Suffice it to say, the 18-mile run felt a like a setback wrapped in achievement and excruciating pain. I was definitely out of sorts for the rest of the weekend, the physical pain coupling with the notion that maybe that was the end of the line for me. Maybe this big, fat train doesn’t go to 26.2? The only way I could see to put this behind me was to literally put this behind me; with mileage!
Monday seemed to come way too soon, but without thinking, I suited up and banged out just over five miles in just under 50 minutes. Once I got the ever-ugly first mile under my belt, the pain seemed to melt away, and the rest of the rush-hour run was quite enjoyable, so far as rush-hour road running goes.
Wednesday: I just could not drag myself out of bed early enough to log nine miles, help get the boy ready for day care, and make the 6:56 train to Philadelphia. That, and my alarm never went off. Hmm…14 years into the same alarm clock, it’s unlikely that I set the buzzer for 4:30 pm purely by accident. There must have been something sinister (and slothful) going on at the subconscious level. Putting in nine miles after an entire day of…life, when I want nothing more than to stare blankly at a TV screen for a couple hours before passing out, is not all that easy. Not unlike setting off on a predawn long run, however, the first step is the hardest. I found that the back roads that I favor for my early morning jaunts are not at all suited to true nighttime running. Death by auto, anyone? Loath as I am to completely geek myself up, I am perilously close to decking myself out in a headlamp and reflective vest the next time I run in the dark. My family would probably prefer a safe geek to a dead or quadriplegic whatever-I-am. Still, the danger was somewhat invigorating, and I put in a pretty solid time for nine miles.
My Thursday five was not happening for a host of reasons, but rather than bagging it altogether, I squeezed it in on Friday. Seeing as the long Saturday run would be dialed down a bit for this week (as is The Higdon Way), I figured this would not be the end of the world. My punishment for skipping Thursday was five miles of ankle-deep puddles and colossal downpours on Friday. I find the former preferable only to perhaps a compound fracture or dengue fever, but the latter was oddly enjoyable to me. I’m strange like that.
A calm settled over me as I lay in bed, somewhat early last Friday night. I felt neither excitement nor dread for what awaited me at 6:00 the following morning. I just…was. This relaxed state stayed with me after my alarm sounded, through the dreaded first mile, and never really left. I enjoyed 14 miles of running just about as much as I am capable of enjoying 14 miles of running. I got out early, but late enough that only the first six miles or so were run under cover of darkness. No excretory emergencies presented themselves. The effort and rhythm were consistent; I never felt like I was either flying or crawling. Most importantly, nothing hurt. I definitely could have continued past the scheduled 14, but that’s a tall order when your finish line is one block from Dunkin’ Donuts.
I think I can consider myself recovered from my last week’s disastrous 18-miler. Entering my peak training week, I’m definitely buzzing at the prospect of logging a 40-mile week for the first time in my life. They say the training is tougher than the race. I agree wholeheartedly, assuming my half marathon experience to date is a fair basis for extrapolation. All of my weekday training will go down in a Fort Wayne park; a pleasant, stress-free venue for running. A little bit flat, but at least nobody can throw unwanted foodstuffs at me from moving cars. Not unless they have one hell of a good arm.
I have been led to imagine that if you can run 20 miles, the final 6.2 falls under “oh hell yeah I got this,” but it seems like so much is left to chance; so many more x-factors. Not least among them, 6.2 miles is ANOTHER HOUR OF RUNNING for me. Probably more like 1:10, at that point. This “wall” I keep hearing about: did I actually flirt with it when I ran the 18? Near-total exhaustion? Onset of leg cramps? Check and check. I have five days to figure this out in time for Saturday’s “dress rehearsal,” and hope I come up with a workable strategy for November 18.
I’m quite curious as to how the taper will treat me. Obviously, I’ve only tapered for 13.1s before, and while definitely felt like I should have been running more, it didn’t drive me insane or anything. I’m told it will be different this time around. Whatever. Bring it. My legs are constantly fatigued these days. Getting up before work to log anything more than a quick four-miler just sucks donkey turds. I miss being awakened by my son early on a Saturday (for the past eight weeks, this has been considered “sleeping in,” ironically), watching cartoons and reading newspapers while Mommy gets a bit of hard-earned extra rest, so I sure wouldn’t mind having some of my spare time back for a few weeks. All that said, I hope you’re eagerly awaiting my “Oh-My-Gawd-This-Fucking-Taper-Is-Killing-Me-I-Will-Never-Finish-This-Goddam-Marathon-I-Am-Losing-All-My-Conditioning-This-Is-Fucking-Bullshit!!!” post, which will probably go live on or about November 10.
Deer Count! 3 (Live Deer Count! 1)
Toenail Update! Deteriorating. My right “piggy (who) had roast beef” is sporting a nail that is pretty much purple underneath. My boy accidentally stepped on it Saturday afternoon, and I almost needed to be peeled off the ceiling.