Saturday, March 6, 2010

1-2-3-4-5 Again And Again And Again

Today was my big attempt to do 12 miles before the half-marathon. And things did not go so well. It turns out that I made some mistakes this morning before going running (all of them stupid and they won't be repeated before the actual race).

Just as a reminder to myself for the future, you probably shouldn't go out drinking and staying up late the night before. Then, when you wake up and eat, you should go running a bit closer to the time that you ate instead of watching 3 hours of really bad TV. Then, after realizing that you're hungry and about to run 12 miles, you should eat more than a couple of handfuls of trail mix stuffed in your mouth quickly while heading out the door. I would think that I would know better than all of this, but apparently, sometimes I'm just not that smart.

When I left the apartment, the weather on my phone said it was 44. I wore capris, a short-sleeved shirt, long-sleeved shirt and a (baseball) running hat to keep the sun out of my eyes. I was actually a bit disappointed that it wasn't a little bit cooler because it's a lot easier to carry stuff around in my windbreaker than it is to stuff things in the little tiny pockets on my shirt and capris. The weather went up to the low 50s while I was out running, which is a nice change from the cold.

I walked to the park (no need to do much more than 12 miles, right?) and once I got there, I started off on my journey. So, the first mile was really bad. I was really frustrated with myself for not eating better beforehand. I actually thought that it might be hard to make it around the big loop of the park once, let alone the two loops I had planned. As a result, I took many more walking breaks than I am proud to admit. It was a really disorganized strategy of running and walking.

After about 4 miles, I decided to stop and buy and Orange Gatorade. I think it was a good idea in theory and it did make me feel a little bit better for a while, but then I felt a little bit barfy and was actually worried about getting sick. I got to the bottom of the park and completed one loop in 1:11:30 (11:43/mile pace). I'm not proud of that at all, but instead of giving up there, I pushed through. I wanted to talk myself out of it by telling myself that I could do half of it now, go and eat something and then come back and do the rest of it later. However, I talked myself back into it by rationalizing that I couldn't do that during the actual race, so even if this was horrible, I might as well get through it.

For the second loop, I recognized that there wasn't any way that I was going to be able to run the whole thing, but I needed to be more organized in running and walking than I was the first time. I devised a plan where I would run for 4 light posts and walk for 1. I spent the better part of the next hour counting 1-2-3-4-5 again and again and again. It turns out that I never really realized how many light posts there are in the park! I also definitely cheated on this once or twice, but I think the fact that I knew that I would have a walking break really helped push me on with my running portions.

I also did something that I don't normally do today - I brought along my iPod. I thought that it might get pretty boring out there for 12 miles and I figured I should bring along some sort of distraction. It actually was more annoying than anything else, even though I had downloaded a special new song to listen to. It didn't take me long to be annoyed that I even had to carry it around with me. It turns out that I rather like being alone with my thoughts while running (at least outside), which is good to know.

I had thought before I started that if I could finish this thing in less than 2:30:00, I'd be okay with everything. I am trying not to set time goals for the half-marathon, but I'd hope that I could be done in less than 3 hours at the most. Today was a really good experience for me. I learned a lot today about what not to do. I think that because I felt bad within the first mile, I thought that I might not finish, but that wasn't the case at all.

The best part is that after today, I literally will have less than a mile to go to finish the race. Even though this was not a good run for me, I still did the whole thing and I didn't give up on myself. At the race I'll know that I'm totally capable of doing the distance, even if it's not pretty at the finish!

Time: 2:29:49
Distance: 12.20 miles
Pace: 12:16/mile
Calories: 1680
Maximum HR: 189
Average HR: 162

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