I experienced "the wall" today. I realized that hitting the wall is kind of like having an orgasm (only not as fun)--if you have to wonder if it's happened, then it probably hasn't. I always thought I had experienced it (meaning the wall!) before. But today, I realized I was wrong. Today, I hit that wall, and now I KNOW what it feels like!
But let me start at the beginning. There was this:
The second we parked the car, it started to rain. Oh well, no biggie, we'll be wet with sweat anyway. So we started to run, and the rain wasn't hard at all--just a light sprinkle, and it actually felt really good. The temp was already at 60 degrees (which is HOT compared to what I'm used to, and the air felt very humid). I was dripping with sweat by mile 2.
Jessica and I were both worried about our knees. She brought her bike with her in case her knee gave her trouble, she could at least ride the bike and get some cardio in. I was pretty confident my knee would be okay after not having any pain during Saturday's race.
After about two miles, I was feeling really tired and sluggish. Which isn't good when you have 16 miles left ahead of you! I kept trying to think positive. At mile 5, we walked for about 30 seconds and I ate my chocolate Gu. I felt a little better after that. Jessica's knee started acting up at about mile 7 or so? She wanted to walk, so I suggested that we mimic the marathon conditions and walk every two miles as if we are walking through an aid station--just for 30 seconds or so.
So we did that at mile 8, and then we were back to the car at mile 9. Jessica wanted to keep running, instead of switching to the bike. We refilled our water bottles and headed out for the other 9 miles in the Metropark. We walked again at mile 10 for about 30 seconds, and I ate a peanut butter Gu. Then I just focused on getting to the 12-mile mark. I was feeling really run down today! I've done a 12-mile distance lots of times now, but it felt very hard today.
The wind was ridiculous. We were barely moving forward at some points--and of course it was a head wind. At the 12-mile mark, we walked and drank some water, then started running again. Somewhere around 13 miles is where I really wanted to be done. We ran onto a little dirt trail, which actually felt really good on my feet--it was about a mile and a half long. But I was miserable. The sun had come out and it was SO hot. I was also almost out of water.
I was really thirsty, but I was trying to ration what was left of my water. At mile 15, I ate my last Gu (peanut butter) and drank all but a few sips of water. Jessica and I weren't talking at all--we were both just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. When she started walking at 15.5, I said, "I can't walk--if I do, I won't start running again." So I kept running ahead.
Jessica was running again, and she ran past me. As she passed me, I told her that I'm done, I quit this stupid training. I'm a bit of a drama queen, I guess. When she got a ways ahead of me, I realized that if I fainted, she wouldn't have any idea what happened. That scared me into running again. So at 16.25 miles, I started running again. I noticed my heart rate was high--about 170. Normally on a long run, it's about 145. And I felt out of breath, which I normally don't feel when I'm running that slowly. It scared me! I drank the last of my water at mile 17. And I decided to walk a quarter-mile.
I felt like such a failure at that point. I have NEVER had to take walk breaks during any of my runs. Jessica and I ran from 17.25 to 17.75, and then decided to walk a tenth of a mile, before running to the car. I told her that I feel like I'm letting everyone down. She said she thinks it makes me MORE of an inspiration to people because what I'm going through is "relate-able". It makes me human. Which I guess makes sense. I'm not perfect with my diet, or my weight, so I shouldn't expect to be perfect with my running. All-in-all, I only walked about 1 mile total of our 18. In rain. And strong winds. And heat.
When we got to the car, I refilled my water bottle and drank that while walking around so my heart rate didn't drop too suddenly. Then I tried to stretch, but my legs were SO stiff. I just laid in the grass and caught my breath. That was a TOUGH run. Jessica and I tried to get pictures with the auto-timer. This is what we felt like:
After I showered, I popped a couple of Motrin and iced my knee. My knee actually held up really well! It was sore at times, but maybe the walk breaks helped. I really hope that the worst of my knee issues are over. And my knee was actually the least of my problems on this run!
I learned that next time, we will have to do three out-and-back runs from the car so that we stop at the car twice to refill our water. I also think we should start walking every two miles for about 30 seconds to imitate the marathon conditions of aid stations every two miles (we agreed to walk through the aid stations at the race).
I was actually surprised to see that our pace wasn't ridiculously slower than normal. I was expecting about a 13+ minute per mile pace, but we actually averaged 11:36/mi, and that's with our walk breaks figured in.
We didn't go out to eat today, because we're both trying to get our weight back down to "pre-marathon training" weight. Today I was 139.5, which is 2.5 pounds above my maintenance range. But last week, I saw 147 on the scale!! It scared me straight for sure. I've been eating really well and being back in the 130's today was a relief. I would really like to be 135 before I go to Indy.
I did buy a treat to have today, however. I bought a pint of Moose Tracks frozen yogurt. The whole pint is 600 calories, which isn't bad. And you better believe I'm going to eat it all--and enjoy every well-earned bite. :)