I was exuberant as I walked home. What should I do with my suddenly newfound time!?!?!? My mind was spinning with the possibilities.
With the Fort2Base race coming up in two weeks, I needed to log a double-digit run over the weekend. I usually do long runs on Sunday mornings. However, I often feel like the run hangs over my shoulders all day Saturday. I thought it'd be nice to get it over and done with early.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON LONG RUN IT WAS!
My plan was to do 10 miles. Due to the last-minute decision, I had obviously made exactly zero effort to properly fuel or hydrate in advance. I wasn't mentally prepared, either. But what the heck. I had the luxury of minimal time constraints, and the most important thing was just to cover the mileage, right?
I rode a Divvy bike to the lakefront path at Lake Shore Drive and Monroe, then headed southbound on foot.
The first few miles were uneventful. As I ran through the museum campus, I was rewarded by the beautiful views of the Chicago skyline.
I ran past 12th Street Beach and headed to Northerly Island. A band was undergoing a sound check at the First Merit Bank Pavilion. Throngs of folks were milling around dressed in Gothic attire. I later found out that Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson had a concert that night.
Around Mile 4, I started feeling blah. I reasoned that a GU would help. I arrived at 31st Street around 4.7 and paused to fuel, hydrate, and splash a little water on my face. Then I gave myself a giddy-up. Unfortunately it was tough to get back up to speed. This is what it felt like:
The GU helped a little, but not nearly as much as I hoped. I was heel-striking but it took too much effort to correct it. I kept looking at my Garmin in disbelief that I was only around the halfway mark. Several runners passed me. They all seemed to amble by leisurely while I was schlepping along.
I hadn't taken any walk breaks to this point. I was reluctant to start for fear that it would be difficult to resume running afterwards. My legs were so dead that I finally gave in.
I arrived back at Lake Shore Drive and Monroe what felt like days later. I was dying but still had about two more miles to go through downtown streets. I told myself, "Come on, you can do this." Then I found myself dodging pedestrians, bikes, and road construction. I also got red lights at Every. Single. Intersection.
The constant stopping-and-starting threw my rhythm off even more. If there is such a thing as runner's red light rage, I could have had it. But I was too worn out.
I arrived at my building at around 9.5 miles. I considered ending it there, or finishing the last half-mile on the treadmill. I went upstairs and chugged some Gatorade and water while debating what to do.
Ultimately, I didn't want to write 9.5 miles in my training log. I didn't want to create a separate entry for a half-mile of treadmill time, either. I wanted to see the 10-mile total on my Garmin, [doggone it]. (My actual thoughts were much harsher than depicted here.) In the end, my stubbornness won out.
Surprisingly, that last half-mile felt better than anything after Mile 4. Thank god. And so finally concluded one of the worst long training runs I have ever had.
The crappy run wasn't surprising considering my complete lack of preparation. Admittedly, I thought I had enough running experience to pull things off without much issue. But clearly that is not the case.