Sunday, June 26, 2011

20 miles...any way you can get them.

I had a 20 miler on tap for today.  I usually run my long runs in the morning, but since I ran the Jim-N-I run late in the afternoon, I wanted to delay it a bit later in the day to have more turn around time.  My legs were VERY sore after the tri run.  I wore my new 3.0s, and I felt it after the run.  Not injury pain...just general soreness.  I was so sore it was waking me up last night.

So I slept in (until 10:00...thanks to my husband) and didn't run until around 2:00.  I was so sore.  So I got under the robot.  That helped a lot, and made me feel like I actually COULD run 20 miles.  I had planned to do the Buddha 20 mile course, but Tim (who had already gone swimming and biking this afternoon) wanted to join me for ten miles.  We had to take Rowan in the running stroller, and it's way too dangerous to take him on the Buddha course due to traffic and no shoulders on the roads, so we decided we'd do 10 in town together, then I'd add on 10 out in the county.

I didn't feel well from the start.  First, I had some abdominal pain.  I didn't have any yesterday, but it was there from the first step today.  It's nothing like it used to be, but it's very annoying.  It was on both sides.  I think it must have been from the effort yesterday.  That or dehydration.  We were going slowly, but my legs just felt dead.  It wasn't that hot, but boy was it muggy.

About 5 miles in, the abdominal pain got better, but the legs just kept getting worse.  I ran the next five with Tim back to our house.  He and Rowan went inside and I had to leave for another 10 miles.  With how I felt, it seemed daunting.  I reminded myself that I love running and headed out.  Very slowly at first, as my legs had tightened up from the brief stop.

I'll spare you all the details, but let me just say it got ugly from there.  14 miles in I wanted to pull the plug.  I stopped at a volunteer fire department right around that time.  I run by it all the time, but usually it looks all locked up.  Today, though, there were two firefighters outside.  "Do you need help?" they asked as I stopped at their drive.  I must have looked bad.  "I just need some water."  I had been drinking...I had water stashed.  But it just wasn't enough.  I was so thirsty.  Gels weren't helping, so I hoped some more fluid would.  They gave me two coffee cups full of ice cold water and an ice cold bottle of water to take me.  I thanked them profusely and went on.  I drank the entire bottle of water very quickly, and stopped where I usually have to use the bathroom.  But I couldn't pee.  I was 14 miles in and couldn't pee.  That wasn't good.  I grabbed some stashed water and drank some more.

The next six miles were awful. The abdominal pain returned and my legs just wouldn't go.  My vision was getting blurry and I knew I'd be lucky to finish the run.  I stopped looking at my splits, as I could see myself slowing waaay down.  I told myself to just finish.  It's still 20 miles, I told myself.

I stopped every couple of miles just to gather myself...just for a minute or so.  I had to.  I still couldn't pee and, worse, I was now vomiting up all the gels and water I had taken in.  Before I knew it, I was at the base of Slaughter House Hill.  Two miles from home.  Before I began to ascend it, I said to myself "Just get the miles.  Get them any way you can get them."  I was giving myself permission to go as slowly as I needed to.

Half way up the hill, I had to stop.  It's a very steep hill, but it's not that long.  But I HAD to stop.  I rested about a minute and then finished it.  I refuse to walk.  I just rest and then resume running.  The next two miles were the worst of the run.  After Slaughter House, it's still hilly.  I usually don't mind the hills in town, but today they killed me.

My Garmin clicked 19, and all I could think was "I have to do this for another mile?"  Yeah, it was that bad.  I usually finish long runs strong...actually feeling better as the run goes on.  Not today.  I set up landmarks.  I'm going to make it to the stoplight.  Once I did that, I'm going to make it to N Street.  Okay, I'm going to make it to Bill and Leisa's house.  At that point, I still had a bit over a half mile to go.  It seemed to go on forever.  I stopped at 16th Street to wait for traffic.  My feet began to cramp and my vision was getting worse.  I could almost see my house but I knew I had to make a turn to add on a bit of distance.

I continued to give myself landmarks. I really felt, with that little distance to go, that I might not be able to finish without stopping again.  Make it to Amelia's bus stop.  After that, I looked at my Garmin.  Crap...I still have 0.25 to go!  I ran right by my house (that was difficult) and continued running until it clicked over to 20.  I then collapsed in my yard.  I made it into the house and into a chair, where Tim said "Well, you did it" and gave me some watermelon and Gatorade.  I couldn't even talk.  He had to take my shoes and socks off of me.  I've never felt so pitiful after a run...not even after the marathon.  I have only now (hours later) looked at my splits.  My average was around 9:08 per mile.  I know that's not slow, but that's a lot slower than I've ever run any run--including a long run.  It's a miracle it wasn't worse.  The only reason it was that fast was because the first 10 were in town and much faster.

So I can hardly walk--I feel like I did after the marathon.  I do not know why.  I only ran 50 miles this week.  I ran hard yesterday, but it was nowhere near race effort.  I don't think that I re-hydrated enough yesterday, and perhaps that's what got me.  I can't pinpoint it.  All I know is that I've never had a bad 20 miler.  Ever.  I've heard everyone talk about them.  "Oh, one time I was on this 20 and then...."   A horrendous, death march 20 miler is a common occurrence among distance runners.  So it appears I just had my first one.  I'm sure it won't be the last.  At any rate...20 miles in the bank.

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