Friday, June 20, 2008

The extra mile (or two)

Tomorrow is the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure 5K in Seattle. The Race for the Cure was the first road race I ever did, so it has a special meaning for me. The first year I did it I raised more than $500 (not all of it contributed by myself). This year I'll admit I signed up at the last minute and didn't do any active fundraising, except for my donation and my mother's. I'm not crazy about asking people for money, and there's just so many times you can go to the well. But it is a very good cause and I'm happy that most of the participants are much more enthusiastic fundraisers than me!

As far as the running part of it, since it's "just" a 5K, I'm not going to get many miles in tomorrow, even with a decent warm-up. I'm not really good at making myself run more after finishing a race, so on race days I usually have to forgo a long weekend run.

Which is what I was resigned to this weekend as well. (Last week my mileage was about 26 miles, thanks to the Berry Run 5K on Saturday.)

But I did have some extra time this morning, as I often do on Fridays, so that gave me the chance to do at least a semi-longish run today, and keep the mileage somewhat up there. I even got up almost as early as I do on a typical running weekday, so I had lots of time to run.

Despite all my time, I didn't bother to measure out the distance on Map My Run. I just set out on a route I'd run once before, combining two typical medium-length routes into one, almost but not twice as long route. (But, as it turned out, closer than I thought!)

The first half of my run went smoothly and typically. The weather was pleasant for running, not sunny enough to use the sunglasses in my pocket, but light and bright and balmy (not hot).

It was when I turned down toward the waterfront that things got dicey. My gut started giving me warning pains, and I headed as directly as possible to the nearest restroom at the marina, which turned out to be a porta-potty as the actual restroom was closed for repairs! (There were other restrooms a bit further on, but I had no time to wait.)

Once I left the Marina Village there were no more easily accessible restrooms on my planned route, which was worrisome as I kept being struck with threatening mild stomach cramps. But every time I considered diverting to a gas station the pains receded so I continued on my way.

As I headed south on Marine View Drive for the last few miles, I reluctantly decided to modify my planned route to cut off a little bit and head back more directly. Not only did I have the shaky G.I. issues, my legs were tired and aching. I was really in "the wall" portion of the run. I thought that shortening it up just a little would give me a boost, but not be enough of a cop out to make me feel bad.

By this time I was coming into the last mile, mile and a half before reaching QFC and Starbucks. Keeping in mind that I am "in training" of sorts, and wanting to fire up my fast twitch muscles a bit (assuming that I have any), I decided to pick up the pace as if I were in a race working on a negative split.

I can't say that I sped up to any kind of race speed, but I definitely felt faster. As I was approaching a half mile to go, I started talking to myself to encourage me to keep it up. "This is like the end of a 15K." "You can stop in just a few minutes!" "Think of Deena Castor in Spirit of the Marathon!" (At the end of the Chicago Marathon, she was clearly almost spent, yet she was giving it all she had.)

I crossed the last street as if it were a finish line, and slowed to a walk in the QFC parking lot. Before going into Starbucks, I popped into the store to use the restroom and pick up some bananas. Then I ordered my drink at Starbucks and walked the rest of the way home, slowly.

Later, before I left for work, I popped onto the computer to see how far I'd gone. (Let me say that the length of time I was out had no bearing, due to the bathroom stops and my inherent slowness in a long run.) I figured the distance would be about 10 miles or so.

So I was a bit startled when the total distance turned out to be 12.3 miles (including the walk home, just under 12 without). (But I always include the walk home if it is short. My legs are still moving, aren't they?) No wonder I got so tired. That was almost a half marathon! (And long enough to make my 30 miles for the week, with tomorrow's 5K plus warm-up.)

I was achy enough to take some ibuprofen, and I would have loved nothing more to go back to bed for a while. But I only had enough time to eat breakfast and get ready for work. No extended lounging for me.

(If I hadn't gone running, I could have spent the morning in bed. But why would I want to do that? Bring on the pain, baby!)


kara said...

I did a Susan B Komem race in Vegas a number of years ago. It was a fantastic race with a great turn out.
Good Luck on your run.
I hear it might be a tad warm.

Laura said...

Wow, great job on the long run! That's a big increase from 10.