Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Veterans Marathon Training: Week 13

The skin is missing on at least two of my toes and there are blisters on several others. I have open sores on my hip (medial, left iliac crest). I had to dig out the Desitin from Miles' baby basket but only after swallowing my pride and asking Mark if I needed it.

Even in the aftermath of Sunday's long run, I'm not sure whether my body or my pride sustained worse wounds from the difficult outing.

I've been running with a group lately for long runs and the plan was 12 miles at 7:30 a.m. Knowing I should get in 20 but at least 18 or 19, I drove to the meeting spot an hour early to get in 6 miles. Those early miles were dark and calm. While the rain fell, it didn't feel drowning. I reminded myself to start slow, slower than I'd like, to bank energy not time and so I could keep up with my speedier friends.

The sky was beginning to pick up some color when I returned to my car to switch out water bottles and eat a Bonk Breaker bite. I didn't see anyone outside so I checked my phone to see if the run was still on. In my head, I joked to myself that if they had canceled, I'd call it a day and drop down to the half at Veterans.

Funny joke, eh?

We were just a bit delayed starting but soon enough we were off. We headed out to a new-to-me section of trail and the first 6 miles with everyone seemed OK. I was managing to keep up (at a pace that shouldn't have been a problem), chatting and enjoying the new scenery. It was fun and I was thankful to have crashed the running group in time to get much needed support for the marathon.

Come the turnaround, though, the wheels came off. My Nuun tasted like soap. I could feel the blisters forming from the steady rain/wet conditions. I began to feel tired. And, worst of all, I checked out mentally. I started to take walk breaks in mile 15. At mile 16, I had myself dropping down for real. I dreamed of having a phone to call Mark to pick me up.

But the thing with running with a group - a good group - is that they don't let you do that. No matter how much I slowed, they stuck with me. Sometimes they would slow to my pace or get to a point and walk until I caught up. They encouraged me to stretch, walk backwards (works oddly enough) and to keep going. I felt guilty and unworthy but stingy, as well, taking all the support I could.

Even when I stopped at mile 17 and was ready to walk slowly back, they turned around to get me. I was certain my legs wouldn't move any faster but I was able to pick it up to a jog, and  I restarted my watch to hit 17.5.

Not quite the 20 miler I had hoped for.

I did some sulking and soaking at home but was inspired by the support of my new pals. I didn't want to quit something I had started - that day or 13 weeks ago. I was going to hit 20 miles that day. I waited for the rain to break and went out for another 2.75 miles. The run felt surprisingly good, and I felt renewed with each step.

I don't know how Veterans will go or how my body will perform but, as an encouraging commenter wrote on Daily Mile, I can remember those rainy, painful 17.5 miles and the people who believed in me. And the marathon might not feel so bad.

The week, in training:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Piloxing (taught) + Ripped (taught)
Wednesday: 6.5-mile run
Thursday: 5-mile run + Ripped (taught)
Friday: 5-mile bike ride + PT exercises
Saturday: 3.5-mile run + Ripped (taught)
Sunday: 17.5-mile run + 2.75-mile run


  1. Great work getting it done! Wow, sounds like you've found a fantastic group. And you know the marathon is going to feel better than this, when you're fresh from tapering and being cheered on by thousands of your best friends. Your training is solid. Believe in it.

    1. Thanks! I always appreciate your encouragement as you are always insightful and knowledgeable. Hope your energy is returning!

    2. Thanks! It seems to me. I'm ready for my 50K in 10 days! (Well, as ready as I'll ever be :-) )

  2. Way to power through! THose are the character builders you'll draw from on race day. Plus that sub 2 half the other day wasn't too shabby either. You've got this!

  3. Yay for being with a great group that kept you going!

    I wonder if your humidity on Sunday was like ours on Thurs-Sat. It was miserable. My 19 on Friday was pretty challenging with it! Do you feel better this week with cooler temps?

    1. The humidity is an interesting idea. It did STINK. I haven't headed out yet - Monday is rest and Tuesday is classes. Plus, I couldn't get up this morning. Hmph.

      I think I'm going to bring back the double this week to build some endurance. Plus, tomorrow is bagels with the boss and I want to justify my giant doughy piece of deliciousness. Err, maybe not a good reason to run double.

  4. WOOT! Way to get it done! I love your running group, too, for being so supportive and encouraging. I think even though the quality of the miles felt rough, the quantity and just the fact that you got it done is still super important for your training. And maybe even moreso for your mentally, to know you can absolutely do it, even when you feel tired.

    Proud of you. And, um, more than a little jealous you are training right now.

  5. Congrats on getting this run done. Running with a group is a pretty amazing thing. Sometimes I'm amazed at what I can do with others that I don't think I can do on my own. Be confident going into Veteran's. You are not as good as this last run (where you didn't feel great). You are as good as all the amazing hard work and dedication you've put into this entire training season. Remind yourself of all the good runs you've had and why you ARE ready! Be glad this one is over and get ready for the next good one. xoxo

  6. You got it Done. That's what matters. If it helps, so far my only 20+ mile run for this training cycle is the Air Force Marathon. So, if this slacker can simply muscle through, YOU ARE GOING TO ROCK.

  7. I bet your run will be fabulous compared to that horrible 20 miler! It seems like you have to have a few bad runs every now and then to remind you that it's something you have to work for.

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