Monday, August 20, 2007

Not So Sweet Sixteen: Another DNF?!

All you need to know about my sixteen miler yesterday was that I woke up in the morning with a fever and shaking chills. I felt fine on Friday, fine on Saturday, and found myself not being able to get out of bed Sunday morning. Maybe it was the run in the rain on Friday that did me in, or hanging out in t-shirt and short sleeves all night Saturday night when it was unseasonably cool that was to blame…I’m not sure. It’s funny how I always end up with a debilitating sickness whenever I’m scheduled for a long run. I thought about calling my training buddies and canceling but felt guilty that I’d be not only ruining my schedule, but theirs as well. And they’ve both been running so well that I didn’t want them to have a setback on my account.

So I willed myself up after rolling around in bed for 2 hours, got some breakfast, took some Motrin, and made myself believe that I was feeling better. By the time the late afternoon rolled around, my head was not hurting as much, and I went to meet the guys at the park. The weather outside was cloudy and cool, and by the time I reached the park, it had begun to rain. As I went through my stretching exercises, I promised myself to take the run slow and pace myself accordingly. I was a bit apprehensive when I noticed the HR on my Garmin 305 was already reading in the 90s even before the start (normally it’s in the 50s) and I suddenly felt the urge to relieve myself. Fortunately at that exact moment, the guys showed up, and took my focus away from my nagging thoughts.

We decided to run two 6-miler loops and then a 4-mile loop for the requisite 16 miles. Although I usually took these long runs more as a social gathering than as marathon training, I was pretty quiet and reticent right from the start because I was intently focused on my breathing and pacing and didn’t want to spend extra energy that I didn’t have conversing. We’d have plenty of time after the run for that, I presumed.

We all ran the first six miles pretty comfortably. At the end of the loop, I excused myself to visit the restroom and told the other guys to continue on without me. After relieving myself as quickly as I could, I came back to the road, took a gel pack, and continued on. I felt slightly more comfortable after the bathroom run, so I increased my pace every so slightly to catch up to the guys. I was still mindful of the fact that I had 10 more miles to go, so I did not dare to go off too quickly. By mile 8-9, I caught back up to them, and even ran past them to take the lead. I felt fine until mile 11-12, when my calves started to bother me, and my head began to throb. I force myself up the steep east side cat hill, taking small deliberate steps, and fought my way to the 12 mile finish. I stopped at a fountain to refill my water bottle, walked for a bit to take in another gel pack, and wanted to start back up again, but couldn’t. By this time, both of the guys had caught up and had past me and I was struggling to keep up. In the middle of that 13th mile, I began to develop a side twitch that had me holding my right side with each step. I slowed my run to a walk to allow it to subside, but it came back when I started running again. Faced with a pounding headache, aching calves, a debilitating side twitch, and an almost empty water bottle, I was forced to call it quits again after 13 miles.

The walk of shame from the west side back to the east side was physically and emotionally draining. Not only was I faced with the failure of another long run DNF and the psychological havoc it now creates for the rest of my marathon training, the temperature had also dropped a few degrees since we started, and I was shivering badly from the cold and rain. After jog-walking an eternity in what seemed like my own personal punishment back to the east side to meet up with the guys after their victorious final lap around the park, I felt, cold, sick, and even more beaten down than at any point during my running areer.

I can’t help but think that if I don’t make it to Boston this year, I would remember this run as the straw that broke the camel’s back.


Renny said...

What the readers need to understand is how hard the Laminator is being on himself. When he shows up to meet us for our 16 miler, pale, achy, shivering with a headache, he can't expect to be at his peak! He has done such a good job training us that we have increased our pace to try and keep him in somewhat of a close distance. Him pushing us = him pushing himself harder.

The Laminator is an unbelievable runner and coach. His will to drag himself out of bed and meet us for these long runs is amazing!


Lazy Girl said...

Hang in there! It's much better to throw in the towel a few miles early than slug it out and injure yourself.

Alan said...

never give up mr. laminator. don't disgrace the family name! hehe. keep ur chin up big bro

The Laminator said...

Alright, all my faithful blog readers...although I appreciate all the motivational speeches, its really not necessary.

Laminator's down...but not out! He's going to be back with a vengeance, as always.

Hopefully, you all will be around to witness the transformation.

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