“You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back.” – Steve Prefontaine
This past Saturday was my last long training run prior to Boston. It was bitter sweet. I personally enjoy the long miles but my body does not (my heart loves them and my legs dread them). This Saturday was unlike most. I woke up a little late and was rushed to get out of the house. I planned to leave earlier than normal to get in 8 miles before the 12 mile group run at 8:00am. I did my usual routine; breakfast (oatmeal), get dressed, check facebook and weather, and dynamic stretching. Normally I leave the house the moment all of these activities are completed. However, this morning my daughter woke up before I made my exit. I tried waking my husband with no luck. I got my daughter out of bed, changed her diaper and made her breakfast. Half way through breakfast my husband took over. I was 45 minutes late leaving the house. I made a dash to get in as many miles as possible before 8am (this was a mistake, I ran at race pace which rocked my legs). I got in a little over 4 miles prior to meeting the group. The streets were dark and calm. I love running before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. I always feel like I am in a zombie movie where the streets are empty because the whole town has been turned into zombies. It’s a peaceful, eerie feeling. I was in such a hurry to make it to the group by 8am I lost complete track of time. It is a marvelous feeling when this happens because I can run forever. I felt good upon reaching Fleet Feet; I was warmed up and ready to go. I was excited this would be the final long run before Boston. I am so close I can almost taste it!
Sara, Cathy, Cathy’s boyfriend, a woman who has never ran with us before and I headed off into the park. The 12 mile course was tough to say the least. We circled 2 parks a few times (the parks in Louisville are packed with rolling hills). I knew the course but I had not thought about the challenge of repeating the multiple hills. I run the parks frequently enough to know what to expect. The first 4 miles were easy; we spoke with ease and did not pay attention to the act of running. Sara and I are the chatting ones within the group. I like when she is there because it helps to pass time. After looping Cherokee twice (Dog Hill is a tough hill to repeat) we headed into Seneca. On the way to Seneca my entire body grew with fatigue. It was one of the oddest feelings I have ever had running. We had covered about 9/10 miles when the fatigue set in. Normally 10 miles is nothing for me but not this Saturday morning. My body felt fine, my legs were strong but I had an overwhelming feeling of tiredness. It was almost like having the flu. I went over the day before in my head. Had I ate enough, hydrated properly, rested well? Most of the answers were yes, except proper sleep. My husband went out with the guys the night before. For some reason I do not sleep well when he is not home. I hate going to bed alone. Rest is important for recovery and over all energy. I assume lack of sleep was the culprit. It took everything in me to pick my legs up and move forward. I kept the conversation going with Sara to focus on something other than my depleting energy. I never want to appear tired when leading the group. They count on me for positive feedback. Time began to pass but not quickly. We kept an 8:30 pace and were able to speak the entire time with ease. I know I wasn’t pushing beyond my limits, so why the feeling of complete exhaustion? The only other factor that could have impacted my body were allergies. I suffer from allergies severely. The weather in the Ohio Valley keeps teetering between hot and cold tempters (this is normal in the Spring months). Maybe it was a combination of lack of sleep and allergens. Whatever it was I hope I do not have the same feeling during Boston!
After circling the parks multiple times we made our way back to the store. I normally say my good bye to the group while we are running and continue on as they enter the store to rest. However, today I entered the store with them. I needed a moment before I headed back out for the final 4 miles. My stomach was upset and my body exhausted. I stood in the store and exchanged words with my buddy Eric. He ran Boston last year and had a lot of good and exciting advice for me. I love expos and I have heard Boston has one of the best. Eric shared with me it is the Mecca of Adidas. I can’t wait! Most of the input he provided, I was aware of. The Boston Athletic Association mails a race day packet to all participants with an overwhelming about of information. However, I was unaware of the memorable items the association sends upon completion of the race. I grew so excited during our discussion I had to hit the potty before I began running once more.
I thought the small break in Fleet Feet and the motivational words from Eric would ignite my body. I was wrong. It took me a moment to be able to propel forward in a running motion. I decided to punish myself for having such an awful feeling by taking the long way home which included a gigantic hill. I attacked the last 4 miles, the final hill and sped the rest of the way home. My face lit up the moment I saw our house. The inviting porch and the comfort of knowing I was done with 20 miles until Boston. We had a busy Saturday planned, which allowed me no time to adequately stretch (RICE). I entered our home and instantly went into mommy mode. I cleaned the kitchen from breakfast, gave my daughter a bath, got her dressed, cleaned, did laundry, went to the circus (it was AMAZING), had dinner, had guests over, watch the University of Kentucky loose in the Final Four and finally called it a night. I love busy days following a run because it keeps me on my feet. The muscles in my body do not have time to lock up from sitting. For how awful I felt during the 20 miles on Saturday I was amazed how wonderful I felt on Sunday (thank God because we had another busy day packed with appointments). Early Sunday morning I took my daughter on a 1.5 mile walk for a nice recovery. Sometimes walking is enough for me, plus it allows bonding time with my little one.
This week I will begin my taper in preparation for Boston. I am over the moon with excitement. Boston will be a huge accomplishment for me. My training has been routine, focused, disciplined and adequate. I have never been so prepared for something in all my life. 14 days and counting………………..