"It's a little self indulgent..." - My mom
"After I read a sentence, I get mad at myself for caring what you're doing." -Karl Dusen

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On top of a milestone and below a millstone

The weekend was both exciting and depressing as I saw a technical high but a few realist lows.

On the positive side, I hit 100 miles a week for the first time in my life. Whether I'd feel much different if I had stopped at 95, as I would have liked, or gone ahead and run through it, as Jake suggested, I don't know. What I do know is that for seven days I got in a lot of high-quality work running. I've always been a pretty low-mileage distance runner, so consistency north of 80 miles a week seven of the last nine weeks has been boding well for my marathon training.
The negative aspect is that I had an absolutely terrible race and then spent the next day pretty much depleted and bailed on two runs.

I spent more than an hour getting to Arlington for the Crystal City 5k. I arrived 20 minutes before the start, ran to the packet pickup, got a slight warmup in and got to the line. It was evidently 98 degrees, and muggy as heck.
I was happy, though, to see Wiggy and Jess McGuire before the race, and Pat Murphy taking pictures on the course. I greeted the new Ethiopian additions to the GRC racing team and I am pretty sure they didn't know what I said.
The gun went off and I ran like crazy to get away from the crowd of people that made it seem even hotter. I was way too close to the east African leaders, but I didn't care. I eased up a little bit and cruised for a while. It was so damn hot. Oh my God. The pack of Pacers guys passed me, and I didn't even care.
Sweat was already flying off of my body, pouring into my eyes and I was ready for the race to be over. I wound up running with some fellow I can barely remember, and we came through the mile in 4:59. I was surprised I was able to move that fast in the heat. We came upon the first water stop and I was thrilled- a splash of cold water would certainly help me focus for a few minutes! I reached for a cup and dropped it. A few seconds later, I had one in my grasp and I tossed it at my face, waiting for the refreshing splash.

I would have liked it to have been lukewarm. It was hot. Not boiling, but hot. I was nauseated. Thank God I didn't actually need to drink it. After the race I talked to a volunteer who told me they put the water out at 6:30, so it just heated up for 90 minutes before the race started. So, I kept going, but decided pretty early not to get too excited about the race. I hit the second mile in 5:33, passing some dude named Nelfe Geletli in the process whom I had been following, and realized then any hope I had of breaking 16 or even improving on my two 16:08s was pretty unlikely. I tried water again, and once again it was really warm. I shouldn't be surprised, the Independence 5k, also a Pacers race, gave out hot water bottles after the race, despite it being in the high 70s, so they just don't know how to manage their supply.

On the way back in, I just stopped trying, and slowed down a lot, I saw no use in pushing too hard for a bad time- 6:14 for the third mile. Geletli and six other guys passed me, but I really didn't care. I did notice people cheering for some woman, so I ran just fast enough to hold her off.
I came across a few other people I knew, Lisa and Joanna, and found my compatriots. I was happy to have them there so that I could judge my clarity of mind on whether I was safe to cool down. I was, so I trotted off for a few more miles and rolled over to 100.

I got to Pokey's dad's house around 11 pm and got to bed as soon as I could, sucking down some of the dozen or so Powerades I took from the race (also quite warm). I got up at 5:15 and we headed out to Boyds for Riley's Rumble. The plan was for me to pace Pokey through some 7:19s so he could break 1:36. When we got there and the air was already nearly as stuffy as the night before, I wasn't surprised when they announced the race had been cancelled and was now a fun run. I jogged around the playing fields to get about 4.5 miles in then looked for Pokey at the start, to no avail. The run started and I felt comfortable in the middle of the pack, chatting with some people, having some water. I figured I'd get through the run and have 2.5 more miles to run before I'd hit 20. About 2.5 miles in, though, I started to feel my chances slip, rapidly. At the bottom of a long downhill I realized I couldn't go any farther. I should run the three miles back to the start and run laps around the park. When I stopped to turn around, I didn't start up again. I walked back to the park and sat down for a while, drank some water and waited for everyone else to finish. Jess convinced me to go out for what we planned to be a two-mile cooldown but ended up being just one mile. Pokey ended up running 1:48 or so, which was pretty good, despite the heat.

I recovered throughout the day at Scott Koonce's and after a violent storm, the temperature dropped to the high 70s. Though it was in the 80s by the time I was ready to try an evening run, it felt much better than before. I set off to do a Park++ and add on around Falls Church, and was starting off feeling great at 7:30 pace, then at three miles, I had some severe cramps in my ribs, so I stopped and walked home.

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