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Murphy’s Law, Long Run Corollary

August 29, 2009

Not familiar with it? It says something like this: If you can forget it, you will; if it can break, it will.

This was my long run yesterday. I had only one Hammer gel left, so that was all the available fuel I’d have. I forgot my visor and my comfy shades, bringing along an untested pair instead. I set out and knew right away that I did not feel great; I must have stopped three times within the first half-mile. But I knew, also, what was wrong: I’d run ten miles on Thursday at about nine-minute-mile pace, way too fast for a girl who was supposed to be building up her mileage slowly after taking it easy on her knee. The day before, I’d run five with Little G at about 8:30, also way too fast.

No wonder my legs were telling me No in no uncertain terms. Thank goodness, though all else was going wrong, I’d at least snuck my ipod into my Spi-belt. This was one run that was definitely going to need some musical inspiration.

I headed south on A1A and told myself to ignore my pace and just do my best to keep moving forward. That was my first good decision. As the miles continued to barely eke by, I made another decision: I decided Thursday’s 10-miler would have to be the week’s long run. I just knew my legs wouldn’t give me more than 8 miles.

But hey, sometimes, as a runner, you just have to listen to your legs and yield to their infinitely superior wisdom.

I ran five miles in a southern loop and took the Hammer gel, then started calculating my northern turnaround point. It would be the 7.5 point. I was watching my pace like a hawk, trying to make sure I didn’t let myself get too fast. Well, what do you know, I look down at 6.1 miles and Garmie’s screen is blank.

That’s right, blank.

I must have tried to revive him a hundred times in the next hundred yards. Nothing.

Running blind to pace and distance, I picked out a turning point that I liked, based mostly on the fact that it has clean bathrooms, and headed south again. At one of my water stops, I decided to go down to the beach to check out the sights. It was so beautiful that I decided to run down to the pier on the sand.

Yes, the sun was way too high in the sky for this particular experiment*, the sand way too soft underfoot. Running on the sand is a definite challenge, asking you to use muscles you’re not used to using, and requiring that you push harder and give more as the sand gives you absolutely no resistance. After some time I swore the pier was just an optical illusion. The wooden ladders returning to the street beckoned, but bullish old me refused to give in, and I propelled myself stubbornly toward the long wooden Juno pier.

Returning to the street, I knew I had about one mile left to get to my car. I was hot and thirsty, having faced down the rising sun and the water for some time, so I soaked my head under the showers, took a long drag of water, and headed for home.

I had to estimate my running time, since I wasted so much time trying to resucitate Garmie. When I got home and mapped my run, I discovered that my tracking skills stink–I ran 11½ miles total, 1 ½ of those on the sand. My pace was unspectacular–I calculate that I ran the distance in just under two hours–but at least I got in the long run.

The goal for this week is to get back on the training schedule, something that will admittedly be difficult to do without a Garmin training partner to track my splits. In the end, however, no excuses are accepted at the finish line, so I’ll simply have to do my best to get speedy fast. The Women’s Half will be upon me in eleven weeks, and I’m determined to cross the line in under 1:50.

Running week summary:
Sunday: easy 4,5 mi in 43:27 and 76*, 91% humidity, 9:38 pace, 385 calories.
Monday: rest day
Tuesday: unscheduled rest day due to thunderstorm
Wednesday: easy 8 in 1:14:45 and 83*, 77% humidity; 9:21 pace, 696 calories
Thursday: easy 10 in 1:30 and 81*, 78% humidity; 9:00 pace, 860 calories
Friday: tempo 5 mi in 43:08 and 78*, 86% humidity; 8:37 pace, 400-some calories
Saturday: long 11½ mi in approximately 2 hours and 77*, 91% humidity; 10-10:30 pace, 900-some calories
total mileage: 39 miles in 6:13

*The sunglasses were absolutely unwearable, so I had to run on the beach without a hat and without shades. I was afraid I’d develop a migraine, but miraculously, I didn’t–even after we visited every parent’s waking nightmare (aka Chuck E. Cheese) for lunch. God is good!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2009 7:31 pm

    that was quite the long run! i struggle so much when i run “blind” without at least a time estimate. kudos to you for sticking it out, through the heat/sun/dead watch and all! chalk it up to time on your feet and mental training and get back out there again this week. hopefully the watch will cooperate and the temps will help out as well.

    re-stock up on running-fuel! do you use gu at all or just hammer products? i know some people’s stomachs can’t handle different kinds. jw.

  2. the Ringmaster permalink*
    September 2, 2009 12:32 pm

    I’m thankful that I my stomach seems to handle pretty much any kind of fuel. I’ve tried Accel, Gu, and Hammer, and I don’t seem to get “distressed” by any of the different kinds. I definitely need to load up on more, though–I’m supposed to run my first 16 of the season this weekend and I want to be well-equipped this time, though I’ll be doing it blind as to pace again.

    Thanks for your encouragement, Lindsay; as always, it’s much appreciated.

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