Yesterday I ran my last long run before the marathon. I did my 20, but it was painful. I’m not sure why it was so hard except that it was the longest distance I’ve run in several years. It was another morning of pushing through walls and breaking boundaries.
I felt ready for this run. I ate and hydrated well the day before; I slept great and was out the door at 6:35, only five minutes off my intended starting time of 6:30.
Just as with previous mornings on my favorite road, it was beautiful and cool. I felt great. In fact, I felt fantastic all the way to the 10-mile marker, which culminated in some hilly sections, and was my turn-around point. I was really happy. There were segments in the first half where I was tempted to run faster than I should, but I held back, saving some energy for the return trip.
Then, somewhere just past the 13-mile point, everything felt tight. I kept stopping to stretch, but I felt like my body was locking up. I brought an energy bar, cashews and water, so I refueled a bit. On my other long runs, I brought too much water, so I carried less this time. The morning had heated up quickly and I was regretting not having the extra water. It was a walk-run the rest of the way home. So I got the miles in and I didn’t stop. Psychologically I felt really good. But I just couldn’t relax or regain my stride.
For several hours after I got home, I felt semi-exhausted. I stretched, ate and continued to rehydrate. Surprisingly, I recovered quickly and felt much better by the late afternoon. Today I had only a little soreness. For the next three weeks, I’ll do short runs during the week and exercises at home. I’m running a half-marathon next weekend which is just a little longer than the 12 miles I was scheduled to do.
I don’t know what this means for marathon day. I was frustrated that I had to walk so much during my last long run and it makes me wonder how I’ll do.
I’ve crossed a line.
I’m hoping a few factors will work in my favor:
1) The elevation along the course in Morgan is 5,069 ft. I’ve been training at 7,200 ft., so I’ll have a 2,131 ft. elevation bonus.
2) The race starts at 5:30 a.m. which means a brutal wake-up, but the lack of heat will make for a nice start.
3) I’ve been running with a small pack which has been a distraction. I won’t need that during the run, since there will be aid stations along the route.
4) The excitement and energy of the runners will carry me to some degree.
I started training for this later than is recommended, but I’m still excited for the challenge. I’m hoping to run under four hours, as that is the cut-off for my age group in order to be eligible for the Boston Marathon. (Making the time does not guarantee a spot, as explained in this post.)
I’m still loving the training. I love running in this wide open land. If I don’t make the qualifying time in this marathon, then I’m in good shape to adjust my training and run another qualifying race.
Transformation is happening. I’m pushing myself to new limits and it’s going to feel uncomfortable. But it’s all good with me. I love to run.