Sunday, August 19, 2007

An Ugly Sixteen

LSD. I finally got my 16-miler in today as I prepare for Chicago seven weeks from now. You'll remember I had a little trouble with the heat last month when I attempted a sixteen miler and my running buddy A shut down our run, correctly, after 14 miles. Then I hurt my foot. My injury put me down for a full week and set me back three weeks.

But last week I did a more robust 28 miles for the week, including a track workout, a race and yesterday's eight-miler, when I had energy left over at the end of the run. Today I wanted to do 14 or 16, but I hung around the house putting it off all morning. Finally at 11 am I headed out. Fortunately it was overcast and still relatively cool.

The W&OD, a forty-mile long running trail, cuts right across my back yard line at MP 7. Pretty handy. Mile markers every half mile.

I ran seven miles down to Shirlington and seven back. That took 2:13 (9:30). Going down to the zero mile marker I was running nice 8:45s or 8:50s. But then I got tired. Coming back it was more like 9:20s to 9:50s, and well over 10:00s for the last couple of miles.

I moseyed along a little on the way back. I stopped at the comfort station at the Ranger Shelter. I went by a couple about my age, walking along wearing tie-dye t-shirts. I stopped to chat.

"Tie dye is back in?" I asked.

"Oh, you bet." (Why am I always the last one to find out?)

"I've got to get home and find all those t-shirts I still have from the seventies," I said as I hurried off.

I contemplated extending my run to a 22-miler. But I was getting really tired and I was really slowing down. I made it to my driveway, the fourteenth mile, where I'd laid out food and Gatorade in my car. I was panting and feeling a little woozy. The sun was coming out and it was getting humid.

As I sucked down Gatorade, I considered the fact I'd given blood two days earlier and attributed my weariness to that. Plus I was convalescing my foot. My grand notion of doing 22 miles shrank to 17. I'd do a single repetition of my hill workout, which is a two-mile out and back from my house, and follow it up with my neighborhood mile. How hard could it be?

Very hard indeed. On my hill, I walked twice taking deep draughts of water from the fresh bottle I was carrying. Those miles were on the order of 13-minutes each. Going down the steep part of my hill was painfully slow. My motion was akin to stumble-bum.

I abandoned my new plan to finish up with my neighborhood mile. I gratefully shuffled into my driveway after sixteen and a quarter miles at 2:40:35 (9:53) and pulled the plug. The second half of the run was ugly and getting uglier. Boy, long runs can go down the tubes in a hurry.

But my sixteen is done. My foot feels fine right now, although tomorrow will tell. Now I just gotta do a twenty-miler as I get ready for Chicago, maybe in a couple of weeks.

Odds & Sods: I have a friend at work who is scheduled to take a long-planned vacation to Cancun, Mexico, with long-purchased airline tickets on a flight on Wednesday. All of the tickets are non-refundable. Cancun would be the place where Hurricane Dean, projected to be a Category Five hurricane packing 160 MPH winds, is due to make landfall on Tuesday. For my co-worker, it must be like watching a slow-motion train wreck as the storm moves across the Caribbean.

Thanks! I want to thank my brother for his generous support of my intention to run Chicago as a fund-raiser for a charity, A Running Start Foundation. My brother is a sometimes-runner and a Yankee fan like me.


Bex said...

Sorry we couldn't run together this morning. I just couldn't get out of bed, as I'm still on pacific time. I totally blew off my long run today, in fact. So I have to log 14 tomorrow.

Backofpack said...

Saw your comment on Dori's blog. Good job getting 16 done! Is Chicago your first marathon? Either way, I hope you enjoy it.

I came over to comment because of your comment about noise - I'm with you - sloshing water, clinking keys, stuff like that drives me nuts. I just got the hydration pack and my husband showed me how to eliminate the slosh. If I tell you, you could stop all those runners who are noisy and tell them! Then you'd have a peaceful run...

Black Knight said...

Every marathon is always a new wonderful experience, many new places to conquer and many enemies to defeat. And remember all the runners ahead are not faster but only scared people. 16 miles are a very good job. Before the long runs I always eat half power (natural) bar and I drink half gatorade and half water at the half marathon mark.

Susan said...

I am very, very excited to hear your Chicago report, based on the looks of this one!

jeanne said...

looks like the black knight found you!

i think your decision not to give blood til AFTER the marathon is very wise.

too bad, i gave away all my tie dyed whatevers.

Just12Finish said...

Don't search too fast for those shirts. Tie-dye is back if you're 12 or under. Or a hot soccer mom. But males 18 and older ... um, not yet.