The “Long” Run: Pride Cometh Before a Fall

   I have a 1/2 marathon in two weeks.

AHEM. I would describe myself as a non-runner. As the assigned goalie in high school soccer, I am very good at kicking things very far distances. That’s about it.

So I checked out “Running for Dummies” from the local library. I’ve been running during the week and doing long distance runs on the weekend. I’ve been keeping track of my mileage on a big poster board in my room. I bought a Runner’s World magazine. I’m ready, right?

With almost a year of running under my belt and some modest recent improvements, I got the brilliant idea to “run until I can’t.” My short run were too easy this week and I’ll be honest, I was getting pretty cocky. So I decided to run the distance of my upcoming half marathon (13 miles) for practice.

Well it was about 70* and VERY sunny today. I started running and after about .02 miles, I thought… “Boy. Maybe I should have had some water today.” Kept running.

I got to what I thought was about 5 miles and thought, “Hmm. My teeth are sticking to my lips. I’m not feeling so good. Sandpaper. Hmm.” Kept running. Eventually, I had to run into a Mexican restaurant and got a small cup of water. I drank a little and poured most of it over my head to cool myself down. I kept running.

At what I thought was about four or five miles more, I ran into a gas station. The attendant looked at me like “THIS IS GEORGIA. IT’S HOT. WHY ARE YOU RUNNING AT THIS HOUR…?” (maybe that’s just what I was thinking). Anyway, I grabbed a bit more water and continued . It was a really bad run. I mean, it was WORK. I figured I was at about 9 or 10 miles when I reached my wooded trail. The wooded trail would add about 3 miles to my trek.

I really didn’t want to go into the woods. I mean really didn’t. The hills are steep and there are a lot of people on that trail. Worst of all, most of them are on BIKES. Psshaw. So easy.

But, true to form, I ran into the woods. After about a mile and a half of steep hills and sharp turns, my upper legs felt like they were going numb. I was gasping for air and running pretty slowly. My arms hurt.
Don’t ask me why.

The sun was burning my skin. My vision was white and blurred. I made it through the woods. I turned the corner and started to run home. I thought about turning back and asking some of the mountain bikers for some water…. an extra water bottle. Gatorade. I thought about drinking from the big pond in the woods. I thought about all the shots of the desert in the English Patient. I thought about lying in a puddle or diving into someones pool. I thought about Waterworld. You know, Kevin Coster actually drinks his own pee in that movie. I actually thought about that scene.

I had a mile left. My legs felt like lead and my feet were making slapping noise against the pavement. Relentless cramps rose up and down my abs. I actually got the chills. I tried to distract myself from the running my calculating the distance in my head. Let’s see. 10 miles in the loop around to the woods. 3 miles in the woods, at least. 1.5 miles home. That’s almost 15 miles! A PR! The half marathon is going to be a breeze! Right?

I actually made a pathetic attempt at a sprint at the very end of my run. I finally reached the end. I got home and gmap-ed my distance.

10.39 miles.
10.39 miles.
10.39 miles.

WHAT?!?!Apparently dehydration affects math skills??

So if you heard a huge whooshing sound coming for the dirty South this afternoon, it was my pride deflating. My intended PR was actually my PW: personal worst. I’ve run that distance before! Maybe it’s because I’ve been cutting calories.
Suffice it to say that this half marathon is going to be veeeerrrry interessstttting.



Filed under running

4 responses to “The “Long” Run: Pride Cometh Before a Fall

  1. tom

    Hi Rachel, I just found your blog and am excited for your half marathon.

    Don’t be discouraged about your training. The training run you described was just one of those rotten runs, but it does not mean you can’t succeed on race day.

    Hopefully you have a plan for pacing and hydrating on race day. Reading your other posts, you’ve done a pretty good job of running during the week and increasing your mileage on your long run.

    I encourage you to be positive. If you need any tips, let me know. I’ve run many half and full marathons and operate a friendly social web site for runners where we share information with each other and support each other’s running. It’s called Runners’ Lounge,, and it’s free and for runners of every level.

    In any event, I’d be glad to send you some tips and advice compiled from many runners which we all find helpful.

    Best wishes for your training in the last few weeks.

    You will do very well on race day!

  2. Rachel,

    I’ve been there. Don’t give up. I started out on a 10 mile run once. Three miles in and I nearly passed out at the local university parking lot. 5 miles in, I laid on the grass with a water hose in my face. I stopped and had my wife come pick me up. It was humiliating, but I started to understand hydration and time-of-day running. 2:30 on a June afternoon is a bad time, regardless of your part of the country.

    Anyway, I see you’re going ahead with the half-marathon. Best of luck. I hope everything goes well. Here’s to a good race temperature and time.

  3. Rachel, I just found you via a nice little chain, from Valancy Jane to Daydreamer to Lisslo to you.

    I feel your pain. I myself always thought of myself as a jogger rather than a runner. It always pissed me off reading Runner’s World about how someone was training running 70 miles a week. I was like, “if I run 7 miles a week, that’s a banner week.”

    Good luck on the 1/2 marathon. Really, it’s fantastic.

  4. Lorraine Alanon

    Wow that’s a pretty good training! … and good luck on your first 1/2 M.

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