Today’s long run was UGLY. No two ways about it. It reminded me of about 7 of the 10 marathons I’ve run, where I hit a wall and the splits turn really really bad. Because I think we can learn something from ugly runs like this, I’m trying to analyze it and figure out what went wrong, so that I don’t repeat this run ONE MONTH FROM TODAY at the Phoenix Marathon! Feel free to move on to a more exciting blog. I won’t be offended.
So why did it suck?
- It was 2 degrees, with a windchill of -7. I was dressed ok but for some reason my face got really cold this time. Even now, 12 hours later, it feels like I have a wind burned face. Very weird. (Pretty sure this won’t be happening in Phoenix).
- The footing was horrible. I went out about 7:30 this morning. 1/2 the roads were plowed, which actually made the footing worse than if they weren’t plowed, in my opinion because there was loose slop/chunks of snow ice from the plow all over. And it was too cold/too early for it to melt. So it was sloppy and icy. Footing really really sucked. (Pretty sure THIS won’t be happening in Phoenix either).
- The route was hilly. It’s hard to avoid hills where I live, which I don’t think is a bad thing because training on hills makes you stronger and faster. But when the roads are sloppy/icy, getting up the hills is HARD work. (Phoenix is downhill, so this shouldn’t be an issue)
- I didn’t hydrate properly. Just like last week’s long run. I brought a handheld (20 ounces) with Nuun water. But within 2 miles the spout was frozen and within 4 miles the whole top was frozen. So other than my gu, I didn’t have fuel. I use a handheld because I have learned that I need more water/Nuun/gatorade than “normal” runners – the amount I get at water stops just isn’t enough. So I’m sure this played a huge role in why I hit the wall (I can avoid this and hydrate properly in Phoenix)
- I was bored. It’s getting really fricking old to run for 3 hours by myself freezing my ass off. When it’s decent weather (i.e. at least double digits ABOVE zero) I actually love running by myself because it’s my time to sort through my life. But virtually all I thought about for 3+ hours today was how bad this run sucked, how bad I wanted to be done, and WTF am I thinking signing up for marathon after marathon! (This shouldn’t happen in Phoenix, since it will be new scenery to run in and it’ll be at least double digits above zero!)
- Another big reason it sucked is my legs are tired. This training plan is higher mileage than I’ve done for marathon training. I’m in week 12 of the 16 week plan. All but 3 of the weeks have been 50 – 65 miles. The past 4 weeks (including this are 60 – 65 mile weeks). So put tired legs on crappy footing, and it’s bound to be ugly, right? (Phoenix won’t have this issue because my legs are going to be fresh and tapered!)
What got me through the ugly run?
- It’s my last 20 miler before Phoenix. So even though it sucked, I wanted to finish the entire 20 miles.
- Thinking about sitting under a warm blanket and reading my book. (I’m reading Gone Girl. Anyone read it? It’s messed up. In a good way.)
- The groundhog not seeing his shadow. Seriously. I know it’s all just a big fictional thing but I am so ready to be DONE with winter that if that little guy had seen his shadow I think I would have had a breakdown.
So there you have it. I’ve analyzed the shitty run. And I’m not going to dwell on it – especially because virtually all of the reasons I think it was crappy will NOT be there in Phoenix.