Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lessons Learned on the Run

In two weeks, I will be once again subjecting myself to torture participating in a half marathon.  Two weeks from yesterday, in fact.  So today is my final long run for the training cycle, a lovely 12 miles.  The last time I did a 12 miler, it was just before Hogeye in April, so the weather was much nicer.  And I got up early.  It was a great run.

This, however, is not the story of a wonderful training run, but rather a story of a grueling and rough run.  There was no blood, but there were blisters and upset stomachs, and a pee break at Wal-Mart.  And lots of walking a smidgen of depression/despair.

See this foot?  Isn't it lovely?  I like my feet.  They are good feet, and get me to where I'd like to go reasonably well and with little fuss.  They may be an awkward size to find cute shoes (seriously, what's up with that guys?  A size 9 is not ginormous, yet we get shafted on the selection of shoes at Payless).  Today, that foot has two blisters, thanks to running--one on my little toe, and one on the other side of my foot, on the pad. Ouch.

So: normally, I try to run early.  However, this morning since I'm hanging out alone, I took my time getting up and ready and eating breakfast and drinking coffee and petting the kitties and doing dishes--basically, just putting it off a little longer because a twelve mile run is not something one just undertakes without proper mental preparation.

Since it was going to be hot and I wanted ID/phone with me, I used my little CamelBak for the first time--I bought it specifically for long runs in the summer, because I don't like dehydration. And it was the high point of my run--I could just take a little sip without fuss.  And the sloshing only annoyed me a little, and it certainly announced my presence to unsuspecting, slower trail-users.

Everything was going okay for the first 6 miles: my legs were tired from a 40 minute run the day before and a workout class on Friday, but usually I can get past the soreness.  About mile 4, I realized I had to pee, so I did what any smart woman would do: locate the nearest facility in which to use their bathroom, since I'm not a fan of urinating in the outdoors (unless I absolutely have to).  Luckily, the trail runs right past Wal-Mart, so at mile 6, I ducked in to use their restroom.

Then I noticed a hot spot on the side of my foot, on the pad.  Uh oh.  I think I know what that is: blister.  It did not feel pleasant, though it wasn't excruciating.  It was my first running-induced blister, a distance running milestone I had avoided thus far.  (Along with black toenails, or completely loss of a toenail.  Why the hell do I like to run again??)

After mile 6, I started alternating running and walking because my legs were dead, my body had no energy (I was getting really hungry), and my foot was feeling very uncomfortable.   I ate my gel, which usually gives me a wonderful boost of energy.  I felt slightly more energetic, but really, I wanted some real food.

I ended up walk/running until about mile 10.5.  Then I just quit.  I briefly contemplated using my phone to get a ride the rest of the way home, but I sucked it up and walked.  (Repeating: there is no shame in walking, there is no shame in walking...)  I had a smoothie when I got home, but it just upset my stomach.

Now I'm really sore.  And I think my blisters popped already. Thank God tomorrow is recovery day.

So what'd I learn?  Eating 45 minutes beforehand is a great idea, because 2 hours later that energy has already been directed elsewhere, so I should have eaten a little snack.  Also, running earlier is better because the sun is lower and it's not so damned hot.  Also, we had cloud cover for most of the  morning from when I intended to run (7 or 8), which was gone by the time I was half done.  I'm glad I stopped for a bathroom break, though, because I didn't have to suffer through that on the last 6 miles as well as being in agony from sore muscles.  And I love my CamelBak, sloshing and all.

All I hope is that this isn't a sign for how Hospital Hill is going to go.

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