Skip-it Skip-it

If there is one thing that can stop a runner from running, its some sort of injury or a pain that hurts like hell with each step. For this week’s long run, I felt like doing a repeat of 17. I finally got a good night’s sleep and the weather wasn’t too cold. So off I went.

Crap, I felt exhausted at the start. This sucks so bad but the show must go on. I took walk breaks here and there with the hope that things would get better in a few miles. Perhaps my body just needs to warm up. Oh yea, by mile 7, I was warmed up, I felt the power. The power, the feeling of running fast like its a walk in the park, where jogging feels like walking and running feels like jogging. I flew for what seemed to be 2 miles, but then crashed. But who cares, I knew the water stop was nearby. But, just my luck, it was closed, how the hell does a grocery store close at 4pm on Sunday? No problem mon, there are many parks coming up and one has to have a water fountain. 4 broken fountains later, I gave up looking. This will be the first time I broke the 13 mile barrier without a single ounce of water throughout. I took a shortcut through Kissena park to reach the next store quicker. At the park, the enormous willow tree in the summer is bare during the winter.

<– The face after running for 2 hrs without agua…

Perhaps it was the lack of water, but by the time I reached my second water spot at mile 14, my knee felt strange. I stretched for a few seconds, then ran downhill until it happened. My knee hurt like hell when any weight was applied to it while bent. How else am I supposed to run? Oh no, how will I get home? And how will I make 17 miles? Gyaaaargh, for another mile, but that’s it, just could not run with this. 2 more left, and too deep in Flushing park for a cab, noooooo, I’m gonna fight this.

I quickly developed a running pattern that prevented my right knee from bending. Skip-it, Skip-it. The stupid song is in my head now, that 80s toy where you put some plastic thing on one ankle and continuously jump over it with the other. I ran with an imaginary Skip-it all the way home. This turned out to be a painful 2hr 50min run, but good thing I’m training early in the year. How bad would it suck to be injured right before the race after all that training and investment?

17 miles down, time to rest now…

Seventeen Miles

17 miles was on my mind this Sunday, a bit early in the year for that milestone but I just had a feeling this time. Staying up Saturday night playing video games didn’t help though; 6 hours sleep just ain’t enough. I wasn’t feeling my best throughout the run, even took a 30 second walk break at mile 3, that’s not good. I decided to run the route from last week for the first hour, and didn’t plan on getting lost this time; you can’t get lost in the same place twice. 17 was the goal this time, so I chose to run farther out such that the route would be a mile longer than last time with no opportunity of shortcuts, just in case my mind tries to convince me to settle for 16 again.

Around mile 7 or 8 my 8-9 min/mile pace turned into 10-11 min/mile pace due to the excessive walking breaks I was taking each mile. Where the hell was my power, my rage, my chi? Oh wait, I forgot the carbs! During the last few miles, I was truly exhausted, but had to go on. It truly has gotten to the point where the training is more of a mental thing.

  <– Mile 15 photo break by willow lake.

During my final miles, my mind became louder than my Ipod shuffle. My mind shouts, “no pain, no pain, cmon, don’t stop, you must, you must, cmonnnn, be strong, fight, fiiiight”. I often imagine that I’m some ancient warrior running through the woods to rescue his tribe and can’t slow down or else they will die. Sometimes, I imagine that the world will explode if I don’t complete my mileage goal. Even better, for maximizing speed on downhills, I’ve imagined that a volcano exploded behind me and I have to outrun the lava spill. My favorite is when I imagine that I’m in a slow car just cruising down the street. Yea, kinda weird, but whatever works right, and I did make it home with my record distance and really sore leg muscles. 2000 calories burned, a day’s worth of food to make up. And you know what, 17 miles is just approximately a 2/3 marathon distance, awesome.

17 miles down, time to rest now…

Cold as ice

Another a Sunday morning and the temp was in the upper 20s with 15-20mph winds. I scouted outside to test the weather and see if a jog was possible. If it wasn’t for that jogger outside looking like he was having the best time in his own little world, I might have just stayed home. I thought “that could be meeee”. So around 4:30pm, I began my journey into the streets. By mile 7, I took a detour on a bike path; didn’t know how hilly it was until I could see living rooms of 4th and 5th floor apartments. I ended up in the middle of a forest once the bike trail started to vanish. I just kept running through while keeping my sense of direction, but soon realized that I was kinda lost. Alone in the creepy woods at night with strange sounds in the distance. I was reminded of that scene in Avatar when the main character was stuck in the woods at night and the demon wolves surrounded him.

The winds picked up once the night came. I was freezing and that just pissed me off. I had to keep running fast to maintain my body heat. My face became frozen; every few minutes I put my palms to my face and breathed hot air to warm it. Then flurries started to fall, and into my eyes, wonderful. Started to regret coming out but its always worth it at the end. By mile 10, I was growling (Yaaargh!) in fury to just keep going on, to just get home. The rage kept the flame burning, a very small flame, but hot enough to get me home. 15 miles, that deserved a treat, even though it wasn’t 16 like the previous week. A double serving of pasta dinner cooked by my queen.

Sixteen Miles

The title says it all. And after such a lousy 13 mile fail last week. It was the thought of repeating the same performance which pushed me this time. I proceeded to run my usual route until I was up to 13 miles (when things get interesting). Home is 2 miles away, but then another thought entered my mind once I was a few blocks away from home. Why not another? Do I not have more in me? Wouldn’t it be good to reach another milestone?

So I made another detour, behind the LIRR for 1 more mile, and it was mostly downhill, excellent. With nothing left, I kept going till my running App said 16 miles, then shouted in glory, then limped to the store for a Gatorade. Will next week be 17, a repeat of 16, or another fail? We shall see…

16 miles down, time to rest now…

Feb Fail

I was sick this weekend, and too sick to jog. I haven’t missed a weekend long run in months. I felt that I should just make up this day sometime during the workweek as soon as I felt better. Wednesday was the day; a 50F+ temp night. Perhaps it was the wind, maybe I didn’t fully recover, or because I didn’t have my Sunday morning oatmeal, but this was the worst half marathon sessions ever. Every mile was done a minute slower than usual, I think a turtle passed me by. Its like all my energy vanished halfway through.

When I returned home, I noticed the saltiest face in the mirror. Aha, that might explain it. I didn’t hydrate properly throughout the day. I hit 15 miles last time because I drank liters of water throughout the day. Its official, H20 is key, lesson learned. Why am I realizing this now so late in the game?