In case you haven't noticed, I changed the picture on my blog, from the half-marathon finish to the Ragnar Relay. I was going to change the whole blog and do a bit of a makeover but instead opted for changing the pictures up. I'm a bit of a restless person sometimes so I don't expect to make it to 2010 with this same look. It's just tough finding blog templates, and I'm not sure that I'd be up for a "Cutest Blog on the Block" look. Call me crazy but that's just not me.
Anyway, that's not the purpose of this post. I just rambled a bit there. Ahem. I'd wanted to blog about Sunday's run, officially my longest-run ever. I ran a whopping 15 miles on Sunday morning, besting my previous long run by a mile (about .72 of a mile, to be precise) and I couldn't not blog about it.
As I've mentioned, Yvie was pretty sick on Saturday night and that made for a restless night of sleep for all of us. Plus with the time change, it made for an early morning. I'm talking 4:30 a.m. early. Usually I'm fighting for every minute of sleep since I work most Saturday nights from March through October, but this Saturday I didn't have to work so I was home and managed to get to bed a decent hour (about 11 or midnight or so, decent since most Saturdays I'm burning the 1 a.m. oil).
I woke up at 4:20-something and knew that it would be pointless to stay in bed. I didn't get my stuff ready right away though so by 5:30 or so I'm starting to get my things together and then everyone woke up, Yvie was coughing, I was wavering on whether I should go running at all and before I knew it, it was 6 a.m. and I didn't have everything together. I usually try and leave by six so I can relax on my drive to the Lopers meeting, which starts at 6:30 with the runs starting at 7. And one thing about me, I absolutely hate feeling rushed. Hate it. So of course I feel rushed and I'm trying to get everything I need. I left the house a little later than I would have liked but left. Mrs. LB said she could take care of Yvie if need be, and need needed be... or something.
Anyway, in my haste to get my stuff together I neglected to find some of my running underwear so I just wore whatever I had on hand. Bad mistake, which I'll get to later. I didn't check in the proper place because I has harried. It was just precursor for how parts of the run would go.
We started off just like any other run and I felt pretty good in the early parts. Mile 5, 6 and 7 came and went and I felt good, felt strong. Oh yeah, I only had one packet of Gu so I decided that I'd save it until Mile 9 or 10. That was just another challenge I threw myself.
When we got to about mile 7 or so, right before the turnaround point, there was a water station which had some cookies. I grabbed a cookie and figured it would serve as a Gu substitute. Not sure if it actually did but psychologically it worked. Now, this 2-mile stretch or so was on a windy, narrow two-lane road. It was a bit harrowing at times because some cars flew down the road and weren't slowing down much for us. I was glad to get off the road, at about mile 9 or so.
Now, usually I'm pretty exact with my distances. It's not that I don't remember them - I just never saw them. At about mile four-and-something, The Garmin gave out on me. Actually, the batteries in The Garmin weren't up for a 15-miler apparently, so I took it off my wrist and jimmied it on my hydration belt. It really didn't bother me too much.
What did bother me was not knowing my exact mileage. Knowing the course helped because I kind of knew where I was but still I like to see what mile I'm at when I'm running.
At about Mile 12 or 13, I started to really feel the run. I think I might try some different socks. I splurged and bought a nine-dollar pair of socks, and they're great because I can barely feel them. But therein lies the problem. I think they would work best for shorter runs, maybe for like the 10K when I need to run faster. But for long distance runs, I think I need the extra cushion and padding on my feet because my feet took a beating during this run.
And it was at about this time that my poor choice of underwear kicked in. See, my running underwear does wonders because it keeps things in their place, and keeps things from grinding against each other, namely my thighs. So my thighs were rubbing against one another, and while this was a much bigger problem when I was heavy, it still persists. Since I had on normal underwear and not running/workout underwear, my thighs were chaffing. So at the final water stop, I slathered vaseline all over the insides of my thighs and it was akin to jumping into a swimming pool on a hot summer afternoon.
One of the few things that went right during my run was my undershirt. For the first time, I wore an undershirt while running. It was a shirt I'd had for a while, a shirt that really sticks very closely to my torso. I didn't tape the nips, nor did I use any lubricant or anything. And towards the last few miles I kept expecting to feel something but I felt nothing. This was probably the greatest part of the run.
Now, at the beginning of the run, we'd set out with a sizable group but some left early as they were running 8 and others hung around until the midway point, then broke off to run 11 miles. Not sure what happened to the rest but when we were heading down the last three miles or so, there was only six of us. While it was motivating to run with the other five of us - including our pace leader who said he'd hiked 25 miles the day before - it was a bit disconcerting to know that so many of the 11-minute-per-mile pace group had not reached the last stage together.
I tried not to let the mental part of the run ruin it for me. We were close, very close and if only The Garmin had worked, I'd be able to...
I heard music. Soft music, far away. Except it wasn't far away. It was coming from my waist. No, there wasn't a party in my pants, but rather a phone in my fuel belt pocket. It was Mrs. LB, telling me that she was going to take Yvie to urgent care. I was close now, about .25 miles from the finish, and I was able to huff and puff myself to a few sentences. I wasn't quite worried about Yvie but relieved that she was going to go to the doctor's.
The group had whittled down to four by now and then when we turned down the last and final part, one of the other first-timers took off and I chased after her. I wanted to finish strong but I know I didn't look as good and as strong as she looked. Still, it was great to have finished running strong and to know that I could have gone on if I had needed to. Oh yeah, I had a good 20 steps left in me, 30 maybe.
After the run, I did something I don't normally do. I collapsed. In the grass near where we start. I was so tired.
One of the final four had a working Garmin and said we'd run 15.04 miles in all. I believe it took us about 2 hours 30-40 minutes. We finished at a 10:54-per-minute pace, I believe is what he said.
I felt good after my initial collapse. I just needed to get off my feet for a moment is all. I didn't feel any lingering effects save for my eyes. My eyes were red and dry after last week's run and after Sunday's run as well but I don't believe it was lack of fluids that caused it. I had Lasik a few years ago so that might contribute to it. I think I'll carry some eye drops with me for future runs of 13 miles or more.
Our training schedule has us hitting 15 miles a few more times before Feb. 7 and the marathon, so hopefully my next 15-miler (slated for Nov. 15) will not be so frenzied as this one.