Monday, February 17, 2014

A humbling 16-mile run through the wind with no medals!

Happy President's Day!  I spent most of my day off today trying to recover from yesterday's 16 mile run!  It was a pretty painful run that I seriously cannot thank Jess enough for helping me get through.  But, before that, let's just run through Saturday really quick, shall we?

Well, Syracuse won on Saturday night and I watched the game by myself at the bar with my self-allotted one glass of wine while watching.  It was another nail-biter game and it made me a little sad to think of the fact that I've watched most of these close games alone, but I try not to think about that.  It is sort of sad to go to the bar all the time by yourself, huh?  Again, it's just one of those thoughts I try not to allow in my mind and just do what I like to do.  And for me, it's watch Syracuse basketball and right now I don't have any other friends that live nearby that share that interest!

Anyways, I went home and went right to bed after the game, as I wanted a good night's rest and the girls were planning to meet at my apartment at 8:30 a.m. before heading over to the University of Albany campus, where the marathon relay we were running was scheduled to begin.  Unfortunately, I woke up to the news that Jess and I's 3rd leg of the relay was sick and not able to attend.  Which, although it is a bummer she is sick and we didn't get to see her, wasn't really a deal breaker for us as our main goal was to get 16 miles logged.  We decided that I would run the first 10 miles alone, we would run 6 miles together and Jess would run the last 10 miles of the race alone.  Since the relay was supposed to be a 10 mile, 5 mile, then 11 mile segment, I ended up putting on the race bibs for myself and my sick friend.  As Jess and I enjoyed joking, I had "two legs!"

We also joked about whether or not there would be finisher medals at the race.  We joked because the race website said MULTIPLE times in a really funny way that there were no medals to be given out, that no, they were not considering having medals in the future, and that the race only cost $20 so -- NO MEDALS!   It cracked us up and we enjoyed asking back and forth randomly, "Hey do you think there are going to be medals at the race?"

Despite the lack of medals, I was really surprised at how well the race was organized, and also surprised to find out that there were also people running the marathon as individuals.  One person I talked to before the run was planning to run the full thing as his first marathon!  It really surprised me that someone would pick a random winter marathon in Albany, NY with only 100 people as their first marathon, but hey more power to them!  Although I think I've got the right mindset picking Paris as my first :)

The race began and Jess cheered me on for the beginning, and I felt good for the first 5 miles.  However, it was cold and even worse, it was WINDY.  The course that we ran was made up of a few loops and there was one of those big digital screens that has the time and temperature on it that I kept running by.  It started at 19 degrees and by my 3rd loop was at 22 degrees.  However the wind was blowing between 15-20 miles per hour and it was just brutal. When the wind wasn't blowing it felt okay but I really was struggling when the wind was blowing.  I had a hard time getting my mindset going and the chants and mantras that helped me the week before weren't really working.  I was listening to music this time so I tried counting songs instead.  I would tell myself I just wanted to get through 5 songs before looking at my watch again and will myself from song to song.

By mile 8 I was already feeling really defeated and convinced myself to just run to Jess.  I saw her a couple times through my run and she was cheering me on and I knew I had to get to 10 miles and she would start running with me.  I kept telling myself between miles 8 and 10 to just "Run to Jess!" and "One mile til Jess!"

The first mile we ran together went by really quick mentally, but I knew that I wasn't running at a very fast pace and was concerned that Jess would mess up her run by starting off too slow with me.  Plus, the course had a 5 hour limit and I didn't want Jess to have to finish her run with a shut down race.  At almost mile 12 I told Jess for the first time I wasn't going to make it and that I thought I would have to walk.  She told me that walking wasn't a good idea, to keep going, stop worrying about her, and that her job was to get me through the next 4 miles.  She also tried to run directly in front of me to block the wind a bit and get me in her wake/draft.  Talk about a good friend, huh?  This is why we call her Coach!!!

At 13.1 (half marathon mark) I was at around 2:21ish and I started walking at the water station.  For some reason I stopped my watch for about 20 seconds as I walked through the water station.  I started running again after that telling myself that I wanted to go another mile before walking again.  I really, really wanted to finish without walking again and knew it would feel so good but I just wasn't sure if I could.  I thought about the run we did through the snow and how I wished I hadn't walked at the end but also knew that different races had different conditions.  I did tell myself a few times when the wind was bad, "You can't control the wind, but you can control your legs -- keep them moving!"

