Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Week of Running Ups and Downs, "A Race Like No Other" Hits, and My Continuing Paranoia

The latest honored members of the Fred's Team Honor Roll:

Jamie "Carboman" Pang
Jim Semmelman
and the money I got from the bake sale

making the total to date for the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research


I'm not shy. I want your money. Not for me, though. For donations to my Fred's Team marathon effort. I'm running on behalf of an amazing cause, and even more importantly, for an amazing little boy, Liam Witt, who is battling neuroblastoma at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. I really would like to raise $6000 in honor of Liam, who is such an inspiration to me and to the people around him. And with the marathon just over a month away, now is the time. Please click on the links to the side and bottom of the page, and even here. Go on, click.

This has been a pretty good week of running, although it did end on a bit of a downer. After last Saturday's brutal 18-miler -- not brutal because of the mileage, but because of the super-humid soupy weather that we ran it in -- I was really looking forward to stepping it up a notch and proving that bad run a fluke.

Monday I decided to run down in Battery Park City after school. I left my stuff at the gym and took off west down to the park. I went up to about 28th Street and back down, going down a few piers along the way to see what's going on (my favorite thing about running on the west side.) My time was a little slow, which surprised me, as it didn't feel especially slow. Also, Nike+ is completely misbehaving again. It was fine for the 15 miler we did up and down Park Avenue as part of the Summer Streets program, but now it's at least two miles off either too many or too few. I don't get it!!!!!!

Tuesday was a hill workout on Cat Hill. Eight repeats in a row, no stopping. Tough. The key was consistency, and I was pretty consistent. My ups were all between 2:10 and 2:13 (except for one slower and one faster) and my downs were all 2:00 - 2:05.

Wednesday was too nice a day to cross-train. It was cool and windy. So I went for one of my favorite runs, the loop around the Rez in the early evening, as the sun was starting to set. I have to say, if you ever have the chance to run around the Rez in the early morning with the sun rise, or the early evening with the sun set, do it. It's so beautiful. The sky turns this brilliant, rich dark blue, and it's reflected on the water, and the buildings are sillhouetted against the sky and the water -- it's almost worth waking up early for. Here's the thing -- on the way back, I felt my "fast legs" returning. It was like how I felt just before and after the marathon last year, that all of a sudden I had speed without putting out extra effort. It didn't reflect in my run time, but it felt right.

Thursday was a step workout in Riverside Park. When I realized Coach Ann was going to lead it, I (half-jokingly) announced I was leaving, scaring all the newbies to the step workout. Underneath that pretty, mild-mannered exterior lurks the heart of a drill sergeant. She promised she wouldn't be brutal on us, and then proceeded to be just that. I exaggerate. She was half-brutal. Lots of "up the steps, up the hill, up the other hill," which is good for us. And, not to brag but I will, I was leading most of the drills. Yes, I was pushing the effort a little and maybe everyone else was holding back. But still.

So going into Saturday's run, I was feeling pretty good. Jeff had said on Tuesday that this should be a drop-down week, and only do 13. But as we were waiting to begin, Ann told me to try to do 20. (Jeff wasn't at the Thursday or Saturday run.) We were running alongside the NYRR Long Training Run, which was between 6-20 miles, depending on how many loops you wanted to do. Hmmm, what to do. I had mentally and physically prepared for 13. I didn't bring any gels, nor extra Gatorade. I knew that this run would have Gatorade or gels only at the 102nd Street Transverse, or every 5 or 6 miles, depending on what loop you're on (the first loop is 6 miles, the second and third are 5, the last is 4, all starting and ending at the transverse, and it's the one thing I hate about this run.) But I gamely set out for 20.

Liz Robbins, who wrote the book about the NYC marathon that I told you all about, A Race Like No Other, was at the start line, plugging her book -- and so will I! It's available for pre-order on! Get yours today by clicking on the link! Exclamation point!

