Well, it's ironic that on the day of the 114th running of the Boston Marathon, I had my very first crash and burn during a 22 mile long run. And it was MONUMENTAL! To start with, the day ended up being sunny and far warmer (close to 80 deg. F) than expected. My allergies were hitting, too, and my lungs never opened up. My breathing was labored from the start. My heart rate crept up far too quickly, too. Add to that some dead legs and it was inevitable. I could tell by mile 5 that this wasn't going to be my day. If I was a smart, reasonable man, I would have turned around and returned with an easy 10-miler and lived to fight another day. But I'm "better than that" (or dumber and more stubborn that that - more on that comment later) and hey - it was in my plans for today to run 22 miles, dagnabbit! I ran out of liquid at mile 14, but was able to refill at around 17.5 mi. I was carrying a 22-oz bottle of weak Heed/water mix, a gel flask with just water, and a gel flask with watered down Hammer Gel. I also took a couple of Endurolytes, since I was sweating a lot in the heat. By mile 13, I had to start taking walk breaks. First a tenth of a mile walk followed by 9/10ths of a mile run, then a 2/8 ratio, then a 2.5/7.5 ratio. That lasted until about mile 18, when the walking and running was about 50/50. But even that was too much (my stomach wasn't having it, and I was getting dizzy), so I walked, painfully and completely shot, the last mile and a half. When done, I called my wife from my truck. She was concerned about me driving home. It was justified, since I barely made it. I went straight to the bathroom to take care of business and saw myself in the mirror. I was as white as a sheet, with sunken in eyes and cheeks, and pale lips. I ended up laying on the living room floor for several minutes (too bad there wasn't a medical tent) before eating some tomato soup and starting to join the living once again.
This run taught me some lessons. I've hinted in recent posts that I've been pretty fatigued lately. I had a 7-day stretch recently that totaled 62.5 miles, including a road race and 21 miles of pacing a friend in an ultra (just over a week ago). I've come to the realization that, for my level, I'm training over my head. I got caught up in the miles (as heard in the latest song parody I did for Chris Russell's Run, Run, Live podcast, ep. 117) and have been just pushing too hard, too much. Add to that the realization that running is starting to feel like a chore and the joy has diminished, and I know I'm ready to back off. I was starting to believe that, since I'm training with an "advanced" marathon plan (for my first marathon, for crying out loud) that I AM that kind of runner. The reality is…no, I'm not. I was humbled today, and I needed to be.
I'll be taking a few days off this week to hopefully let my body, mind and ego recover a little. Sorry about the long post, but I had a lot to get off my chest.