Thursday, December 20, 2007

24 Days to Think About It.

Mile 1155 Chandler, AZ - I ended up not running for two days. So, what do you do when you're that well rested? You do your long run and my long run was supposed to be 20 miles. It was supposed to be my longest run. My last long run before my first marathon.

Wednesday morning came and it was cold. Ok, it was near 40 degrees, cold for AZ. I could run at any time in the day, so I decided to start late morning. I wanted to run in shorts and a tee, not in sweats and a parka. Around 11:30 am I hit the streets. My plan was to run north from my home on surface streets to the canal. West to the golf course. North from their to The Arizona Mills Mall. Then back track past the golfers, south on the other canal back into Chandler. Weave in and out of various neighborhoods and until 20 miles later I end up back at my front door.

Damn plans. The first 8-9 miles were great. My legs felt great. My lungs and heart felt great. I was trying to keep my pace around 12 minutes and I was a couple minutes up each time I checked. I would do the math every mile. "4 miles x 12 is 48. Garmin says 46, good keep running." I would then do the percentage of running done thing. "Ok, 4 miles done. That's 1/5 of the total run. 20% done. Ok, 10 miles done, that's 50% of the run. Keep running."
As I was around 10 or 11 miles I started slowing down. I was doing 14 minute miles. Way too much walking. I was running past the golf course, when an angel appeared. I hooked up with her and ran about a quarter mile talking marathons. I told her I was running the Rock and Roll Marathon, my first and she told me she's running the marathon in Austin. I had a scheduled water stop at the clubhouse, so I wished her well and she ran east. I was running south anyway.
I'm sure I would have been walking at that point, if it were not for her.
I got my water and started going south. At this point my legs started hurting. I had consumed three gu's and had water the whole way, but I felt like maybe I needed some energy. Maybe some salt. I knew a mile and a half away was a gas station. If I could just make it their I could get some salt, a candy bar and some gatorade. I did, but it wasn't to be for my legs.
The last 6 miles I ran were brutal. I wanted to run. My lungs and heart rate were fine. My legs, midsection and hips were killing me. I ended up walking 95% of the time. When I got to Ray Road and the choice was to head further south or go directly east toward home, I choose the shortest route to home. My phone rang and I hoped it was my wife. I would have accepted a ride. It was work. So, I walked and talked for a bit. I got to an Arby's and thought if I could sit for a bit and eat something salty, then I could finish my run. A small roast beef sandwich and fries later (about 20 minutes later) I headed for home. I did speak with Amy on the phone, but declined a ride. I figured I was going to walk it in. I needed the time on my feet.
And that's what I did. The last 2 miles. A total of just over 17 miles. A bit over 4 hours. Not counting my lunch time break. It was the most brutal run I've ever had. Could I have done anything differently? Any advice would be appreciated.
Today, my legs feel much better. I will take the day off and run tomorrow. I'm glad I got the 17 miles in yesterday. I'm sure it will make me stronger. But, can I run a marathon in just 24 days? I really don't think I can. I know I can go further in a race, with cheering crowds. But, could I do 20 miles, let alone 26.2?
I don't want to do a 7 hour marathon. Not even a six hour marathon. I don't want to walk the last 5-7 miles, like yesterday. I want to run 80% of my first marathon, not 50%. I don't want to DNF. What should I do?
A picture from my run.
I was on the canal near the interstate. There's a very narrow triangular piece of land between two walls. The highway on the north. The canal on the south. Waste land or is it? This is what I saw on the other side. A tennis court. Lots of unused parking lot and at the far end (behind the camera) is an apartment complex
While I was suffering on my long run, others in the TRC were having a blast in Disneyland. Yeah, you know who I'm talking about. I hope you're having a blast.


Dan Seifring said...

You are having a great month Pat. Nice job and only 14.6 left to get you to 800 for the year.

J-Wim said...

17 miles is a great run, nothing to sneeze at. I would say you absolutely can do it, especially in a race day atmosphere.
If you are thinking that salty stuff is your need , can you get some salt tabs to tuck in your pocket?

Reid said...

I think you will be totally fine! For my last marathon, my longest run was only 16 miles. I ended up with a PR on race day. You've put in the preparation, the race and the atmosphere will take you the rest of the way. Remember how good you felt when your angel showed up? That's how it will be during the marathon. Thousands and thousands of angels! Don't let one run get you off course. You can do it!

Amy said...

I'm proud of you for doing this long run. A few years ago you would have been very suprised to hear that you would run 17 miles yesterday. Whether you decide to run the half or the full marathon, the kids and I will be there to cheer you on!

- Pat's wife, Amy

Marathoner in Training said...

You will do just fine with the full marathon. We will be there for you at the finish line. I think I am going to do the Laughlin 1/2 in March also.

Cheryl said...

I have no advice, not ever having run a race myself. But I am in AWE of anyone who says things like, "Ok, 10 miles done, that's 50% of the run. Keep running."

You have an awesome family supporting you and cheering for you. Go for it, Pat! You can do it!

Irene said...

Go Pat! Go Pat! Go Pat!

I figured you needed a sort-of cheerleader...

You're doing great.

Jeff said...

You've gotta do it Pat. Don't be discouraged.

Think back to your first 1/2 or even 10k -- when you went into those, were you sure you were ready?

Go and enjoy the experience!

Pokey said...

PAT!!!!! Don't EVEN be discouraged!!!! You must have just had a bad day...maybe the planets weren't aligned just right....but you are SO ready! I have seen you knock down 11 miles with Lisa and I no problem....and then continue to rock on for 5 or so more....and you've never had this kind of issue before. I think it was just a bad run day.

You know in your gut what you are capable of, and when you figure it out, your running buddies will be here to support you whatever you decide!

Maybe you needed some DQ????


Firefly's Running said...

Pat, you can do it! If it comes to you not feel totally confident by race day, you can always switch to the half-marathon and do it again - like I did. See how you do for the 20 miler next week.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

wow, that does sound brutal. but i wouldn't worry about it - everyone has those days. i think it's fantastic that you got 17 in the bag, considering how bad it sucked!

Darrell said...

A tough day comes our way every once in a while. It is especially concerning 3 weeks out from your big day, but don't agonize over it too much. Get the rest of your training in according to plan. And then show up on race day with visions of you crossing the finish line dancing in your head.

J~mom said...

Pat you can totally do it!!! We will pace you in if the logistics work out (finishing the half and then finding you)!! We are all cheering for you and will be on that day!!

J~mom said...

PS Yeah, it was great. LOL