Let’s just start with the moral of the story: DO NOT PUT JALAPENOS ON YOUR PIZZA LESS THAN 24 HOURS BEFORE YOUR 18 MILE RUN!
The stats from today’s run kind of tell the whole story:
- Total distance: 18 miles
- Time actually spent “running”: 3:35 (mind you, my 17-mile run two weeks ago took 3:06)
- Time on the course: 4:17 (that’s 42 minutes more than I ran)
- Number of bathroom stops in the first 10 miles: 6 (or 5, but only if you insist on taking the word “bathroom” literally)
I finished, dammit. I had a freaking horrible run but it was a freaking horrible 18-mile run, dammit. Could I have run another 8.2 miles? Yes. It would have included a lot of walking and it would not have been pretty at all and I probably would have spent the last 4 miles crying but I could have covered the distance within the 7 hours that the course remains open.
I never really considered quitting. I knew by mile 3 I was in trouble. My legs didn’t feel great at the start but they warmed up. Unfortunately, as my legs woke up, my gut went into the toilet — literally. Thank God the city and it’s maintenance contractors worked things out and re-opened up the potty on the trail again because I passed that thing 3 times today and had to stop every damn time. Also, thank God that the American Cancer Society brought their own porta-potties for their walk today so the public restroom at the trailhead was not too crowded; thank God for Jack’s Car Wash; and thank God that my mom lives only a mile from the second water station. Finally, thank God for mature landscaping on the side of the road.
I suppose the biggest thanks should go to my wife, who met me at potty stop #5 (the car wash), a full 1.5 miles from where we should have met up — if she hadn’t been there to carry my stuff and to keep me company I probably would have quit.
The best part though, is that I never lost my head. As bad as the first 9 miles were, I never felt like, “God, there’s no way I can do 9 more.” I never felt overwhelmed by the distance. In fact, at the halfway point I diverged from the planned route so that I could keep a closer to proximity to potential toilets (our house and my mom’s house, which ended up being potty stop #6) — even though the route change meant I would have to go back out on the hilly trail at the park. Of the 18 miles I did today, only 8 were flat.
Well obviously, the GI issues were the worst. The secondary problems arising from those is really what slowed me down the last half of the run. My pace per mile was actually faster the first half of the run (excluding stopping times), but the stopping took it’s toll by keeping me on the course so much longer and (as the stops became longer), I’d start to cool down and tighten up, then there were cramps, then I “plodded” more, then my knees, feet, ankles, and shoulders began to ache from the pounding which only slowed me down and made me plod and pound more. And it got hot.
As it turns out, there is a limit to how much I am willing to share on the blog. That limit rhymes with ‘bemmeroids.’