That snapping sound you may have heard yesterday around 1:15pm was my body, and then will, breaking.
I was out on a 16 mile run, one more mile closer to the looming marathon in June. When training for a marathon, I normally schedule runs on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays for the sixteen weeks leading up to the event. The midweek runs are about building a mileage base and a little speed, while the weekends are for longer runs to get your body used to the hours on the road. Many training programs have four to five days of running, but I have stuck with three both to avoid injury and to make it easier to fit them all in.
With the crazy commute and shrinking hours at home, I haven't been able to fit in the midweek runs for the past month or two. I won't say I couldn't fit them in, because I know busier people who do, but it would have been really difficult. I have been getting in the weekend long runs, but not surprisingly without the other additional runs to build a base, they have been pretty difficult to finish. Yesterdays run was where it all came crashing down.
The day was warm, but there was a nice breeze to help keep the temperature manageable. When I got out of the car and gathered my stuff, I realized I had forgotten my watch which monitors my heart rate and keeps track of the mileage. Kind of a bummer, but maybe it would be a good thing to just run by feel. I was running a new route that took me from Mission Bay, through Ocean Beach and up to Sunset Cliffs, but I had plotted the course out online, so I knew the rough mileage.
There were some hills in the middle segment, but nothing too brutal. Things were going OK for the first half, and without the watch reminding me of the seconds ticking by, I stopped in a few spots to admire the ocean view. But after mile 10 I started to feel pretty run down. I stopped for more water and to take an energy gel, and that gave me a bit of a boost, but it was short lived. After about mile 12 I started adding in some walk breaks, and not long after that, I was walking more than I was running. My chest felt heavy with fatigue, and as I stumbled my way home, my calves, hamstrings and glutes slowly tightened like a rope being twisted.
I ended up walking the last mile and a half to the car, and even that was painful. Usually the muscles will relax when I slow to walking speed, but they continued to get worse. My kingdom for a cab! I was also feeling pretty nauseous so in addition to my lack of fitness, I may have messed up the amount of fluids and fuel I was taking in.
I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised at this crash-and-burn with the half-ass way I have been training lately. Even though I know better, I still wanted to believe that I could prepare myself for the marathon distance on minimal training. I knew I wasn't going to run a great time, but I thought I could manage a finish if I did at least the weekend long runs. Now it isn't looking very good.
Yesterday I was ready to throw in the towel and write off the marathon. I am not much more confident today, but I am not quite ready to write it off after one (very) bad experience. This week I am going to try to get out for a run on Tuesday and Thursday. Our jobs are a little closer to home, so I should be able to fit in a few miles during the week.
And quite frankly, whether or not I make it to the marathon, I need to get back to exercising regularly. Even with swearing off fast food for the past few weeks, my weight is starting to creep up again, and I just don't feel very good overall.
And if I don't make it to the start line in San Diego, there may be a very nice consolation prize of a long weekend away with friends to soothe my wounded ego. The devil on my shoulder says maybe I should just throw in the towel after all.