I wish I could avoid this entry altogether, but I have to blog the run so I might as well get it out of the way.
Remember this post, wherein I yearned for a grungier, dirtier, sweatier running community? One not characterized by air conditioning and slickly designed flagship stores? Well, I got my wish and then some! (Watch what you wish for, you just might get it, right?)
Following the last exhausting two weeks, I found myself incredibly tired. Friday night I slept for ten hours, waking only briefly when it was time to get up and go run the Fifth Avenue Mile, only to decide that three hours of sleep was not enough. I turned off the alarm and slept 'til 1 in the afternoon. I was awake eight hours and then went back to bed. I got another eight hours of sleep last night and woke up early so as to go run Grete's Great Gallop, the Norwegian Festival's half-marathon. Only it didn't take too long before I heard rain pitter-pattering on my air conditioner. I actually stood on my stoop as the rain came down and decided I was not going. I don't relish running in the rain; it's hateful and not worth it.
So I went back to bed. For five minutes. Then I didn't hear the rain sounds on the AC anymore and decided that perhaps I really should go. So I gathered my stuff (again) and headed out. Grabbed a coffee on the way and read some of Jasper Fforde's Lost In A Good Book during the train ride. I arrived in plenty of time to pick up my number and stash my gear. And to stand around in the rain for twenty minutes waiting for the race to start. I had taken off my extra clothes and was now ready to "run" but was getting wetter and wetter by the minute.
By the time the race started, most of us were pretty much soaked through. I felt a little better, since I wasn't the only one who was miserable, and I met a pretty girl who, as it turns out, had sprained her ankle two miles into August's NYC Half. I hope this race went better for her.
As for me, it was one of the most miserable fucking runs I've ever had. I shouldn't have done this race, that's clear. I won't go into all the details, but will summarize by saying that my lungs weren't functioning well - way too much coughing andit kept slowing me to a walk. But the maddening thing was that I wasn't bringing anything up! The humidity was high, so that might have been the real problem with the lungs.
But the legs also weren't ready for this. I have become de-trained I think. The first seven miles were OK, but then I started to get really tight, growing worse with every coughing fit. I wound up walking much of the second loop of the park and was in rather a lot of pain, though nowhere near as much as in Nashville. The hills of the park defeated me and I walked all of the big ones. Toward the end, even the flat parts were getting me and I couldn't run more than a quarter mile at a time. (Lungs)
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the end was in sight. I was jogging again and about a tenth of a mile from the finish line, saw a red blur in my peripheral vision - somebody was about to overtake me. Surprising even myself, since I didn't think I had anything left, I picked up the pace to a good 5K clip and kept her from passing me until the finish line. That bit actually felt good and now I wonder had I picked up the pace earlier, maybe about mile 10, could I have avoided the trial of the last three miles and just let my legs carry me?
Total time: 2:31:31. Second worse half-marathon ever, though not by much. I should qualify the pain, though: while I did limp to the subway and have some giant blisters from the wet socks, a good hot soak, shower, and nap really helped and my walk to the grocery this afternoon was quite pleasant with no pain. So...who knows?
I'm going to go ahead and run the 18-miler next weekend, hoping for better weather and better lungs. I hope it goes well - well enough to tack on an extra two to total twenty. At this point, my chances of starting the marathon November 5th are under 50% and dropping fast. If next weekend goes very well, perhaps that'll upgrade to 70% or so. But the run will have to go extremely well, or else I'm just going to admit that my training is not adequate for a marathon and will take a pass on this year.
Another blogger pointed out this article at Slate.com. I left a message on their message board regarding the article, saying simply: "Gabriel, you are an asshole. Die in a fire." Worse, it seems this dickhead is a member of NYRR. He should have his membership revoked.
Okay, enough negativism for the night. I'm going to eat my sushi and go to bed, hopefuly for another full eight hours.