This weekend marked 12 weeks until I start the Goofy Challenge. For the most part I would say my training is going well. I’ve finished 2 races since I started this training and finished both with negative splits. I have a new Half Marathon PR. I’ve been pretty injury-free and have mostly felt good about my running.
This weekend provided some interesting challenges and gave me a lot to think about.
Thursday of last week should have been my 2nd short run day of the week. Except I was up at 5:15am to finish packing for my weekend away while still getting to the hospital by 7am. While I certainly could have set the alarm for 4:30am to get my run done, I knew my flight was landing near midnight. And so I missed my first training run since I started e-coaching.
Surprisingly, for me anyway, I was pretty ok with that. I knew I had a big running weekend on tap and would still get 3 runs for the week. What was less clear was how I was going to be able to do my weekend long runs. As part of being Goofy, my training plan called for a 7 mile walk on Saturday and an 18 mike run on Sunday. And somehow I was supposed to accomplish this while attending a medical conference in New Orleans.
One of my many challenges was the reality of trying to run – and run long distances – in an unfamiliar city. I will confess that I have not always done a stellar job of taking my own personal safety into account but I was a little too nervous to ignore it. One idea was to run on a treadmill in the gym. 25 very long miles! But before resorting to that torture, I asked around for safe running routes. I finally had a map with a route to a good running neighborhood in hand.
I did a pretty good job with my pre-hydration and even got to bed early on Friday night. My alarm went off early on Saturday and before 6:30am I was out for my walk. The first mile or so of my route gave me pause – not the best neighborhood in New Orleans – but I was soon in an area with other runners. I used a walk 2 min/run 10 sec ratio for my walk. My legs felt a bit sore by the end but I managed a 14:39min/mile pace – plenty of extra time for the Donald.
I spent much of Saturday in conference and kept my hydration up. My legs felt more tired than I’d like. Saturday night I went to a conference-related banquet but managed to get to bed by 10pm. The alarm was set for even earlier and I was determined to go the full 18miles. By 5:30am I was on my way. I encountered a few issues. 1. I had a 20oz bottle of PowerAde and another maybe 15oz water bottle. If one should drink about 20oz per hour, I was going to be behind. I brought money in my belt but didn’t know if I’d be able to buy more. 2. I was going to be out there for about 4 hours. Where could I use a bathroom? The loop nearest the hotel was the least safe neighborhood so I didn’t want to have to cross it multiple times. 3. My legs still felt a bit tired at the start.
Jeff Galloway wanted me to walk the first 3 miles since my half marathon had prevented me from increasing my mileage sooner. Then the plan was to run 30sec/walk 30 sec.i had no big issues with finding a place to run – I even did a few loops in lovely Audubon Park – but my legs were definitely sore. I was able to use a disgusting but working toilet in the park so that helped that problem. And I conserved my liquid as long as possible which meant I didn’t technically run out until mile 16 but effectively stayed under hydrated.
On paper the results weren’t terrible. 18 miles at 13:42 pace, including 3 miles of walking. But reality tells a different story. My legs felt trashed – stairs are do-able but not easy – and my ody felt wiped out. I even ended up leaving the conference for an afternoon nap. I really started to question my sanity for attempted another full marathon at all, much less the Goofy. I really had very little left after this run.
Trying to look critically at the weekend I have some ideas. I think 13:42 is too fast for a run that includes 3 miles of walking. It means the run-walk part was done much faster than 13:30. Maybe I need to go back to 20/40 to slow down or just walk slower. The back to back is hard. My legs started tired. But that is the reality of the Goofy and with the additional training I should be ok to finish. I may need to lower my marathon expectations. The warmer weather may also have played a role. It’s gotten comfortable in NY but is still quite warm in New Orleans.
I am plagued with doubts about future full marathons and Goofys. This wasn’t an easy run where I bounced back quickly and easily. I need to re-think my long runs to make the next one better.