Saturday, May 22, 2010

Don't Dis the Distance

I discovered today the high cost of a little disrespect.

I’ve had a lot of success over the past few months. 15 miles, 17 miles, 18 miles - no problem. This week was a step back week, a shorter long run of only 13 miles in preparation for bumping up to 19 next weekend.

13 miles, I thought, that ought to be easy.

I didn’t respect the distance.

I haven’t run that specific distance since a half marathon back in February. My pace has improved a little since then and I thought I might even be able to improve on that time. I basically planned to run at my race pace, ignoring the fact that it is 30˚ warmer now.

I didn’t respect the distance.

I knew I was going to be running for 2 hours, I was down to one gu packet but I figured there was no need to pick up any more. After all, I didn’t eat anything during my half.

I didn’t respect the distance.

As I planned my route, and my hydration, I figured I would drink water for the first 5 miles and refill with Gatorade when I pass my house. One 22 oz bottle should be able to last me for the last 8 miles of the run.

I didn’t respect the distance.

I overslept. I hit the snooze on the alarm clock and rolled over. It was just going to be a 13 mile run, I thought, a late start won’t matter. It was almost 7:30 when I hit the road, and already about 75˚.

I didn’t respect the distance.

I made it 10 miles. I was completely spent, and for the first time in a loooong while I stopped running and walked. I gave myself a few minutes to recover and managed to start running again. I made it to 11 miles and gave myself another, slightly shorter, walking break. I was disheartened at mile 12 as I squirted the last few drops of Gatorade into my mouth. I also had the chills, despite the heat, a symptom of dehydration, and I was a little worried about getting home safe so I allowed myself another brief walk. I finished the rest of the last mile without stopping and managed to tack on a little extra to make it 13.1.

I got a little bit of a lift shortly after making the final turn onto my street. A Jeep passed me that I had also seen at the beginning of my run. I overheard the driver exclaim – “I saw that guy running when I left earlier!” I was grateful he didn’t drive by just a few minutes earlier and catch me walking.

I finished in 2:24, 8 minutes slower than my half marathon 3 months ago. I checked the thermometer as I staggered into the house and it read 82˚.

I learned a hard lesson.

I will not dis the distance again.


  1. Hey rbird, this is CLS89 from the message board :) Nice blog, great post about respecting distance. With a 19 miler coming up it sounds like you are gonna be in great shape for the marathon! I'm hopefully going to be doing my 1st as well in December (Kiawah Island marathon).

    I live in the south as well (SC) and I don't know whether I will be doing long runs at like 5 am before it gets too hot, or wait until late at night (which is kind of creepy). lol...anyways good luck with the training!

  2. @cls89 Thanks for the kind comments.

    My vote is for early morning long runs. I hate getting up early, especially on the weekend, but at least being able to watch the sunrise isn’t creepy. :^)

    Good luck to you as well.