I have run 117 miles during the month of August, finishing the month with a 22 miler yesterday. What can I say? My marathon training program is almost over and it is bittersweet. The Equinox Marathon is 19 days away and I am as ready as a first time marathoner can be. Crazy. I never thought in a million years I would actually be here.
Let's review Sunday's 22 miler:
We had a 5:30am call, all of the Chicago All-Stars were there. Uzman was giving out little glow braclets to help us be seen along the road before the sun came up. The Weather Channel told me it was 74 degrees with 100% humidity. This was rather distressing to me, I had attempted 20 miles two weeks ago, only to have it turn into a big FAIL due to the level of humidity. Well, that and a few other variables. Ever the historian, I took some precautions to avoid repeating that outcome. I figured since we were doing two 11 mile loops I would bring another shirt, some dry socks and my other pair of running shoes in the event what I was wearing became too sweat soaked.
We began our journey, I settled into a great pace early on. My breathing was comfortable and the humidity was not overwelming. I knew I had a long day in front of me, I was anticipating 5 hours or so when I added in water breaks. I was carrying my hand held water bottle so I didn't feel the need to stop at the first water station 4 miles into the run. There is a stretch of road on this route that is 3 miles long, I commonly refer to this as the "death march" portion of this route.
The first pass along the death march was really easy, the sun was rising during my trek and I was in awe of the magnificent specticle that was mine for the viewing. I made it to the marina ( 7 miles) and stopped for water and a popcicle. I felt great and it was nice to chat with the other runners. The humidity was starting to lift as the sun came up, I was a little worried about a repeat of my last 20 mile attempt. The next two miles passed pretty easliy and I managed to catch up to one of the groups that was ahead of me most of the morning, in hindsight I think this was the first mistake of the day, as I pushed myself a little too much halfway into my run.
As I finished the first 11 mile loop, i decided to refill with gatorade and change my shirt, socks and shoes. I felt like a new man right out of the gate, but was VERY aware of the fact that I switched from my brand new(less than 50 miles) shoes, to my borderline expired(400 miles) shoes. Wow, I was not aware of the difference in these shoes, same shoe, same model everything...just more mileage.
Two miles into my second loop and i was beginning to struggle. My feet were immediately beginning to feel the effect from the pounding and my right knee was also beginning to throb. I started a walk/run combo where I would run for ten minutes and walk for one. I got to the 4 mile mark, 15 on the day and took my time at the water stop. Mentally I was strong, knowing that I "only" had 7 miles to go. I hit the marina and was rather happy to be 18 miles into the run. I pondered the idea that this is where "the wall" is usually located and wondered how I will feel at this point during The Equinox.
My remaining four miles passed very slowly as I was reduced to running two street signs, walking one. I was able to dig deep and run the last mile, although it was at a very slow pace. I truly believe if I had stayed in my new running shoes I would have been in a lot less pain. The point is that I did it. I didn't drop out early and listen to the "Running is Stupid" committee. I was very close to making a left turn at one point and only doing 18 miles. I knew I needed to get 22, I now know I can do it. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.
So, I am officially in the taper portion of my training and will be leaving for Alaska in two weeks...I can't wait!!!