Huh. That's funny. My legs don't hurt.
And they should - I put in 18 miles today, first time for THAT since the Cincinnati Marathon 18 months ago. And you know what? It wasn't too bad.
This was not a single race for me, this was a dual: I not only ran the 18 mile NYRR ING Marathon Tune-up, but used the first 13.1 to run the Phedippidations First Annual World Wide Half-Marathon.
This was an OK run today, at times it was even good. I did my usual pre-race routine and had zero jitters or nervousness about tackling this mileage. I also had no self-delusions: I knew I wasn't going to run every single mile of this run, and I wasn't racing it, either. As I posted before, my only goal was to finish it on time and notch up a qualifier. In fact, knowing my lungs aren't in top shape, nor my legs, I did two things to help me through. One, I took Tylenol 8-hour when I got to the park, about half-hour before the race. Two, I made a deal with my lungs: they could have the significant uphills (seems to be four of them on the park loop), but the downhills, flats, and minor uphills belonged to my legs. Me, as a psyche, I stood only as an intermediary amongst my body parts today, I'm afraid. My brain was pretty much just along for the ride.
I turned on my tunes, too, for the first time in months. I think it helped at times.
I was surprised right off the bat at how strong my legs ran. Sure, the first three miles sucked, they always do, but it was about getting my body to get used to work, not about getting my legs to actually run. I was doing ten-minute-miles right off the line and able to hold the pace. I did NOT try to conquer the hills. Though I made it up the harlem hill the first time, the rest of the time I'd walk the hill before coughing fits forced me to slow. (I had tons of coughing anyhow for the first two loops.) All the rest of the time, my legs ran well and without pain. I only had some minor ankle pain showing up in the last (third) loop of the park.
I used the first 13.1 miles to run the World Wide Half. I didn't intend to race it, but I had lined up with the 10-minute milers by mistake (instead of at the back) and ended up running the half pretty well. Despite walking the hills, I turned in my third-best Half time ever, a 2:19:30. Seven minutes slower than the NYC Half, but 11 minutes faster than last weekend.
I'd made the decision early to allow myself to walk the rest of the race after the 13.1 miles were done - but didn't do so. I continued to walk hills as needed and run the rest. Only after mile 15 things got dicey. I simultaneously ran out of powersnot and HEED, even though I'd been drinking a little water every five miles to stretch the HEED. I dumped two cups of Gatorade and one cup of water into my bottle and continued on. A woman offered me her last gel, bless her heart, but I assured her I had a backup plan: I'd brought the Sharkies with me! (Sharkies product review: nasty taste, but certainly helped keep up my energy.)
Unfortunately, I was also beginning to suffer from electrolyte depeletion. Given my salt-laden CF sweat, HEED is not enough - and I had left my Endurolytes in my race bag. I never realized how much I'd sweated out on the course, either... about 50 yards before the mile 17 marker, I picked it up to a run again after a hill - and was hit bad with cattle-prod like jolts in the calves - uh oh. Well, I know this warning sign and immediately decided my run was done for the day. I was NOT going to risk debilitating charley horses for a training run! So I turned the iPod to the latest Phedippidations podcast - a complilation of user-submitted encouragement and cheering meant to be listened to during the run - and looked around at the beautiful day and strolled on toward the finish line. I did pick it up to a jog a couple of times in the last mile, but not without more warning twinges, so I took it very very easy. I finished the 18 miles in 3:21:46, less than 20 minutes behind my disastrous Manhattan Half time from last January. Very interesting.
James Lu, the elderly "bells guy" who comes to all these races and usually kicks my ass, was well ahead of me but within sight for most of the race. somewhere, and I can't remember when, I must have passed him, as he crossed the line behind me, according to the NYRR results page. He has been having some really good runs lately; pretty awesome for a 68 year old. I did not see my friend Crista, the Mercury Master (she's center in the white shirt in the photo), but I did pass FlyGirl before the race on my way to drop my bag. She was already running - what a glutton for punishment! ;)
So, I had a chance to think about where my running is going from here. I know only one thing for sure: I'm cancelling out of the Marathon. Yes, I'm sure I could survive the race and even PR...but that's not what I want to do. I want to RUN the race - and neither my legs nor lungs are ready for that challenge. TODAY was my marathon.
I will skip Staten Island, too, if the weather is crap - I've no interest in repeating the events of last weekend - running is supposed to be lifting and energizing, not torture. But if the weather is decent, I guess I'll go out and top off my running season with the best effort I can give it. I don't expect to PR, but perhaps I can pull off a 2:10:00. I am split between two alternatives now: pull back on the mileage and concentrate on my week point - frequency of runs - and add some real speed work and target a February or March 10K to nail....or add to frequency as well as increasing weekend long runs in prep for a flat marathon late winter or early spring, such as Phoenix in January. One thing is for sure: base mileage MUST get better.
-Coughing eased off after the first ten miles today. Coughing fits not as bad as last weekend and I'm bringing more up, which is actually good. It's real thick, though, and that means I'm not hydrated enough. Didn't slime myself or anybody else though, just the road!
-Stretching afterwards was easy, lazy, slow, and wonderful. Found some steps and put my toes up on the edge and let my heels hang down for the calf stretches - and nearly passed out from pleasure. Never has a stretch felt better!
-GelBot combination bottle. This water bottle holds a little less than other bottles its size for two reasons: one the design is indented, making it easier to grip while running, and two: it has an inset gel flask taking up some volume. The flask is hydraulic-cylinder-style, so that with the top closed, you squeeze and force the plunger in the bottom of the flask up, via hydraulic pressure from the surrounding fluid of choice. You get about three decent-sized shots and you're done - not quite enough for an 18-miler. GREAT for a half-marathon. For a marathon, I will need two of these. The whole thing works pretty well, I must say, and I really like not having to carry the powersnot separately. Frees up room in the pocket for bad little Sharkies - or Endurolytes in future runs.
-It was too fucking warm. I couldn't believe how hot I felt the whole first lap. Considered ditching the shirt, but...well, other runners don't deserve to be subjected to my ugly bod.
-You know how I knew, leaving the house, that this was going to be a decent run? I'd finally found my regular blue-mirror running glasses. With those things on, I can tackle anything.
-Listened to October 1's Phedippidations after the race, on the way home. Laughed out loud when Steve Runner mentioned that as he records the podcast, 440 runners are now signed up for the World Wide Half. *I* was that 440th runner! He must have recorded not more than a couple hours after I signed up. And I signed up from onboard the MS Oosterdam while cruising Alaskan waters... what neat circumstance.
-And, yes, I did print out my very own World Wide Half bib with my number 440 and the race logo and pinned it to my back, while the Tune-up bib was on my front.
-At home, I ice-bathed. Yow! Gotta get used to that. Then I napped like the dead.