August 17, 2013 by Amy B
The day before the long run started like this:
Eight miles in the morning before work.
I wasn’t feeling particularly thrilled about running at the butt crack of dawn after not getting much restful sleep the previous night. I find I have to play mind games with myself.
Just make it for a mile.
You know things don’t start loosening up for a few miles. Think of how great you’ll feel after five.
You’re over halfway done. Slow down to 11:00 miles. It will only add a few on to the total time. Who gives a shit.
I did a simple out and back on the highway since it was still quite dark out when I left. I expected daylight to break at 6:00 but nope. Still pretty dark. I had also forgotten the bear scaring devices, so I stayed away from the trail.
Eight miles on the highway can be pretty damn dull. From miles 5-7 i made up a little game I’m going to call “traffic tempos.” Whenever a stream of cars would pass, which happened every minute or so, I’d pick up the pace to what I estimate is my 10K race pace. After the cars passed, I’d slow down to marathon pace (I’m going with 10:00 min/miles as of now). It helped pass the time but left me pretty dead for the last mile home.
Later, after enjoying a hearty dose of bat shit crazy at work (happy Friday!), I had a very enjoyable lunch with some fellow runners at a favorite place near the office.
Talking about running ensued, since all of us are running either a half or full in the next few months. It was actually pretty awesome to have some runners to chat with. I hope it is a regular thing.
Later that night
There’s a BBQ at the end of the grad league softball season, an annual event. Scott wanted to go; his team was receiving the winning trophy and as he puts it, “Free food! Duh!”
I would have been fine to miss, but there’s a park right there, so the kids were able to get their park on for a little while.
Kind of amazing watching this little guy watch the big kids playing. I know he’ll be flying around with them before I know it, which is why moments like these are so stinking cool.
I would not call hot dogs, nachos, and watermelon my preferred “night before a big run” meal, but it happened anyway. When I think back to it, I’m sure I can at least partially attribute the following suck balls run to the frankfurter.
We got to bed late. Didn’t have a map planned out. Didn’t know what I was going to carry for water for three hours in temperatures that were running warmer than the last few months. You know, totally ready for this shit.
Back at RTK, I won this Salomon pack. I figured it was time to give it a shot. Yes, what a great idea! Test new equipment out on a three hour run! Idiot!
This thing is pretty amazing, to say the least. The straps are adjustable for short and long torsos. There are two huge zippered pockets (and one that expands) to let you stuff a shit ton of gear if you require it. Those two mesh pockets at the back will hold more waterbottles. The bladder is 1.5L and is separated by a cooling pocket that keeps it fairly cool and keeps a lot of the moisture from soaking your back. The front pockets hold more shit (also room for an iPhone!), a safety whistle (bears!!!) and some funky thin elastic straps that have multiple adjustment points, also keeping the pack stable without suffocating you.
Sounds awesome, right?
It was mostly awesome. The first few miles were the weird “get adjusted to wearing this huge thing” miles, but after awhile, I didn’t notice it much. I worried a bit about one of the straps rubbing my skin near my neck, but I never chafed, even after three hours. It was pretty sweet to have my gels and s-caps and iPhone easily accessible. I don’t find that to be the case with hydration belts, and they are always and forever slipping down on my hips.
While I’ll admit a pack is not my ideal way to carry anything, I should also say that I just fucking hate carrying water. I hate it. This was tolerable, but completely overkill for what I needed. However, if I were to take a big ass hike in the woods? I’d totally go for this guy.
The run? I tried to keep a reasonable pace. It was sunny. Hot. I originally decided to run the same path I took last week and just do a loop around town first. That plan was working out fine until I got down to Hancock, was nearly out of water, and knew I needed to end the run at a beach. Getting wet was not an option.
I called Scott, informed him of my route changes, and headed toward the beach. I knew I was going to come up short on mileage, but I wasn’t sure how much. I knew I didn’t want to run longer than about three hours if I could help it.
That last mile to the beach definitely felt like the worst of the day. When I saw the beach ahead, Scott was waiting in the car with the kids. If he hadn’t been there, I might have run past the beach and back to gut out the last mile or so. But with two little faces staring at me and waving, it was too tough. Plus, I was so done.
The water was definitely the right choice. I was able to cool off while the kids played on the jungle gym.
I’m definitely disappointed I didn’t stick it out, but I also don’t know how much benefit there is to doing so. If we’re going on effort, I am pleased with the one I put forth for that amount of time. I still have two more 20 milers before the taper, so it’s not like I won’t get the chance to suffer for 3+ hours.
At one point during the run, I found myself veering to the right on the path, this spontaneous weird movement. Unsure if it was a sign of dehydration, I stopped, walked for a minute and chugged some liquid. Perhaps I was underhydrated, underfueled, and just having a crappy day.
I’m moving on from this one and trying not to get hung up on the missed distance goal.