from mile to marathon

The journey of a thousand leagues begins from beneath your feet.
Lao-Tzu

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

low points and high points

You make plans and then life interferes. I meant to commit myself to the race for the remaining weeks, to work on core strength, to schedule my time around big runs. Instead the focus was broken by a flight to the East Coast and back and the emergency situation in between.

I could not imagine missing another long run, so I scouted out good places. More than once. Incessant rain had liquefied the ground, the roads stretched into unfamiliar woods, the weather was foreboding. One alternative that seemed safe was a 0.8 mile loop on solid pavement. But 0.8 miles? I would have to go around dozens of times for the run to make a difference.

I did not have a chance until the third day, Monday, one of the rainiest days of the rainiest April in the recorded history of the region. The rain thinned from the storm of the day before to a persistent drizzle, but the wind stayed gusty and the temperature in the low forties. The only thing that seemed appealing about this run was the altitude. At sea level, the oxygen would make breathing easy, it would increase my speed, it would jolt me forward.

My pace improved from roughly 12.5 at home to just under 11. Subjectively though I did not feel any easiness, any relief. It was the most brutal run I ever did, 28 times around the miserly loop, 22.4 miles. Perhaps it was the stress. Perhaps it was the exhaustion – I had an average of five hours night's sleep over the last 72. Perhaps it was the weather. For hours I pushed myself on and on, chilly to the bone, soaked in icy sweat, the running shoes heavy with water.

Two more loops would have brought the mileage to a perfect 24, and I meant to do them, even if I had to crawl. I did not because of time constraints. Instead I raced through a cold bath, a hot shower, and dressing up, and 40 minutes later I was ready for business again. I shivered for the rest of the day.

This is going to be the most I could do before the marathon. It has to be enough.

14 Comments:

At 3:07 PM, Blogger traveler022 said...

Wow 22.4 in the freezing rain! How miserable, but you did it! 22.4 is more than enough for your marathon. You are ready!! Our training schedule is a bit whacky w/24, but maybe it's because we do the run/walk method. I'm not sure. It's mental endurance at 20miles. I know you are strong and will do great on your first! Now enjoy your taper:). It's my favorite part of training.

 
At 3:33 PM, Blogger Joe said...

> You make plans and then life interferes.

Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.

 
At 6:39 PM, Blogger Backofpack said...

I think sticking it out on that miserable run prepared you well for marathon day. You'll do fine.

 
At 7:15 PM, Blogger Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

It seems to me that you have the marathon attitude....good job getting that run in under those circumstances.

 
At 8:37 PM, Blogger JustRun said...

It is absolutely enough. You will be fine.
Honestly, you stuck it out more than I would have. You are in this thing, don't worry!

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger Deene said...

sounds like you are more than ready for the marathon. It hardly rains in shiprock but the sand blows like crazy so don't forget your shades and plenty of chapstick.

 
At 3:03 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Oh, the dreaded circle and in the rain no less.
That's the way racewalking courses are...loops! Would drive me crazy.

You've done more than enough miles, I think you better start resting up until M-Day

 
At 8:13 PM, Blogger Pure Virtual Function said...

WOW! That many miles in a circle and bad weather is amazing! I ran 16 miles on a track once and it was AGONY! Trying to keep your mind properly occupied on a course like that is a chore. You will have no problem with your marathon in May... you put the miles in the bank, and you obviously have the mental toughness for it. Best.

 
At 1:53 PM, Blogger Desiree said...

Wow - you are a hard core runner. Impressive.

 
At 5:27 PM, Blogger Annette said...

It WILL be enough! You are ready. Anyone who does that long of a run in nasty weather can handle the marathon. Now the tapering. . . . . :)

 
At 8:35 AM, Blogger Chad said...

OK - I'm VERY impressed - you are really getting these big runs in. You will do great on the marathon. Just make sure you are taking care of yourself - that's a lot of mileage.

 
At 4:50 PM, Blogger robtherunner said...

I enjoy the circle running. It prepares your mind for the mental battle that will take place on marathon day. I only did 20 miles before my first marathon. You're well prepared!

 
At 8:39 PM, Blogger Journey to a Centum said...

That should be more than enough. Many runners never go over 20 miles before their first marathon. Way to work in that run during a bump in the road of life!

 
At 2:22 PM, Blogger Angie said...

Lia,

I peaked only at 20 miles before my marathon and it was enough. Your body knows what to do. Just taper well, get plenty of sleep and fuel your body like there's no tomorrow. You can and WILL do this!

 

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