Deer in my headlamp

Distance: 22 mi

Time: 4:03:30

Holy hoppin’ hippos!!  I did it!  I got past the magical 20 mile mark.  My longest run previous to this was 16 and I just couldn’t get past it.  Not only did I break 20 miles… I kicked its ass…  There are physical milestones and psychological ones.  For me, this was definitely more psychological.  Like Emily said,  you can run exactly as far as you think you can.  I guess I never believed I had this kind of mileage in me…

I was only supposed to run 20 miles today.  I broke down and bought a headlamp because I knew the only way I was going to be able to train this high a mileage in this unGAWDly heat was to run “pre-sun”.  I pulled up to the trailhead this morning at 4:50am (yes… he said 4:50am…).  I strapped on my new headlamp, a fanny pack with Hammer Gels, Electrolyte tablets and a water bottle in it, and took off into the night… err… morning… err… FREAKIN DARK!  This trail makes a sweeping turn and then goes on to a long straightaway and as I turned on to it, I was thinking to myself “THIS is the stupidest thing I have done in a long time”.  With my new headlamp shining brightly (it’s actually pretty cool!), I peered off into the distance and what should my bleary eyes see?  Another idiot with a headlamp coming at me on the trail.  Morons love company… I guess…  We grunted an early morning “hello” at each other as we passed.  In all there were 4 other headlamp wearing, hello grunting, idiot/morons sharing the trail with me, which was cool… in a weird way.  Like a secret society or a cult or something…

I ran my usual loop only I ran it backwards so I could start in what is usually the middle (THAT didn’t make a damn bit of sense… did it…).  Anyway, the first loop was half in the dark.  I ended up wearing the headlamp for over an hour before I felt comfortable that I could actually see the trail.  The most amazing thing about the first loop was the way the lamp illuminated the eyes of all the critters just off the trail.  Over a dozen deer, a couple of raccoons, a very grumpy possum (are there happy ones?) and I’m pretty sure I saw a fox (or a stray with a very fluffy tail).  All were given away by there eyes.  It was kind of uncomfortable to be watched like that…  They could have at least clapped for me or handed out water… or something…

The second loop was surreal because I kept waiting for something to happen like cramps or muscle aches or car crashes or comet impacts… SOMETHING… But nothing ever did.  I… felt… fine…

…WHY?

For once I would like to know what I did right?  There was one thing I know I did that helped.  I slowed WAY down.  My average pace was 11:00/mile.  It was obvious that this was the right thing to do.  Maybe I won’t make that 4:30 marathon goal I had set… but at least now I know I can make the finish line.  But as for everything else?  I took gels at the same interval…  I took electrolyte tabs one per hour (as usual).  I did NOT eat at the halfway point…  I ate pretty much the same amount for breakfast…   I ate a burrito for dinner…

…who knows…

Whatever I did, I need to remember it so I can do it again…

This actually puts me 2 weeks ahead of my plan since I was only supposed to run 20 this week.  I think what I am going to do is split the extra two weeks up and use them as a “taper” between my long runs of 24 and 26, giving me 3 weeks between long runs (since they are pretty much both marathon distance) to recover and then 3 weeks for my real taper.  I think at this point my body will enjoy the extra week…!

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4 Responses to Deer in my headlamp

  1. tomrunnerslounge says:

    Congratulations on a great run. Can’t believe those critters didn’t hand you a cup of Accelerade or some Gu beans. Slowing down might have been the biggest factor. I think most of us overdo it on our LRs and ourselves up. Great idea to take more time between the LRs. Your body will reward you. I believe that 4:30 goal is the reward. Which marathon are you training for again?

  2. Amy says:

    Congrats – 22 is a very long way, especially in the dark and heat! You are the man! Those good runs just keep us running!

  3. Diana says:

    Great job! I can just imagine you running and all of a sudden having Bambi as your running partner! Keep up the great work! : )

  4. Bill H says:

    Right on Bob- You inspire me!

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