Friday, August 2, 2013

Even the best-laid plans...

What is it that they say about the best-laid plans?  I had to Google this one... "Even the best laid plans of mice and men go array."  The saying is from John Steinbeck's book Of Mice and Men.

It is always good to have a plan B!

Early this morning, I made a realization: there was no way that my long run (the plan called for 12 miles) was going to happen on Saturday morning, as I'd planned.  My husband is leaving at 8 AM to help my parents move, and then he's headed out for a weekend fishing trip with a friend.  I could get up at 6 AM to run... but I have Hunter this weekend, and his caregiver isn't coming until 9 AM.  She worked a 12-hour day with him today, so there was no way I was going to ask her to come at 6 AM so I could run.

Enter plan B.  I did my 12 mile run tonight.  It took a bit of planning, as Joey had soccer practice and of course there were the other 3 kids, but I figured it out and set out at 5:45 PM for my run.  I don't think I have ever done a long run in the evening. I know for a fact that 12 miles is my second-longest run ever; the only time I have ever ran further was when I ran my first half-marathon back in May.  

I wasn't afraid of the 12 miles... what scared me was the caveat: I was supposed to run the "middle 4" miles at race-pace.  "Middle four" is a somewhat ambiguous term; in the book Train Like a Mother, the authors say that any four miles in the middle would do just fine.  However, for a negative-splitter like yours truly, I knew that ANY four miles at that quick of a pace in the middle of a long run were not going to be easy for me.  Then there was the question of what was my race-pace?  For a 5K, it's sub-8:00 miles, but that wasn't happening tonight LOL!  A friend told me that it was race-pace for my goal race, which of course is the half marathon in October.  According to the McMillan Running Calculator, my 24:26 5K PR translates into a 1:53 half marathon, a full SEVEN MINUTES faster than my half-marathon PR.  Say what?!! 

That's an 8:37/mile pace.  I knew that was going to be near-impossible to hit for four miles, so I decided to try to get around 8:50/mile, which would be a 1:55 half.  I am cool with that time.

I decided I would start out nice and easy, and then hit my race-pace at either mile 4 or 5.  I procrastinated a bit and mile 6 it was.  I had taken a GU at mile 3.5, so I felt pretty good starting mile 6, even though I didn't quite hit my pace (8:56).  Felt even better the next mile (8:39).  Mile 8 was almost entirely downhill, so my 8:29 was a bit inflated.  I took another GU at mile 7.6, feeling great and ready to rock mile 9 (my final race-pace mile).  However, I quickly started to have trouble controlling my breathing.  Because of this, at mile 8.4 I had to do something that I have never done on a long run: stop.  I just totally stopped.  I almost cried.  I just couldn't breathe.  My heart was racing, and I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to get home.  I took about a minute to get my breathing under control, and then I finished out mile 9 (8:51). I took another breather after I finished mile 9 to restart my music (I always forget that the "shuffle" mode on my playlist doesn't repeat automatically), and then finished up the final 3 miles.  I wanted to walk sooooo badly on those final 3 miles.  I was tired beyond belief.  I didn't think I was going to make it home, I truly didn't.  I still don't know how I did, but here I am.  Splits...


So, what was it about tonight?  I have come up with numerous reasons excuses (let's be real here) why I had such issues.

1.  It was a night run, and I was tired from a busy day taking care of my kids.  Also, as I mentioned, I don't typically do night runs (especially for long runs).
2.  I had dinner at 3:45 PM, and ran at 5:45 PM.  Since I don't typically run at night, I wasn't sure when to eat, what to eat, or how much.  I don't think my chicken and mashed potatoes settled as well as I had thought they would.
3.  The delicious Salted Caramel GU with added caffeine... I really do feel this messed me up.  I have never had a GU with caffeine before.  I am really not a huge caffeine drinker... maybe one can of soda a day, but that's it. No tea, coffee, energy drinks, etc.  Lesson learned: no more GU's with caffeine!
4. I had Gatorade in one of my two water bottles tonight.  I think I should water down the Gatorade if I take it again.  It was too much for me; I found myself just wanting water.  I had planned on using a Nuun hydration tablet in my water, but I tried a sip before I left and it was GROSS, so Gatorade it was.

Whatever the reason, this run was super hard for me.  However, when I look at my final time, I think I know why.  It was a 1:52.  That is fast.  If I had run 13.1 miles, I likely would have gone around a 2:02-2:03.  As I mentioned, my PR is a 2:00, so I clearly was working it.  
If I had taken a picture of myself, this is what it would have looked like.

I am so very thankful that I am not running again till Monday night, and that next week's long run is only 10 miles, with no caveats :)  For my plan B, I think tomorrow will be total rest day (with a ton of foam rolling of course), cross-train on Sunday, and then run on Monday. 

Oh, I did do the two challenges today (55 squats and a 20-second plank) this afternoon.  I like the structure of the challenges.  Let's see if I am still saying that in a week when they get hard ;)

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