Sunday, March 18, 2012

Slow Sixteen

So I had 16 miles on my training schedule this weekend. I spent all week watching the forecast and fighting off a panic attack.

All you heat lovers? Can suck it. I hate training in the heat. That hatred is the whole reason I picked a spring marathon, so I wouldn't have to train in the heat.

Hot weather is not my friend. First off, I'm not a sweater. I'm not talking about the yarny confection I'm currently knitting for myself, I mean I don't sweat properly. This means I don't cool off properly. All those people you see just dripping during a hot summer run? I don't do that. My face sweats a little and becomes hideously caked with salt, but nothing else sweats. I just get hotter and hotter and hotter until I pass out. I studiously avoid training in temperatures above 60 degrees. Truthfully I prefer the temp not be above 45, and that is short sleeves and shorts weather for me.

When I checked on Saturday and saw that the high was projected to be 80 degrees today, I almost freaked out. My heart was racing, and I was so nervous I could hardly sleep. I couldn't head out until 7:30am at the earliest since Jamie was at work until 7am. I was dressed, fed, and ready when he got home and out I went.

As I left my driveway, I didn't feel chilled at all. This is a bad sign. I decided right then that I was going to pace 12 minute miles. The goal was to not feel hot, not sweat, and not breathe hard. I carried 32oz of water and 3 servings of Shot Blocks, plus a handful of emergency Starburst. Have I ever mentioned that I'm prone to hypoglycemia? I'm a bag of distance training awesome, aren't I.

My path was a huge square. The first section was a rolling 5.25 mile distance from my house up the Church road. There was a very pleasant breeze, and the sun wasn't full up. I was pacing 11:30ish and feeling really strong. After turning the first corner, the next 4.5 miles was flat and straight, but through pretty country I'd never run through before, so it didn't feel too long. The breeze was still my friend and the surface was good. I hit the next turn at 9.3 miles feeling pretty damn smug about my super smartypants plan for slow slow miles. I hit all my marks for hydration and food, and I turned down Humboldt Rd.

Oh. Humboldt Rd. No shade, super crappy surface, straight straight straight with the breeze behind me so it did nothing to cool me off. By MapMyRun I should've turned for home around 13 miles. It lied. The turn wasn't until 14 miles, and I was desperate for it by then. I was still hitting my pace, but mentally I was starting to fray. The temperature had been climbing over the last 2 hours and with the breeze now behind me, I was feeling hot and panicky. I took my water/food break, and just gutted it out as long as I could.

I hit 16 at 3:15 on the dot. I was pacing for 3:12, so I feel that was pretty damn good. Unfortunately, I was still 0.8miles from home. That was a long ass 0.8, let me tell you.

Basically, 80% of this run was great. I had no pain, no difficulty. The last 20% was tough. If I'd started an hour earlier I think I could have avoided the heat problem entirely. Or, you know, if the weather was FREAKING NORMAL. Had it been 40? I'm pretty sure I would've sailed through that run feeling phenomenal. Still, I can't know what the weather will be like on marathon weekend, so I'm glad I had the opportunity to trial a hot race strategy. What would I do differently? Start an hour earlier, and freeze two of my water bottles so they could be used for cooling off, or just not be piss-warm when I need cool water.

I finished, had a couple of big bottles of water and a Coke, took a cool shower and had the most awesome nap of my life. I am not sore, nothing aches, I liked my new shoes, and I'm proud of myself for facing the fear and getting through it.

That said. Universe, if you're listening, I'd really appreciate some seasonally appropriate weather on Saturdays from now on. Thanks.

Also, chocolate milk is delicious, and I had me a huge glass about 45 minutes after finishing. Go go sweet chocolatey protein!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fourteen Point One is not Fifteen

A recap of my run today:

Leaving the house:
What a great day, I feel all bouncy and happy and runner-y

Mile 1:
Oh,'s a wee bit windy! That's okay, it's such a nice day!

Mile 2:
Wow, it's really windy! Look at the tops of all those big trees...they sure are blowing around. Good thing I'm going downhill! Lalalalalala

Mile 3-6:
Why have I never run this route before? It's so pretty! Also nice and flat with a clearly marked bike lane! Lalalalalala

Mile 7-9:
Uphill is so much nicer with a tailwind. This hill isn't so bad at all! Hmmm...those trees are a little worrying...still blowing around quite a bit.

Mile 10:

Mile 11:
Ok. Crosswind still sucks, but better than headwind. I can do this. After the next turn it is downhill all the way. Just keep swimming just keep swimming just keep swimming....

