Saturday, September 25, 2010

My first 13.1


Until today, I'd never run 13.1 miles.  Since I've only trained for sprint and Olympic distance triathlons thus far, there was never a need for it.  My long runs where usually 10 miles.

But since I needed to work towards my mileage commitment for Big Clyde's Weekend Challenge and I'm starting to think about next June's 70.3, I figured today would be a good chance to get a taste for the distance and rack up some miles.

I wouldn't say I was taking a cavalier approach to this run.  But I did see it as a normal long run with an extra three miles, or maybe two back-to-back 10K's with a rounding error.  What I've now realized though, is that 13.1 miles is a frickin' long way.

Simple out and back.  Kovas will take note that I ended up running on a portion of the Santa Ana River Trail, which I had told him last week that I would never run on again.
It was pretty hot today - maybe the hottest day we've had all year.  However, there was a nice on-shore breeze so I didn't think too much about it.  I had my Amphipod fuel belt with two full bottles.  This has always been enough for my ten mile runs.  But today I was out of fluids by mile 5.  Hoping for a little kick, I ate a gel but all this did was make me thirstier.  By mile 6 1/2 I was light headed and having cold shivering flashes.  This is never a good sign - I was dehydrated.

At about 7 miles I came to an exit off the multi-use path so I took it and found a convenience store.  The best thing they had to drink was Powerade.  Not my first choice but good enough given the circumstances.  I also needed something to eat, but this is where I ran into a problem.  The shelves where literally empty.  They didn't have any Clif Bars or Power Bars or even Tiger's Milk Bars.  They didn't even have Snickers Bars or M&M's.  All they had - get ready for it - where Skittles and some crazy generic version of Hostess Snoballs.


I bought the Powerade and the Snoballs, walked back up to the trail, and sat on a rock to fill my bottles and eat.  As I took a bite into the first Snoball, I almost puked thinking about how I would probably be puking this thing back up in about 20 minutes.  They were gruesome.  They were gross.  But between these and the Powerade, I felt much better and started running again.  6 miles to go.

Everything was fine until mile 11.  I felt good, and more importantly, the Snoballs where staying down.  But I was out of fluids again so I had to stop at a water fountain to fill up.

I don't know if it's because I stopped for too long or what, but when I started to run again it was pure torture.  My quads tightened up and mentally I was ready to stop running.  But I only had 2 miles to go and I was running through the heart of familiar territory.  Between where I stood and where I was parked, I knew every rise, fall and turn of the path.  I've run this path 100's of times.  I didn't have that far to go, and I realized that if I quit then I wouldn't have anything to post on the blog tonight.  So I kept going.

It's been said that the more desperate you are, the more the distance gremlins conspire against you and the longer the miles become.  I don't believe this - regardless of one's desperation, a mile is 5280 feet.  Rather, it's the FEET that get longer.  As I mentioned, I run here all the time and I know the distances like I know the back of my hand.  These last two miles have been measured many times.  But regardless of what my Garmin was saying, I'm convinced the feet that made up these miles where long.  Perhaps fatigue transports you to an alternate universe where feet are 24 inches.

Eventually I made it to the car.  13.1 miles done.  I think I managed to finish with some dignity intact, but I can't be sure.  Excluding the Snoball stop, I had been running for 1:49:40.

Given my hydration problems, I would have been in trouble even if I was just planning on 10 miles.  But the big difference between bonking at mile 7 on a 10 mile run as opposed to a 13 mile run is, well 3 more miles.  That was tough to stomach at my low point.

The end...
With some adjustments and practice, I'll get this distance together.  But I have no idea how some of you guys call this half way.

18 comments:

Jennifer said...

Crazy run Patrick! As you said you WILL get it, and it will get much easier. Good that you kept with it under the hard circumstances. Most people would have bailed. Kudos for you. When I go out for even a 10 miler in warmer weather I can easily drain my 50oz CamelBak. Cheers!

P said...

