August 22, 2011

Miles without medals


My sister-in-law was right. This marathon in November will seem like a treat compared to all of these lonely hours logged at the gym track.

This is week 7 of my training schedule, and my long run on Saturday was 14 miles, which is the most I have ever run in one stint. The longest before that was the half marathon, 13.1. The track was pretty sadly empty. A few heavy duty walkers were there with me through the first hour. About four other people ran on it at some point. Just one or two laps at a time. I like having other runners there, even if we don't make eye contact. There is solidarity in solo running. It's the unspoken knowledge that at least someone else is out there suffering (or rejoicing, if you are an optimistic/annoying person) with you. Or maybe I am just a group-sports person at heart, and I like to have someone to whom I can complain. Whatever it was, on Saturday the track felt lonely.

Perhaps because of the lack of oxygen to the brain, I also lose the ability to count past (or under) one when I am running. I use the Nike chip in my shoe to track my time and distance. It syncs with my phone to tell me how far I have already run, and I can't tell you the number of times while running that I have been unable to subtract two simple numbers to come up with the distance remaining in my run. I blame it on the running, but it could just be the new, barely-able-to-caluclate me. What do you mean, 4 minus 3.2 isn't 1.8? The good news is, I usually overestimate my remaining distance and end up excited that I finished earlier than I thought I would.

It took me two hours to finish my miles on Saturday, and when my Nike app told me I was finished, I did a slightly audible cheer. That was it. No medal. No back patting. No finish line treats. I had to go immediately home and make my own self some snacks. Boo!

And I was completely exhausted. I made the mistake of doing Bikram (in a boiling hot room) yoga that same morning. I thought it would really help to loosen me up for the run. Oh, and I had a coupon that was about to expire for the yoga class. This is my inspiration for over half of the activities in my life. Overall, I think that it was too much sweating for one day. I was really cold after running, and without having researched this at all, I just felt like being cold after running that far was not really a good sign. So the rest of the day I rested and ate.

But now I'm intimidated by next Saturday which is supposed to be 15 miles. I just don't want to feel that completely wiped out again. So I think I will break out the GU energy gels and maybe stash a bottle of Gatorade at the track. I took a water break at the fountain after every third song, so I didn't feel like I was dehydrated, just de-electrolyted. If you needed to harvest some salt for goiter and cretinism prevention, you could have used the surface of my skin. I never realized that we had enough salt in our sweat to actually create salt dunes on our skin. It's true, people.

Any advice from you runners at large?