We’ve all been there. One day you go out for a run expecting it to be enjoyable like any other, and then wham! Something’s different, things don’t feel right, your legs are full of lead and your pace is a full minute slower than normal. Below, for your enjoyment, is my recollection of my long, lonely 23km run on Sunday morning:
Woke up, drank 500 ml of water and half a bagel. My body was all like “nice try Christina, giving us water and carbs now, you’ve already done the crime, now you’ve got to pay the fine”.
Completed pre-run body loosener exercises
Started run, approximately 90 minutes later than I intended too, but who’s counting?
8:25am – KM 3.5
Stopped to give someone directions to East Georgia Street. Felt so good to stop running, almost too good…
8:56am – KM 5
The trinity of poor nutrition, poor hydration and poor rest have set in. By that I mean the dreaded runners runs. Eeek! Thank goodness I plan all my routes with convenient restroom stops as I desperately needed one at 5KM. (Aside – I was wondering how long it would take before I wrote about gastrointestinal distress on my running blog. Now I know, 10 weeks.)
Taken care of business, and not surprisingly, my pace quickens. Let’s get this run over with.
9:00am – 10:09 am
I felt like I was running through waist-level mud and was just slogging through the run. Then, the stomach cramps hit. I told myself it was just my effective chi running technique, I was holding my core so tight that my abs were cramping. Yes, that’s it, it’s an ab cramp, not intestinal spasms.
10:10am- 2 hour mark
This sentence repeated in my head over and over again:
“If your LSD takes longer than two hours, it is likely more of a contributor to overtraining than to performance enhancement.”
Thank you, Lon Kilgore et al.
Coupled with my own thoughts of “Stop stop stop stop running! Why are you doing this? Why are you training for a marathon? Didn’t you read what Lon Kilgore et all said about there being very little value of logging 26.6 miles regularly? Let’s just pull over at the next convenience store, get a Magnum bar and leave all this marathon training malarkey behind us.”
However, a little tiny bit of me realized that present Christina was dehydrated, exhausted and not all mentally there, so we shouldn’t listen to her. After all, past Christina had sensibly decided we needed to run 23kms today and she wasn’t dehydrated or exhausted so we should listen to her. And then…
I notice that I’m making an odd noise, I listen carefully and hear that I am audibly whimpering. Unintentionally audibly whimpering as I run. Things are bad.
Like this, minus the cute and cudley and plus a lot of sweat….
At this point, I start walking and decide to give up. I mean, I’ve been running for 3 hours in 20+ degree heat, who does that?
Now normally I detest it when spectators say “almost there” when I am more than 1km from the finish line. On a half marathon course, I don’t want to hear at 17km that I am almost there. I am most certainly NOT almost there, in fact I have over 4 more kilometres to run, which at my speed will take over 24 minutes, which, in my world does not constitute “almost”. A side note to all the spectators out there – great phrases to yell at people running are “looking good!” “looking strong” “courage”- if you’re in France, and “way to go”. High fives are good too.
I digress. Somehow, for the first time, these words spoke to me. I am almost there. I’m 3km away from my goal. I am not a quitter, I finish my training runs. (except for that one time I had a urinary tract infection and it felt like I was peeing razor blades, that run I cut short – wow, a reference to gastrointestinal and urinary tract distress in the same blog post, I’ve outdone myself).
11:38am – KM 23
Ismoothrun app tells me I’m at 23.00 km. I did it? I did it. I get to stop running. Yay! Something to cheer about. How about that Magnum bar?
Arrive home to the question of “Want to go bouldering this afternoon?”
– This felt like a run from hell. I put myself in that state by not adequately preparing my body (lesson learned for next time – carbs matter, hydration matters, sound sleep matters). I’ve identified all the mistakes I made the day before the run in “what not to do the day before a long slow distance run“.
– Not only was my body not prepared for a long run, but also my mind was not up to it. This was an eye opening experience for me. My mind went down a negative path and I kept it there. I didn’t have the skills to stop the negative spiral and get positive. Conclusion? My mental game needs work.
– Thankfully, I’ve since been reading “The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer” by David A. Whitsett, Forrest A. Dolgener & Tanjala Mabon Kole. The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer has some great tips and exercises to keep your mental game positive. Including one where you imagine having tiny muscle fiber soldiers “on reserve”, wearing little blue helmets, which you call upon to help you run when you feel fatigued. Where were those tiny muscle fiber soldiers on Sunday? I sure could’ve used their help.