Tina and I hit the road bright and early this morning at 6:00. Well, early anyway, but the sun was not yet up so it sure wasn't bright.
We arrived at the San Leandro Marina all set to do our 16-18 mile run. Which for us translates to 18 miles, of course. You know...over achievers. It was cool, but not too cold, and a little breezy. Good running weather. I was a little apprehensive about this run. For some reason I just wasn't feeling great. But we were going to give it our best shot.
The first few miles went by and I just didn't feel like I was getting into a groove. By the time we hit 6 miles, I really felt bad. I was having side stitches and feeling tired already. It was nothing like the 16-miler a couple weeks ago. That one was tough, but doable.
The course was 8 miles out and back. Somewhere on the course we were supposed to make up the extra two miles. Like repeat the last mile, or add a 1 mile loop on the end of the run. Tina and I decided to add a mile on once we reached 8 miles. So we went past the turn around and did one more mile then turned back. For one reason, it's mentally easier to see the finish line and know you can stop instead of having to go past the finish line and do an extra mile. For another reason, most of the 8 miles were on a gravelly trail which was wreaking havoc with our stride not to mention our joints. The extra mile we did was on pavement and we noticed an immediate difference.
I was really struggling by mile 11. I was exhausted and nauseous and felt like I wasn't going to make it. Tina, good run buddy that she is, suggested we do a combination walk/run for the last 6 miles. I was running so slow at that point that I didn't really think it would make a difference time-wise, and it didn't. It did help relieve my nausea and it seemed easier to push through 5-7 minutes of running, realizing that once we made it through those few minutes we could have a one minute walk break. I think Tina was doing much better than I and could have finished much sooner, but she wouldn't leave me behind. I owe her one, since she pretty much dragged me to the finish. We missed a part of the course and ended up doing 'only' 17.1 miles in about 3:40.
I don't know what it was exactly about this run that had me so down, but it was the worst run I can ever remember having. Including the full marathon. Tina thinks it was the gravel that makes it feel like you're running over molasses. That may be part of it. Mama Lisa (one of our coaches) says that everyone will have a bad run once in a while and we shouldn't get too down about it but I was really discouraged. I've come all this way and then I feel like I have a major set back. My eating habits hadn't changed from previous weeks. My activity level was about the same. I had a couple nights of bad sleep, but not too bad. Is my body trying to tell me that this is too much? Or did I just have a bad run, like coach says? All told it was only one more mile than the run two weeks ago, so why was it so bad? Argh. I'm driving myself nuts trying to figure out what went wrong. I need to just put it behind me and move on. Easier said than done. Hopefully I'll have a good run on the 17th at Disney and that will help my mental state. Keep your fingers crossed for me.