Aug 30, 2009

My Best Workout Ever...Or Worst?

Sorry, I`m not talking about today. No, this was in January of 2008 when I was in the midst of some serious marathon training. To the tune of 2-3 80 mile weeks in a row on my way up to 100 miles (what was I thinking!). Early in the morning I set out for a 16 mile run and knew from the outset that I was quite fatigued. I was living in Tokyo at the time and fortunately there is a subway stop every mile or so and I thought I`d just go 4 miles and then grab a ride home. At 4 I decided to go one more mile and then 5 became 6. I said to myself I could turn around now and put a nice 12 mile run in the book but I couldn`t even fathom running another 6 miles. On I plodded up to my 7 and 8 mile marks chanting my mantra "just keep running, just keep running" in my head. Yes, you might recognize that I paraphrased that from Dory in Finding Nemo. So I turned around and started heading back, each time I passed a mile marker I told myself I`d catch a ride at the next one. Finally at the four mile mark, 12 miles into my run, I stopped my watch and turned to walk to the subway. After 10 meters I stopped, turned back around, restarted my watch and ran the rest of the way home. A run that I never thought would go more that 4 miles at the outset and never thought I`d complete. Mentally the toughest run I`ve ever had. Less than a week later I pulled out of the marathon with achilles` problems. Should I have just given my body the rest that it was asking for?

Well contrary to that run I felt pretty solid throughout my run today, which is saying something for a 20 mile long run. I felt like I was lagging a bit from 14-16 but that was only because I was going through a particularly wicked section of hills. Around 17 I was mentally ready to be done and started calculating how slow I could run these last miles and still finish under 9 minutes per mile. I started counting the miles, hills and minutes remaining. Under 20 minutes, 10, less than a mile, only 5 more minutes, 4, 3, 2, 1 and...done. Long, slow run, very casual but still at a faster pace than I`ve run a long run since I was doing only 14-15 in my build up. Also I went without the Powerade. No sports drinks or gels, just a drink from a water fountain at a park I ran through, which is how I usually do my runs. Maybe that`s why I realized I was so hungry when I finished.

All in, 20 miles at 8:52 pace.


Glenn Jones said...

Great workout! I carry a fuel belt on my longer runs so I can take enough water/fluid and gels/clif bars. Otherwise I find that I really fade about 14 to 15 miles in.

lindsay said...

i like the flashback to the tough run. it's always interesting to wonder the "what if's" but hard to know if one caused the other.

curious to know what your peak weekly mileage is these days if the 80-100 was not a good idea for you? or have you since taken a slower, more gradual approach to the same mileage? i'd like to one day run 100 but i know it's not gonna happen too soon as i've only hit ~65 max so far.

nice job on the 20 miler! without any food/drink too!!

AZ said...

I have a fuel belt too that I used to use. I mentioned once to Lindsay that I usually like to go without anything, that way my body has to utilize my fat. In theory anyway.

Back then I was running 6 days/times a week. Now I'm only running 3 and hitting about 40-45 miles. When I peak this training cycle I should get 50-55 and might add a fourth workout. I think to hit 100 I'd have to have slower build up or do some two-a-days.

Jason said...

wow 80 miles a week. my best is only like 52 and that left me pretty drained.

Marlene said...

Congratulations! That is one awesome 20-miler. I can't believe you run that far without fuel.