Literally, everything hurt.  I had been running with my head down for a lot of the first half of the race as I ran into the wind and my back started to feel really achey and painful and I had to force myslef to stand up tall with my chest out while I ran.  I also had put toe warmers in my shoe that somehow slid around and I could tell were causing me blisters, but I didn't think I could stop to fix and realistically start moving again.  However, at 14.1 I walked again but only for .05 miles.  I made it a half mile and at 14.65 I walked again for .05 and then somehow forced myself through the next 1.35 to hit my 16 mile mark!  I finished my 16 mile run in 2:56:40.

When I stopped running and Jess kept going, I was sooo grateful to be done and for Jess for getting me through the last 6 miles.  I knew I had about 50 minutes before she would be returning from the loop she was on to a place where I could cheer for her.  I went indoors to where the race had some snacks and grabbed water, hot chocolate, and a banana and peanut butter.  I then went out to the car and changed into non-sweaty clothes and cheered for some runners and Jess as they made their way back around (the course was made primarily of 5 mile loops.)

I went back inside for some more hot chocolate and then chatted with some friends, before returning back outside to see Jess finish the race and run the last .2 miles with her.  We crossed the finish line to not much fanfare and of course -- no medals!!!

Our official finish time was 4:47:14 for the whole marathon, so I guess that might be a good indicator of how we could possibly do in the full marathon?  I really have no clue how to judge how I will do on that day.  Some people say that it is your half marathon time doubled, plus 20 minutes.  Which is pretty accurate to that if you take my first half marathon that I finished in 2:19:17!

I'm lucky enough that Jess wasn't totally sick of me after the race and I spent the evening with her and her family with an awesome home cooked dinner, wood laying in the fetal position by the wood stove, the Olympics, and ICE CREAM.

You can't exactly see it in the picture, but I had actually bought one of these Butterfinger/Peanut Butter Cup hybrid candy bars the day before as my long run "treat" but then when Jess said she had ice cream, hot fudge, and sprinkles... I couldn't just have one or the other, so I totally took advantage of those Weight Watchers points that I'd earned and had both.  So the candy bar is broken up under that sundae and it was delicious!  I wrote about how last week it was sort of a bummer to be alone after the long run, so it was really nice to spend the rest of the day with friends!

My legs were feeling really tired at the end of the day yesterday, my back still hurt and I had a headache and just was not feeling good.  We went to bed early and as insane as it sounds, got up at 5:00 a.m. because Monday is a running day!  Jess, Aubrey and I ran 4 miles this morning in more cold and wind.   We followed it up with a trip to Starbucks, which really makes everything better and the runs a lot more fun to have that to look forward to.  We ran a little later than usual so we did finish to a beautiful sunrise!

The run this morning was really hard and I felt like crap for a lot of it.  My chest hurt and I almost felt like I was going to throw up.  I went with chamomile tea, water, and then I came home to spend some time on the couch.  My whole body actually felt so achey that I ended up making phone calls to see which locations throughout Albany could fit me in, and I went in at 1:00 p.m. for an hour long massage at maybe the 6th massage place that I called.  It wasn't the best massage of my life, but I think it helped.  I stretched some more when I came home and felt better enough to do a little grocery shopping and cooking.  I "treated" myself today to visit the Albany Co-Op which is totally awesome and I love it.  I got some yummy foods, cooked up spaghetti squash and quinoa and brussel sprouts and salad and kale and all sorts of healthy foods for the week.

I'm getting really nervous about the end of marathon training.  I realized about halfway through my run on Sunday that I didn't have any more REALLY long runs left in this weather or with Jess.  We step back this coming weekend to 12 before jumping up to 18.  I have some travel coming up so I won't be around in Albany for these coming long runs.  It's getting scary and exciting and I'm doing my best to keep my nerves in check.

After last week's confidence boosting run, this one was humbling.  I still need to take care of myself, prep myself mentally, and also I guess just accept that every day and every run is different.  I don't know if marathon day could be a day I feel great or a day I feel like I am going to cry.  I have been going back and forth throughout this training experience so it has definitely been a roller coaster ride!

And with that, I am going to turn myself in for the night.  Thank you again to my marathon training and crazy running partner in crime.  We may not have gotten a medal but I feel like I've already won!

1 comment:

  1. Very useful and so peaceful blog for us. Such a good work and so good write up.