"I realized that if I quit then I wouldn't have anything to post on the blog tonight." You have no idea how many workouts this thought has pushed me through!!
Awesome job, you were running really fast. Glad you didn't see those Sno-Balls again.

ajh said...

Those snoballs look awful! 13.1 is a long way and calling it a half marathon can be deceiving as it is a very respectable distance/race!

Kathleen said...

I have been where you were headed with being stuck without fluids and calories. I ended up dehydtrated and in bad condition. So glad you found a store to provide you with some fuel, even if it was showballs. Great effort and congrats on getting it done

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Good run. You are now mentally over the 13.1 mark and it will get easier each time (mentally, not physically).

With the crazy hot temps we have in TX planning hydration is as important here as any of the other aspects of running. No winging it or you'll end up in a bad way. My best way at handling this for long runs is either a camelback (if the pace is supposed to be slow) or parking my car at a midway point (around 8mi) and using it as a transition/hydration stop. It is a rare day that my car does not have a stocked cooler in the back seat!

Congrats on the great run and keep on practicing the hydration!

lindsay said...

nice run! i know it would have felt better if you had better hyrdation/nutrition, but at least you had something. sounds like that gas station should be out in the middle of no where with "selections" like that.

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Dude, if you didn't run in that leather hat, you'd have an easier time! (Of course you wouldn't look as good either.) Way to get that 13.1 in, crazy you did it as a training run. I miss the old trail, can't imagine how many times I rode/walked down it to surf/bodysurf/jump off the bridge/snorkel. Thanks for the memorial run.

misszippy said...

I almost puked thinking about the snoball/powerade combo! How did you do that?

Live and learn from every session...

Caratunk Girl said...

Congrats on the awesome run at an awesome pace, and way to push through that tough part. You must be psyched!

Ugh, those snowballs and running just do not go together - do you like gels at all? I always bring them on anything over 10 miles.

Seriously, in all the running I have done I have learned one thing: Once you get beyond 10-12 miles, don't stop or else it is hell to get going again. More so the more miles you go. You found that out though, my quads are crying for you.

The Green Girl said...

Wow, congratulations on your longest run - that's huge!

I'm sorry your beverage and nutrition choices were so limited. I was grossed out the second I saw those generic snoballs - before I had even started to read your entry.

Megan said...

Congrats on your first half and you get an extra high - 5 for doing it by yourself! I actually read your post before running my half marathon this morrning and I kept thinking throughout the race, "13.1 miles is a really long ways." LOL. Great job!

valen said...

you're like a planning freak!, why on earth bother with a half 9 month before the race?? ha ha ha.

Read your post about the 5 vibram 5 finger shoes, what's your take on them today?

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

First of all, congrats on doing your longest run to date! Yay!!!
Secondly, I seriously would have puked if I would have eaten one of those snowballs. I'm so glad they didn't come back to haunt you...if you know what I mean!
I was seriously cracking up about how you think the FEET change during the last 2 miles...it is so true. I felt the same way during the last two miles of my 18miler. Why are they the hardest?

Chris K said...

Welcome to my world. I have to say, Saturday was freaking hot. Trust me, it gets easier.

Cynthia O'H said...

Snowballs and heat? Yuck!

Great job on the run - even with all of the challenges you came across. Now that one is under your belt, the next will be much, much easier - and, hopefully, cooler.

Glenn Jones said...

You're much more committed than me. I bagged my runs this weekendwhen the temps kept going higher and higher. I was going to run Sunday evening, but when it was still 96 at 5:45, I decided to throw in the towel....

TRI714 said...

Your the man. I wish I could have read this sonner than monday @ 9:30 a.m. but glad I got to. Ride soon. Im not running with you !!!! yet.

Happy Fun Pants said...

What an inspiration! I can't believe you did 100 miles this weekend. I want to be more like you. :)

And I will...it'll just take me a while to get there.

Anyway, congrats - and thanks for the issuing of the challenge to Clyde - it got my butt up and running (and biking).

And I think it's funny that you now have a category for snowballs...:)

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