99.72% of my training consists of unsupported solo runs. That is a lot of time to think and plan for all of the stupid ideas I come up with. A while back I was trying to figure out my long run for this weekend. I knew I wanted to run 30-35 miles and I was hoping to run some with willing or unwilling friends. As I looked at the calendar, I found the perfect fit!
The Goldenfliers 5 & 10 mile race was being held at the LSU lakes! That takes care of the willing and unwilling friends. Now I just need to make up the 20 to 25 mile differential to meet my mileage goal. Easy peasy! I could just run from Farr park to the starting line and then run back after the race. This is like some cosmic alignment of the planets. Is this real life?
But wait…..there’s more! For the price of one 10 mile race and an additional 20-25 miles, I could support the Rocketkidz Foundation and the Movember movement! Woo-hoo! I’m all in! Now to make the actual plans.
Simple, I signed up for the race and signed Christine up for the 5 miler. That way she would be there for extra stuff I might need and to physically see that I am still alive. I loaded up my gear and planned on a 5:30 AM departure from Farr Park. That would give me plenty of time to get to the race before the 8:00 AM start time.
My goals for the day were simple:
- Easy run from the park to the start keeping the pace slow for a warm-up
- Easy 10 miler during the race while trying to maintain fueling and not get last
- Drink a beer after the race
- Easy death march back to the truck to finish up my day
- Keep my average pace throughout the run to 11:00 to 12:00 minutes per mile
Let’s see………I did drink a beer after the race. The others……..not so much.
I headed out from Farr Park about 5:15 AM. The levee was cold, dark and windy. I blew off my pace for now because I wanted to get off the levee and somewhere to block the wind. (By the way, running around a lake does not proved much wind blockage.) By the time the sun came up, I was past the Baton Rouge Beach and cruising along. I kept watching my pace and telling myself to slow down. I didn’t.
By the time I reached the race start, I was probably 40 minutes too early. So I headed back out for a couple of more miles. I returned and met up with Christine to get my number and to drop off my headlamp, flash light and extra stuff. I ate a banana and went inside to chat with Paul & Marci. Soon afterwards, I headed to the race start and was ready to go. My mileage so far was 13.5 miles. Nice warmup.
I stood at the starting line chatting with some folks (Ben, Tom, Kristen) and Juba the almighty race director played the Pledge Of Allegiance and then sent us off. And that’s when I knew I had made a fatal mistake. This was a race. A race! Not a group run or random gathering of runners. It was a frickin’ race! Dumb ass.
I started at the very back of the pack and soon moved up to run beside Tom Townsend. I told him I was probably running too fast and he agreed. And then I saw my nemesis. For those who don’t know, read this post. He could probably care less but it gives me something to laugh about during the race.
Anyway, back to the race……once I saw him ahead of me, I knew it wouldn’t be just an easy jog at a 11-12 minute pace (see goals above). I eased up behind him and passed him as we went by the beach. After that I just settled into an easy pace and kept going. The entire time I was having a mental battle about slowing down versus paying for it on the return trip to the truck. Screw it. Pay now. Pay later. What the hell. It’s my pain to dole out. So I did.
By the time I hit the half way point I was fully committed. I still took my S-caps every hour…..while running. I ate some cliff shot blocks…..while running. And I really had to use the bathroom………while running. Whoa! I didn’t really go to the bathroom while running, I just had to! My second half was actually faster than my first half and I finished in 1:22.39 with an average pace of 8:16 per mile. Not quite the 11-12 I was shooting for.
I found Christine, Susan, Paul and Marci and had my obligatory post race beer. Kristin gave me the Reese’s Peanut butter tree which I saved until post run (possible beer/peanut butter intestinal war). And then I hung around for a few minutes dreading the return trip. My mileage at that point was 23.5 miles with an average of 8:48 minutes per mile. Yep. I’m screwed.
I headed out anyway. I knew it was going to be a long 10 miles back, so I texted Christine at all the key locations so she would know I was still moving. I planned several walk breaks at key points to force myself not to trash my legs any more than was already done. The weather had warmed up a bit, so it was feeling pretty nice.
That is until the beer said hello to the rest of the stuff in my stomach. Hello! I popped a ginger chew and kept going. Either I would hurl….or I wouldn’t. Either way I had somewhere to get to. By the time I reached the levee, I was feeling pretty good about the run.
Christine surprised me at the entrance to the park. She was still in the area, so she just swung by. It was a very nice surprise. Here is my finish line pic from the “race”.
I ended up with 33.2 miles and a 9:21 average pace. Seriously? That’s gonna leave a mark. And it did. The drive home was fun with trying to avoid Charley horses in my calves and deciding how I was going to stop my truck if I did get one. No issues thankfully. I survived the shower test with no “hot spots” and then settled in to watch some football.
And then the headaches from hell jumped me. Probably a combination of allergies and the cold wind, but they sucked. 4 Ibuprofens and a fishbowl later, and I felt pretty good.
All in all…….a pretty good day of running!