I’m just going to be all nonchalant about the fact that I ran 14 miles yesterday.
If you read my last blog than you may recall that my intention was to run my 14-mile run tomorrow (Sunday) In fact, I’d been signed up, even before this big, crazy Prague marathon idea lodged itself in my craw, to run in an indoor 5K race at McCormick Place tomorrow, and my plan was to run the 5K race, and then run the additional 12 miles from McCormick Place to my gym directly afterwords. Which really sounds like of nutty, doesn’t it?
However, the weather forecast was in favor if it (predicted to be 45 degrees and sunny — in late February(!)). And I had to do the run.
What changed? I woke up yesterday and thought, what the heck. I’d just knock out my long run and then be able to enjoy tomorrow’s race without it being complicated by having to continue to run another 12 miles directly afterwards. Also, it seemed weird to split up my long run like that. So, I just mapped out a run that took me from my house on the NW side of Chicago, to the lakefront, south on the lakefront for about four miles, and then back.
Contrary to my pledge of only a few days ago to practice a discipline in my personal activites more suitable to an athlete and less befitting Elvis,
on the night previous to my run, we’d had a small dinner party to celebrate the arrival of a good friend who we hadn’t seen in several months. Nothing too out of hand, but enough wine was poured that I felt it the next morning.
And the weather… wasn’t exactly welcoming. Tottering on the brink of freezing, it was sleety/snowy outside and the sky was a “stay-in-and-watch-period-dramas” variety of gutter-slush gray.
So what got into me? I don’t know. But I do know a couple of things. One is that, in general, when I’ve had a big run hanging over me, my inclination is to just get it out of the way and be done with it. The other thing has to do with my wife, Nikki. When I suggested that maybe I would suit up and go out in the snow and do my long run, she said that doing so would demonstrate that I’d “crossed a line.” Now, that line could have been one of sanity to insanity, but I prefer to think she meant that I would cross the line into serious bad-assery. And something about the idea of that appealed to me enormously. Fuck yeah!
So, I loaded up my IPod, laced up, and headed out.
The outside world was a lot slushier than I realized. Even with my best efforts to avoid puddles, within a mile of my run my feet were completely soaked. Adding to the peril was the fact that ice shards were dropping from the trees. Just past the first mile, I was ready to turn around. The conditions were ridiculous to run in. I would be totally justified.
I was already out running. And, I had to do my weekly long run. And, I didn’t really want to do it after the indoor 5K — I thought that plan was kind of weird. And, yes, more than anything else, I wanted to cross that line.
I pushed forward.
Although pushing isn’t really the right word. During my run, I stayed focused on landing light on my feet. I concentrated of propelling myself with the strength of my hamstrings as opposed to my calves. Even though the residential street was stop and start with traffic signs and people and sidewalk-long slush lakes, it actually seems like I cleared the 3.5 miles to the lakefront in no time. Once I turned onto the running path, things became a real breeze because there was no traffic and far fewer people to navigate around and the track was mostly clean and dry. And also, (and this is admittedly corny), just as I was digging into the running path I crossed paths with an older lady out for a walk who grinned at me and gave me a double thumb’s up.
I tell you, this boosted my mood and put extra pep in my step for at least the next two miles.
It seemed like I’d made it down from Wilson (4600 north) to Fullerton (24oo north) in no time, and then it was time to turn around and head back. I was halfway done.
At Belmont (3200 north) I detoured to a convenience store to buy a bottle of water, rehydrated, and then shuffled off again with about 5 miles left to go. And then four. And then three. By the time I was two miles out from home, I was starting to get tired and my slog became a little bit more laborious. I was feeling it. But I pushed on (secretly grateful for the occasional red light at an intersection, although they always made starting up again harder). I don’t know the exact time because I didn’t mark the time I left, and didn’t remember to check the time right upon my return, but I calculated it at roughly 2.5 hours.
14 miles! More than a half-marathon! Little, lazy me! Huh.
Which brings us to the end of week 7 of my training. This week is my step-back week, so I only(!) have to run 10 miles with my long run. I hope the weather is nice next weekend but I don’t care if it is or isn’t, because I am *not* doing that shit on a treadmill. ever. again.
Now, I have a couple of questions for any endurance runners who might be reading this. They are:
1. How do you manage hydration on long runs when drinking fountains are not available?
2. My knees are sore. Solutions?