March 27, 2005

It isn't hard if you do the hard part first, right?

I'm sitting here gobbling hard boiled eggs. Why? Because I'm farkin' hungry and that's what I have in the house that's already cooked. Besides, there's nothing like a warm hard-boiled, slightly salted egg. They're incredible. And edible.

Loooong run today. 17 miles and change. (Again, the GPS seems off. Claims 17.1, but I figure it was closer to 17.5; it doesn't really matter). I am so tired! But not as tired as I should be, I think.

Weather: 47 degrees, cloudy. Sun broke through about 2/3 of the way into the run, then went back into hiding 15 min. later. No biggie. Less sunburn, right? Moderately windy, enough that I'm glad I kept my hoodie on after my warmup; in fact, I got chilled enough in the last six miles to zip it up all the way for awhile. Also never took the gloves off, which turned out to be a good thing for reasons detailed below.

Route: up the hill, then around the park 5 times. I had considered going to Central Park and doing 3 laps, but by the time I got my act together today, Prospect Park was my only option for getting back before dark. Besides, I didn't want to fight potential Easter crowds in CP.

I ran the first three laps of PP in the normal "harder" direction and was pleasantly surprised at my ability to chug up the north hill without too much stress. At about mile 9, I began to get some pain in my left heel, at the bottom on the inside. Weird. I paused, stretched out that leg, retied the laces, and got back to jogging. And THAT was the ONLY time I stopped the entire run!

My mistake may have been in switching directions, that's when the pains really started to come. Or maybe its because I'd finished 11 miles at that point. I made sure to run on the crown of the road when I could and battling the little bastards kids on bicycles didn't help with my energy. I was getting fatigued; tense and achy in my shoulders, especially down my right arm. But no stopping mid-plan! Keep running! I was rather amused to witness a group of four bicyclists shout ahead at one of them, taking him to task for not staying out of the way. They were nice enough about it -- I think the kid got the point.

I had been counting DOWN miles this whole time and the run seemed to go easier because I never really thought "I've done ten miles; I've done a half-marathon; I've now gone farther than I've ever gone under my own power in my life." No, it was a lot easier to do the first four miles by considering them the "hard" miles. After that, I reasoned, I wasn't running any farther than I'd already done last week. Right?

By the time I had less than five miles to go and was facing the south hill, I promised myself that if I ran up it, I could walk it the final lap. Then I made it around and ... ran it again. And then I was at the top of the park and slowing down to a walk at the entrance -- over 17 miles!

Fuel: I took with me a full fuel belt of Gatorades, plus an additional pre-packaged Gatorade, the Power Gel left over from last weekend's race, and half a roll of lifesavers. I made sure to keep hydrating on a regular basis, pretty much one a mile. After the first lap, though, I set my Gatorade bottle, mostly empty, on top of a call box and left it there, figuring it'd be gone by the time I finished the second lap. Nope, there it was, and I finished the Gatorade in it. Began taking on the solid fuels about mile 10. Wound up getting the power gel goo all over my right glove -- turns out, it makes pretty good glue if it soaks in. I'm not sure the solid fuels do much for me, but perhaps the evidence is that I didn't slow to walking at all...

Next weekend, a full, solid 18. I do believe that by May 1st I'll be ready for this "marathon" thing.

But if the chickens go on strike, I'm screwed.

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