Monday, November 17, 2008

What WAS I thinking?

On Sunday I did my longest-ever training run and ran for about the same amount of time as I did during my first marathon. The run turned out to be 25.5 very hilly miles in just about 4 hours, or roughly a 9:30 pace. All things considered, it wasn't bad, but I was definitely tired in the final 3-4 miles, especially where the final mile included 350+ feet of elevation gain (i.e., one major, killer hill).

Adding to the challenge was that the temperature dropped between 15-20 degrees from the time I went out at 7:30 and when I finished oh-so-many miles and hours later, with the wind picking up substantially as a front moved through.

The good news is that although I got a little tight, nothing really hurt. My new Asics 2140's felt fine for the entire run. I didn't chafe or blister. My hips are slightly sore, but not too bad.

Still, it's not easy to wrap my mind around the fact that I will have another 14.5 miles to go when I reach the same point on December 7th. The 40-miler idea is seeming less and less well-conceived as the date approaches.

Interestingly, I ran the first 11 miles with a friend who's done 13 ultra-marathons, including at least a couple of 100-milers. Not only does he finish, but he places well, very well (top 20 at his last 100-miler). As we set out, I asked him to tell me everything I needed to know to get through the 40-miler. His response: "Just keep going." That's it. Couldn't be much simpler that.

Here's how I'm looking at this:
On December 7, 2008, at the ripe middle age of 40, I will explore the
current limits of my endurance. I'm hoping that that limit is equal or
greater than being able to run 40 miles. If it's not, I can live with the
audaciousness of the attempt. If it is, that will help me start my fifth
decade of life (harsh to put it that way, really) knowing that I still have a
lot of life - and even more "living" - left.

Last night, my wife asked me how I was feeling after the long run. I thought about it and answered that I felt a lot better than almost anyone else would after running that far. We both laughed.

I'm not sure what to do this week, but will likely step the mileage back a bit to recover from Sunday's effort, running maybe 15 or so miles as a long run next weekend, all done at a nice easy pace.



Nat said...

I think you will be fine. You are just going to have to avoid thinking "14 more miles" when you hit the 26 mile mark. I know in a marathon I just think about getting to half point for the first part and then after I work my way to mile 17 and then I start counting down. For some reason it is a huge motivator to have single digits left. Good luck!

Billy said...

"Just keep going" huh? Good stuff. Writing that one down. ;)