have a plan for race day morning.  I don't even have a strategy for the night before. I have no idea what I'm going to do.  I have 26 days left to sort all this out.

If I'm not going to put in the miles, figured I might as well prepare myself in other ways, so I've been reading lots about marathons lately.  Over the weekend, I googled "how to train for a marathon in one month."  The results were discouraging at best.  People such as myself who claimed to be "fairly fit but currently out of shape," who haven't been running and wanted to complete a marathon but only had 1 month left to train, posted messages, wondering if they were crazy/stupid, or if they could reasonably pull it off..... the grand consensus was that these people were out of their minds.  Most of the responses guaranteed that these individuals would seriously injure themselves, possibly incurring long term serious debilitating injuries.  Some people went for it anyway.  Some people pulled it off!  They completed a marathon with little to no training, preparing for 30 days or less, and they lived to talk about it!  (There is still hope!!)

There are some crazy people out there... guess I'm one of them.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Blind Determination

sooooo I am SORE from Pilates this morning. good grief. It dawned on me today that I haven't done anything remotely active in nearly 3 weeks... and yes I am supposed to be running a marathon in 1 month. 29 days to be exact.

I've been living in blissful ignorance for a long time now. Somehow I'm not even worried about it.  I refuse to recognize the magnitude of exactly what I'm about to undertake in just 4 weeks from today... I'm refusing to let the reality sink in that I am in no way shape or form even remotely prepared to run for 26.2 miles without stopping. Yet, I still have every intention of going through with this and doing it, and although I'm clearly not properly prepared, I still believe that I'll be able to do it.

Even if I just go out nice and easy, and just jog the entire race. Even if I have to stop and walk for part of it... if it happens, so be it. It would be completely mortifying, but can't get mad at myself for failing at something when I consciously chose not to prepare for it.  Besides I just want to experience this race - my goal is simply to have fun. I don't really care how I do. (of course I say that now... ask me how I feel after the race and I'll probably be kicking myself for not giving it my all.)

Tomorrow I'm planning to go for a long run. It's absolutely necessary at this point; it's my "do or die" moment.  If I can go out and run 12-18 miles comfortably and relatively easily, with minimal discomfort, I'll feel much more confident that I can tackle this marathon. If I can't... well... I will be in for a VERY rude awakening... but I'll worry about that only if it happens.  We're not even going to  entertain that possibility.

I'll conquer this marathon, propelled solely by blind stupidity and sheer determination.  It's amazing what you can achieve once you set your mind to something, and it's incredible what your body can do when you let your mind take over.  Marathons and endurance events are as much about mental toughness as they are about physical fitness. Perhaps even more so. My mind is ready to handle this race.

26.2 miles doesn't seem that daunting. I've done it once in my life I can surely do it again no problem.

This race will be difficult for sure, and I most likely will not be able to walk the next day, but I am going to do it. No matter what.