Monday, April 17, 2006

16 miles of agony

First off, I'd just like to say that following the Hal Higdon 18 week program with complete devotion has its benefits. After today's run, I know for sure I am not nearly as prepared at this stage of training as I was leading up to St. George last fall.

I started my run about 1:00 pm. Afternoon running has always been a weak spot for me, so I was very nervous.

A little over a half mile in, I meet up with Terry running the opposite direction. He says something about the trail being out at the tracks. I do not remember what tracks he speaks of, and figure I'll just deal with it when I get there. Two miles in, and I check my watch. I'm at 19:52, which is a bit faster than I wanted for this long of a run. Terry has caught me again, which as me confused. How did he catch up so quickly? I thought he was running from 8 down to 0 and back. Turns out he was running 8.5 to .5, which explains how me got back so quickly. Of course, I haven't figured this out until after the run. He says he'll run with me to the tracks. What tracks, dang it?

Oh, those tracks. We go around a fence, up a dirt hill, cross some tracks. I look back, and notice that the trail is not closed here! I'm questioning Wong's sanity at this point. Then I look ahead. There is another set of tracks, and the trail is gone. Not closed, but actually gone. We have to squeeze through a gap in the fence and a concrete wall. Terry goes through, then looks at me. Of course, he's wondering if something so wide can fit through such a small gap. I suck it in, and make it through. This is one muddy, rocky pass right here. I decide to stop my watch until we make it over. Once we are back on the trail, it's getting hot, and I stop to take off my long sleeve shirt. I decide to leave it there. Dumb idea it turns out.

Now I'm running again. I hit mile #3 at 31:01, #4 at 39:16 and #5 at 49:39. I just can't seem to slow down to where I want to be. #6 at 59:19. I hit what I'd call a mini-wall, and take a short walking break. #7 at 1:10:54. 2nd mini-wall, #8 at 1:21:53. It's now cold and blowing, and my long sleeve shirt is about 5 miles away. Crap!

Somewhat larger wall.....#9 at 1:34:14. Decide to run again, #10 at 1:44:55. #11 at 1:55:17. 4th wall, #12 at 2:06:59. I'm out of water, which sucks. But then I see a drinking fountain right by the trail. Sweet! I'm filling up! Phone call from wife, telling me Braden's team has made it to the championship game, and it is at 4, rather than 6 like I had been told. She is thinking I should be finishing up by now, and is amazed that I am over 3 miles from my car. I try explaining to her that I'm doing the best I can, but it's going to be a while before I'm done. #13 at 2:19:40. Crap, that's about 2 hours, 20 minutes for a half marathon. And I have 3 miles to go? I'm stopping my watch while I clear the obstacle course again. I have to crawl through one part of the fence. In my mind, I'm wondering what will happen if I can't get back up? Do I just crawl to the nearest park and call for help? But I stumble back up and manage to get back on the trail.

Lots of walking now, but my pace is actually not so bad. My feet feel like they are blistering. Cursed Asics shoes and non-blister socks! I'm going back to Mizunos and my cheap socks!

#14 at 2:31:11. Major wall, #15 at 2:44:39. I've decided I might just be seeing the last quarter of Braden's game. Ah, but in a bit of inspiration, I cheat! If you go onto the road around mile marker #1, you can make that last mile go quite a bit quicker - no big old loop, just a straight shot to the car! Hey, no ones there, I'm doing it! Reach the car at 2:53:39. With my cheat and watch stops, my pace was probably closer to 3 hours.

10.2 more after that? I think not!