First six, no problem. It was a little toasty. Stopped at fountains as well as the water stations, which were not as numerous as one would hope (the other thing I hate about this run -- the water stations are primarily on the lower loop of the park, with only one station on the west side and none on the east side after Cat Hill. ) No gels available until after the second loop.

First five mile loop, still feeling okay. My foot was starting to ache (okay, I'm calling Dr. Rock on Monday, this isn't right) and I was starting to feel the effects of not enough Gatorade or water. I drank at all the water stops, but still, I needed some carbs. It was still too early for the vendors to be out, so no extra Gatorade yet.

At the Transverse at the 11 mile (actually, the 11.5-mile mark for me, since we started at the Fred statue) I saw Liz again and she showed me the part of the book I'm in. I'm called "Glotzer," which always makes me giggle. She did one of the five-mile loops, but she's been injured and hasn't been able to run for a while, which sucks. She got to go to Beijing and report on the Olympics, and I'm psyched to hear about that. Drank two cups of Gatorade and took two gels with me. Saw someone from my Team (she was wearing Team shorts) taking a gel with Gatorade. I said "Stop, you'll make yourself sick doing that." She said she did it all the time with no problem. Urgh. To each his own.

Start of loop 3, and I was not happy. My foot was bugging me, and my legs felt like rocks. At the first water stop I took the first gel, and I noticed it was not going down well. I didn't feel sick, but I was burping it up (mmmm, yummy TMI!) which meant it wasn't getting into my system. For the uninitiated: when you run long distances, the body tends to shut down systems you don't need at the moment, like your digestive system, to focus blood and energy resources to your legs and heart. That's why they have these specialty gels and drinks that are simple to break down, so that your barely-working digestive system can process it.

Just before Cat Hill, I developed an urgent need for, as they say on "Car Talk," a haircut. So I headed to the facilities -- no chairs available. And then when one did open up, turns out I didn't need one after all. However, those first familiar pangs of a bladder infection started (as long as we're going for the TMI title, might as well go all the way) which, no pun intended, pissed me off. I was really hoping to make it through the season without one. Alas.

Headed up Cat Hill -- rather, shuffled up Cat Hill, and made it back to the Team spot, mile 16. I was wiped. Didn't want to quit, but the thought of tackling Cat Hill one more time gave me the twinges, so after I finished drinking the watered-down bottle of Gatorade that would've set me up fine for a 13-miler, I set out around the bridle path. Maybe I could finish up the 20 miles this way.

About 30 feet into this loop I realized it was a bad idea. I could barely pick up my legs, and I was dumping so many rocks into my sneakers I might as well have been running barefoot (speaking of which, there was a barefoot runner at the Long Training Run. Ouch.) I barely made it around the loop and called it quits.

Here's the thing. I could've done 20. I could've stopped, rested, bought Gatorade once the vendors came out, taken walk breaks. But I didn't. I ran until I wore down. For no reason. And I'm really disappointed in myself that I only managed to get 18 in, and it was in all honesty probably a little less than that. And slow, to boot. Where did my fast legs go? Where did my endurance go? I did 18 last week too, and wasn't even planning on 20, why should I be disappointed? But I am, because I didn't think it through better, and I knew I could've, and should've. As stupid as it sounds, I've let myself down. And it worries me, because the marathon is only seven weeks away, and I haven't run any 20-milers yet (though I'll have the chance to do three in the coming weeks, before the big taper -- the Tune-Up, the Palisades Run and adding miles to the Staten Island Half in what will be my revenge run for the miserable time I had last year.)

Wow, I just read my post from last year's Long Training Run. I had a much better time, even though that was the day I not only split my compression shorts down both sides of my crotch, I lost a major filling and ended up spending the rest of the weekend obsessing about it so much I went to the emergency room, convinced I was poisoning my brain. PS: I wasn't. I think.

1 comment:

Progman2000 said...

Great blog, I came here from Phedip. Sunday was awful - I am in NJ and foolishly did 20 Sunday, I wish I had stopped at 18, I am still suffering the consequences. Good luck with your training.