"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Week 13 In Review: Saturday 17-miler

Good week this week. Two highlights to mention. First, I ran a PR 10k on Wednesday. My goal was 47 minutes. I did it in 46 minutes even (7:24 pace). Good times. I felt good throughout the run, never had any problems or felt like I needed to ease up.

Second, I did 17 miles this morning and did so at a 7:42 pace. For those of you familiar with the Mid-Willamette Valley, I parked my car in Rickreal and ran an out an back to Main St. in Monmouth (12 miles round-trip) I then ran a 5-mile out and back towards the Rickreal Dairy.

I've been maintaining the same Saturday-preparation sleep schedule and diet for the last 5 weeks now. This includes a large pasta meal and a late night on Thursday so that I'm able to go to bed by 7:30pm or so on Friday, allowing 9-10 hours of sleep prior to a long run. I'd rather not have to force myself to stay up so late on Thursday, as it makes for a long Friday, but I don't know of any other way to get to bed (and fall asleep) so early on Friday.

Miles 9-13 brought excruciating stomach cramps. They were in three distinct locations, the worst of which was immediately below my bottom right rib. Not a lot of fun. I've never been stabbed, thankfully, but I imagine it feels something like what I was feeling in mile 10. It got to the point where I had no choice but to stop for a few seconds, breath deeply and try to stretch things out. This worked for about a mile, and then all three returned with a vengeance. Cramps are interesting creatures. Some people think they're caused by dehydration, others have recently shown this theory to be incorrect (looking for the link, I trashed the email). Whatever the reason, they just sort of disappeared as I ran through them.

Mile 14 brought the familiar sounds of approaching dogs. No worries this time though, as I turned around and saw an overweight basset hound and an old yellow lab lumbering after me for a few yards before they were appeared out of breath and stopped.

Through the cramps, the headwind from miles 6-14 and the distance, my legs continued to feel great. At 15.50 though, something happened and it was almost instant. They started burning. And they felt like they were full of lead. Was this the proverbial wall that people speak of? I ran through this also and finished the 17 miles strong, but it got me thinking a bit. Was this what I felt two weeks ago and at mile 13 of 15 when it all of the sudden became a burden to keep moving? If so, have I "pushed" my "wall" out to the 15.50 mile range? As I continue to increase my long run distances, will it continue to be pushed out further and further? One can hope.

The route today was extremely flat and straight as an arrow. So flat and so straight that I could see the stoplight in Monmouth from almost 4 miles away. This seems pretty cool until you feel like you're running and running and running and the darn light isn't getting any closer. Not as cool.

I'm in my recovery period now. Lots of fruit smoothie today (150ounces or so). Good sleep and low-key day tomorrow and Monday until I head back out for the start of Week 14. Until then...

(On a somewhat related note, my wife dashed out the door for her run as soon as I got home from mine this morning. She's in week 3 of her starting-from-scratch training and after struggling through her first 5k two weeks ago, ran 9.2 miles today. Proud of her. I'll let you do the math as to how far we ran combined today. It's a number that makes me smile.)

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