Mile 12:

Mile 13:
It's okay (gasp). It's okay (wheeze). Just 2 little miles. 2 miles. It's nothing. There's a downhill! See! Oh, ow, downhill is not my frieeeeeeeeeeend. Hey, 2:26 isn't so bad for 13.1. I can do this. It'll be okay. Just 1.6 little miles. It's a tailwind now! See?

Mile 14:

Mile 14.1:
Fuck this. I gotta pee.

And there you have it. I finished the 14.1 in 2:38. At the 10 mile mark I was on pace to do 15 in 2:40. The demon wind killed it. I'm certain I looked like some kind of crazed mime to anyone driving by. Mile 10 took 13:58. That is madness.

Part of me thinks I should have just finished the 15, even if I had to walk it. The other part of me was in so much pain from hunching into a driving headwind that I wanted to lay down in the road. My head hurts from squinting into the sandstorm that is a driving headwind after a huge snowfall melts.

Regardless, I ran farther today than I have ever run before. I'm starting to think I can do this marathon thing, because I really did feel great until the wind smacked me down at mile 10.

And now? I'm going to have pie.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Facing the Fifteen's been a while.

First, the bad news. My father passed away on January 27th. He experienced the fun that is "terminal agitation" and was awake for nearly 48 hours before finally collapsing under some heavy sedation. He died less than 24 hours later. He saw things. He had conversations with people that weren't there. He tried to strangle my sister. He kicked me when I wouldn't let him get up to go to the bathroom.

And yet. He was still there with us. He answered questions, told us stories long forgotten about our childhood years, gave hugs, leaned into my shoulder, and played with his dog. It was awful and frightening and horrible and stressful and guilt inducing and gut wrenching. I am still grateful we had that time.

Some of my most vivid memories from those surreal two days:
1. His reaction when I told him my sister was going to make his funeral arrangements (relieved)
2. Some of the crazy funny shit he said:
Regarding my sister: "You're an overbearing bitch, you know that?"
(Sarah's response: Yep. You raised me after all.)
Regarding my mother (his ex-wife): "I was married to your mother for a lot of years, and that woman had a big fat ass."
Regarding my daughter: "She's high maintenance." (She is. Really.)

My favorite, though, was when the Hospice doctor asked him when he had his last bowel movement. The doctor had a very think Indian accent. Dad answered "I don't know. It was a long time ago. At that place off of Main street (looking at me) Do you remember the name of that place? They had sundrop in a bottle"

I said "Dad, he asked when you had your last bowel movement. Not where you last went bowling."

Dad said "Oh, it's been 10 days. I thought that was a stupid question."

3. The expression on his face as we wheeled him into the transport van for the ride to the Hospice house (he was too agitated to stay at home, we couldn't keep him safe). He looked lost. Like a little kid. It was a bitter moment for me.

He is resting now, and that gives me some comfort.

Okay. On to happier stuff.
I had been having a serious lack of running mojo. Bad runs, bad times, just zero motivation. Last week I went out for a 3 on Thursday and felt okay, so I was hopeful that I'd be able to finish the Point Bock run (5 miles) sub-55.

It snowed on Friday, pretty heavily. I was happy because I felt like it was NEVER going to snow. On Saturday, the weather was pretty great for me. A little sunny, just a little wind, and nice clean roads through a winter wonderland...34 degrees. Ahhhhhhhh.

Point Bock is an out and back. I don't like out and backs generally. I don't like seeing the winner when I'm only about 25% done with the course. It's demoralizing. I was pleasantly surprised with this out and back as the course was really pretty with the snow and the trees and water.

I was also pleasantly surprised when I felt great and passed (yes, PASSED) my husband who always kicks my ass at these things. When I heard them call out 40:28 as I passed the mile 4 marker (39:17 by my Garmin) I knew I was about to get a PR as long as I didn't blow up in the last mile. I didn't. I finished strong. I hit my watch and almost passed out.


Holy fuckballs.

My official time was 48:35. I was so stoked. I've been waddling my rapidly fattening ass around at a 10:30 pace for the last two months. I guess I need to saddle up and go for it more often!

Speaking of saddling up...
I have 15 on my calendar this Wednesday (was supposed to be Saturday, but I'm meeting my Ragnar peeps in Madison for 6ish miles that day). Fifteen is farther than I have ever run, being a half-marathoner. Part of me is all "Yeah! Bring it! Suck it 15! You think you're so hot!" Part of me wants to hide in the corner. Add to this the fact that it's supposed to be 53 and raining on Wednesday? Fear. I'm probably going to pee myself. (No, really. That happens to me. You don't poop out three kids and not pee a little.)


Also I started a round of P90X today. I am tired of being fat. It worked for me before, it will now. I'll be a lean, mean marathon machine by May. I need to lose 15. 20 would be better.

Wish me luck! I'll post about the 15 (if I'm still lucid) on Wednesday.