My run on Friday was a disaster. Though I was anxious about the run, I was also excited as Corey and I had an opportunity to run with Calvin and Evan I knew it would help time pass. Everything seemed to feel okay in the beginning. I stayed on pace and did not try to rush off, rather I cruised along never going too fast or too slow. As we neared the 10 mile mark, I was not feeling that great. My body seemed to lack any energy and my legs felt tired, weak. At the halfway point we dropped off Evan and picked up Hokan. I took time to eat part of a banana and a gel, a gulp of Gatorade and we were off. Calvin was only hanging for about 2.5 more miles and he’d be turning back. I struggled from the parking lot and felt myself really grinding to get up the first hill. Topping the hill, we had a brief downhill run and I was assessing my condition and trying to encourage myself to re-group. I needed to pull things together quick, the next 2 miles were all up hill, not steep, but a constant raising grade. My mind was really battling me as we ran. I hooked on Corey’s heels and locked in. Calvin dropped off, everyone said their goodbyes as he left the group. I was already in survival mode, I did not turn or wave, I just grunted. Things were looking dark for me and we were only at mile 12. What is going on.
At mile 13 I was done, out on my feet and completely wasted. I told Corey and Hokan, I am out. I may be stopping and shutting it down. It was just that bad, fatigue, lack of energy, weakness, I was in a fight and I was losing… badly.
Corey encouraged me to keep on going, I stayed the course, mostly due to pride. Mile 13 and 14 were difficult at best. The fluids at mile 14 did little to revive me and the gel was useless. I needed a jolt, and decide I would run into the Corner Deli for a coke. Corey and Hokan slowed the pace for me to catch up, but I never did recapture thedistance. Rather I watched as the distance grew. I had five more miles and no idea how I was going to finish the run. I thought how strong I had been the week before averaging 8:12 for 17 miles and here I was struggling at 8:23. Damn, pull it together. I gave myself a goal, it was less than a mile and I did this again. My 20 mile run was reduced to a series of 1 mile runs from mile 15 on. I did not stop, other than to replenish my fluids. My last fluid break a Holiday Inn breakfast bar, I ran in grabbed three glasses of mango juice and raced back out. I was on the home stretch, passing mile 18 and with 2 to go, I found renewed energy. My pace picked up and I felt confident I would finish. Corey and Hokan were already out of site, my goal was to get as close to pace as I could. I did not think it would be possible, as miles 15-17 were so bad. I was delirious and had no idea how fast or slow I was running during that time. Now however, each step now drew me closer to my finish and with a half mile to go, I began to sprint. I wanted this run done. Rounding the corner to my imaginary finish line, I saw Corey and Hokan, looking strong and fresh, they looked to have been done for a while.
I looked at my watch but had no idea if my time was slow or fast. My initial thought was too slow. Later I would learn that I was actually fast, 20 at an 8:23 pace. Good enough. The run really damaged me physically and mentally. But it also made me stronger, physically and mentally. I pushed for 8 miles when my body said not one more step. I ran when I could barely stand and I stood when my body wanted to fall. A good way to end week 4, I am glad it is over.
The weekend went quickly and on two occasions I lost track of the day. After affects of a taxing run. The highlight of the weekend was tubing with the family in North Georgia and going to the movies with Jack.
Monday brought the start of week 5 and the first time I had seen Jay in 2 weeks. He looked very thin and a bit frail from his bacterial illness. He ran strong as he Corey and I all started the weeks training together. Corey and I were running a 2 – 3 – 1 workout, 2 EZ, 3 at 6:14 and 1 EZ. Jay was easing back into the training with 4 x 1200. A good run and he was solid the entire time.
I felt challenged and sometimes at ease during my tempo workout. While driving home I realized I just ran 3 miles at a pace faster than my best 5K. Not bad. I hope to take this same strong run into Fridays 18 mile run at 8:11. I will be tested!