I’m concerned. Saturday I “ran” 20 miles. I was scheduled to run 23 miles. We (my brother-in-law and I) started at 3:30 AM in order to beat the 102 degree heat of the day – but I think 2:30 would have better served us. The plan was to run our normal 5 mile loop four times, then the 5k loop to top off the 23 mile run.
The first 5 miles were ok – it was warm; about 75 degrees. The second 5 miles were better – I was loose and the rising sun created a cool breeze; between 70 and 75 degrees. The third lap, miles 11 through 15, were tough. The sun was up, the breeze was gone, and my new shirt was tearing up my chest like sand paper. I believe it was between 80 and 85 degrees.
On the forth 5 mile lap, the heat became unbearable. It was mid- to high- 80’s and I was fatigued from having already run 15 miles. As I closed miles 16 and 17, I started slowing down – slower than a 16 min/mile pace. Miles 18 and 19 were an even slower 18 and 21 min pace respectively. I started to think of how I could finish the 3 miles I would have left once I got back to the house at the end of this lap. I thought of going through the neighborhood in order to benefit from the shade from houses – but as I turned into the neighborhood I realize that the sun is to high in the sky to leave any room for shadows – even the trees were leaving short shadows and little shade.
I looked down at my pace and I was going to finish mile 20 in about 22 minutes. And that was “running”. I knew I didn’t have anything left in the tank for the last 3 miles in this heat. At least I told myself it was the heat and not that I haven’t been putting in enough miles. But that is why I’m concerned. What if the real problem is that I’m not running enough miles? I don’t mean longer runs – just more frequent mid-length runs.
Less than 40 days – Its already June and I still feel less than ready for this marathon. And the heat over the next 5 weeks is going to continue to climb…
I read a blog post tonight that inspired me – from a slower runner like myself. Nancy Rusho writes in her post “View from the Back – I Respect the Marathon” that after seeing an advertisement in a runner’s magazine suggesting that slower runners completing the grueling 26.2 mile race were simply crossing a line off a bucket list, she felt like she should somehow be ashamed of her running.
Rusho goes on to say that even though she did cross a line off a bucket list, everyone should be respected for moving. I agree! I’m not running a marathon because I feel like I could add to the sport – I’m running because I feel the sport can add to my life… literally. I’m over weight – I have no hope of finishing a marathon in less than 5 hours – most likely won’t finish in less than 6 hours, but I will finish and I am proud of what I have accomplished so far.
A year ago, I could not get my weight to drop below 285 lbs. Today because of running I have found myself hovering around 265 lbs and for the first time in my adult life I feel I could actually lose weight significant enough to put me into a healthy category.
Its been said before – Marathons inspire two kinds of runners – those that are competing and those that are completing – and in 26.2 miles we found room for them all.