Evidently, training for a marathon has made me a stronger runner – who could have anticipated that, right? According to the same plan I used to train, I am now within striking distance of setting a half marathon PR. Obviously, that means I have to put in the time to make that happen. The training gods have set out a 9 mile long run for me on my 15 week path to glory. Me: “Let’s find a 15K! Free PR!”
Having run a quarter marathon 3 weeks earlier and a full marathon 2 months ago, I thought to myself, ‘9 miles isn’t really that much! I’ll have a big bowl of oatmeal and I’ll hydrate along the course. I don’t need to take any gel with me!’ Sigh. I know you’re already shaking your head at me if you are an endurance athlete of any kind. Don’t get ahead of me, although I’ll be the first to admit that with insufficient fuel before and during the race that not getting ahead of me is no small feat. See what I did there?
I showed up at the starting line feeling confident, nonetheless. The plan: an 11 minute mile pace. Approximately an hour and forty minutes of my life. No big deal. Within the first two miles of the race, I heard someone call my name. “Joanie?” I turned to see Sweetness, this cool chick who also comes to boot camp. I smiled as we caught and kept up with another (I did it again, see?). I told her I was trying to do an 11 minute mile, and she said that was cool. I groaned inwardly, not because running with Sweetness was lame but because I saw the 2 mile marker and was thinking, “Damn. It’s only been 2 miles?” Not a good sign. Hah! I wish I were as good at racing as I am at making witty puns. I digress.
After about mile 4, I was tasting Sweetness’s candied dust. If only it had been caloric, because that was sure what I needed! As the race continued, my pace continued to slow. I had to switch to run/walk intervals, which I personally don’t frown upon as a matter of course, but I sure don’t like it when it’s a matter of poor planning! I am quite sure I looked like death because a man along the course saw me and said, “Keep going! You look great!” I needed it, though. I wasn’t actually dying, and let’s be real – I wasn’t getting back to my car unless I finished the race.
I looked to my right and saw Tampa General Hospital. ‘I should check myself into the psych ward.’ I may be out of glycogen but dammit the wit is still here. I pressed on until I crossed the finish line, where Sweetness had been for God only knows how long. She thanked me for pacing her and I had to laugh.
Today’s lesson? 9.3 miles is not short, and it sure isn’t long enough to shed any weight. Eat up.