I decided last week that I would run my 18-mile long run on the marathon route today. The route is about 30 miles north of where we live, so we had to drive up there early in the morning. Woke up at 6AM to get ready, and was all psyched about the run until 15 minutes before we were ready to head out the door. It all started with my Garmin, and I had a premonition that things would not go smoothly for the run. When I turned it on to locate the satellite, it showed that the battery was low. I thought, there’s no way I can run with it as is for 3 hours without it crapping out on me. So I told J that we might as well walk the dogs first, and allow the watch to charge for at least 15 minutes. When we got back, I realized that the watch wasn’t securely attached to the charger, so it was never charging while we were out! So we had to wait a while longer; meanwhile, the sun was rising, so was the temperature. Finally, we set off a bit later, and on route to the start I realized I should have gone to the bathroom to take care of ‘business’. I thought, “too late, I’ll just have to wait until the end of the run”. I would later find out at mile 12 that that was a very, very bad idea.
The start of the run was in the town of Oracle, located 4600ft above sea level. J & I immediately noticed the thin air, and were breathing a little harder even as we were running down hill. We soon got used to it, and were enjoying the descent. Thanks to the down hill, I was able to average 8:11 min/mile for the entire run. J ran with me for the first 3 miles and ran back to the car. I kept going and saw him drive past me at mile 8. Everything was going well, until mile 12, when I was mercilessly reminded that I needed to ‘GO’ (we’re not talking about #1 here). Mind you, I’m running along a road way without any stores or houses in sight. There are only bushes along the road, and did those bushes look enticing; but at the same time I kept thinking about the possibility of rattle snakes in those bushes. I thought, ‘I have 6 more miles, I can make it’, so I started running faster (sub 8 min mile). However, each step only made it much more difficult. Finally, I had to give up at mile 14 as my ‘body’ gave out on me (physically I was fine, I could have kept going for the next 4 miles). Luckily, I had taken J’s advice and brought my cell along on the run; so I called my ‘knight’ to come rescue me (bless his heart, I wouldn’t know what to do without him).
So this is officially my second failed training run (i.e., didn’t fulfill the distance). I’ll just have to run 18 miles next week. I’ve read somewhere that “the best lessons learned are those through your failures”; from now on I’ll make sure to take care of business beforehand. I’m just happy that this didn’t happen during the race.