This week's long run was set for 9 1/2 miles - a nice break from the ever-increasing mileage we've had lately. As per usual laziness with me lately, I missed my Thursday tempo run. No worries, I decided to run a quick 3-miler during lunch on Friday. And by quick, I mean 9:10 average pace. It felt great! I had a slight issue halfway through of my toes going numb, but that passed and I was back to running. I guess my legs were trying to tell me that I shouldn't skip those tempo runs!
Saturday morning came bright and early as usual. I was up, dressed and having my breakfast (espresso protein drink and 1/2 whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter and strawberries) by 5:30am. I'm still missing two of the lids to my fuel belt bottles, so I loaded the only two I had with water and Gatorade. I figured that with only 9 miles and a water stop halfway, I'd have plenty of fluids to make it through. The run started off fairly well. The sun was coming up and we were enjoying our time with the city before the traffic picked up and the "normal" people started getting out of bed and on the roads. My left thigh is still extremely sore from who-knows-what, so I was really starting to look forward to the water stop and a small break around mile 4. As we made our turn into the business district where the water should be, we started really looking for it. Coach Felix had said it was nestled in between two of the buildings. Mile 6 came and we left the business district and there had been no water stop. All the runners around us missed it too. Most of us were almost out of fluids. My friend and I decided to stop to walk and take our GU/energy beans, but to ration our water as we could. It was hot, and there was not that much fluid left between the two of us but we figured if we took small sips, we could make it all the way back to base. About mile 8, I was really starting to hurt. My sore leg was giving out, my lower back hurt and my form was failing - again. I was tired and thirsty and I really didn't want the Gatorade that I had left. I wanted ice cold water and I wanted to stop. I knew at that point that it was just mind over matter and as long as I didn't give in, I could finish.
And we did. We even finished pretty strong considering. I threw back about 16 ounces of water immediately and used an ice cold towel to cool myself down. There was a lot of talk after the run about where the water stop was. No one seemed to know, even some of the coaches. Looking back at the map now, maybe one of the other runners was correct in saying that we missed a turn. I guess I'll learn from my mistake and follow the route more closely instead of just following the person in front of me.
This week starts a new first for me in my training program - 5 days of running. Previously, I have only ever run 4 days a week (if that) so this will be an obstacle that I'll have to overcome. Here's hoping that my legs are ready for this. My half marathon is in 3 weeks and I'm really excited!