run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Long runs suck ass...

It was do or die time. My last chance to get in a 20 miler before the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon on November 8 and come hell or highwater, I was getting it done. As you might recall, I've been having some issues with getting my long runs in. Issues as in... wimping out on all 20 milers this training period to date.

This week was going to be different though. I mean, I was planning on instituting the guaranteed trifecta of superstitions to get this run in the books. I haven't employed any of these old standards in this training period, so I figured... completing all three of them for one long run was destined to bring me success.

And this, folks, is where the run went wrong before I even woke up on Saturday morning.

Superstition #1: 2 slices of Mellow Mushroom pizza for lunch the day prior to the run. There is some kind of mojo in that springwater in the dough, dude. It's magic. Magic, I tell ya. Sadly, instead of Mellow for lunch on friday, I had a baked potato and salad. Which, is apparently not magic.

Superstition #2: Wearing of the lucky Michigan State T-shirt for the run. This goes back to my first 20 miler ever. I was visiting April in Memphis and we embarked on a 20 mile training run... I was wearing that t-shirt and it officially became my "lucky" t-shirt after that. I've worn it on many a long run and it never lets me down. After a frantic search on Friday night in my closet for the shirt, I had almost given up on finding it... until I decided to check one last place... Yup. There it was. Buried under 22 wet, used washclothes in my clothes hamper. Awesome. T-shirt was a no go.

Superstition #3: Consuming salty, salty popcorn the night before a race. At this point, I just decided to screw it. If I wasn't going to complete the trifecta... no need to even bother with the damn popcorn.

I arrived at the park around 6:30 on Saturday Morning. (Suggestion: Don't watch Law & Order: SVU at 5:30 am before going out into the darkness to run in a secluded park with a known creepy dude "Big Stick Guy," even if it's the only thing on television besides the P90x infomercial). The sun was just starting to come up during my first loop in the park... and I started to find my rhythm around the second mile. I was feeling good and I was telling myself that I was going to knock this 20 miler out no problem. I was going to own that 20 miler. After 5 miles in the park... I ventured out into the streets, through subdivisions, golf courses and eventually to the glorious part of my run: Madison Creek Road.

So, any one of you could drive down Madison Creek Road on Saturday morning and think to yourself... "hmph... just a bunch of fence rows that could use some cleaning out and some random cows and horses... no big deal." But, on foot, Saturday morning... it was like I was in a magic world or something. My body felt fantastic, I was surrounded by familiar smells of my childhood (persimmons smushed on the road and black walnuts) and I was just generally entranced by the beauty of the countryside. I know I had a goofy grin on my face the entire time, it was seriously one of the best 2-3 mile stretches of my running life. Serene, peaceful... and cows!!! I love me some cows. It was a soul satisfying stretch of road. I felt at one with my body and with nature and I just kept plugging along, feeling like I could run like this for days...

And then I went up the big hill and was dumped out on Patton Branch Road. The ugly step-child of Madison Creek... It's amazing how different one side of an enormous hill can be. For as beautiful and comforting as the other side was, this side was creepy, stinky, and depressing. And this is where my mind started to let me down. I started feeling fatigued and bored. I was also slowing down significantly. By the time I hit mile 14 or so... I was suffering not only from fatigue and discontentment, but I was developing a full stomach stitch.... (apparently, I'm too hardcore for a side stitch... my whole freaking stomach has to hurt instead. Fantastic).

By the time I got to 18 miles and had the chance to skip out on the last 2 miles and head to my car instead... I did. I felt pretty beaten and disappointed in myself. I mean, had this been the marathon... I'd still have another 8 miles to go! Ugh.

The last couple miles of the run... I thought to myself... "Well, I can just run the half at Chickamauga and then train for and run the full at Memphis. That will give me another month of training." But, today... I've decided to go ahead with running the full at Chickamauga. I mean... 2 runs of 18 miles aren't bad, as far as training goes. Plus, I really want to run a new marathon (in a new state!). So... even though I didn't run 20 miles this time around... I'm hoping that my training (and slacking) is going to be enough to carry me through in 3 weeks.

It's going to be a busy next few weeks... check out Amy's upcoming race calendar:

October 25th: Jack 5 miler (at 8am) and then Halloween Hunt 5 miler (at 11am. It's only 5 bucks, so if I'm too beat after the earlier race, no harm done).
November 1st: Team Nashville 10 mile race.
November 8th: CHICKMAUGA BATTLEFIELD MARATHON (woo hoo.. cannons and shit!)
November 15th: Bigfoot Scramble 5 miles (in my parents hometown!)
Thanksgiving: 5k race in my hometown.
Dec 6th: Memphis Half Marathon (I'm almost positive about this race... time to make my official half time 2:05).

Ugh. I need a part time job to pay all these entry fees.

7 comments:

Kel said...

I'm with you on the long runs...they are just so LONG! I'm sure you'll do great though...remember your 'hardcore' and these races should tremble at the sound of your name! :)
~K

April said...

My, arent we both negative today?
But seriously, don't worry...you know that some long runs have to suck...which means that the next attempt will be awesome and a success, right?
And your race calendar looks great!!

Joe said...

i agree that cows are awesome to run by. when we ran the wild west relay two summers ago, my second leg had me running past a couple herds of cows. each time i ran by a herd, i mooed loudly at them and they all gave me the, "what in the hell is that thing," look until i had passed out of sight. it's really funny to be glared at by entire herds of cows.

johnking said...

i think you'll be a-ok. i might of said this previous, but the longest run my buddy did in training for Boston was a 12 miler due to injury. its all psychological kid. own it.

Joe said...

Hey, I was supposed to be doing the Chickamauga Marathon! Sadly, I won't be because of a nasty case of shin splints...

Joe
www.fitnessgeekga.wordpress.com

Melanie said...

I just happened upon this blog today and have been enjoying my time reading through past entries. My race schedule is kind of similar... I'm running Chickamauga and Memphis (both full's)!

Aaron Cunningham said...

Sorry about the bad long run!

My first three long runs were great... The one I tried today ended up in a sniveling stew of frustration. Nice to know, in a horrible way that sometimes they just go sour