Monday, January 12, 2009

Twenty twin/twin

Dang 20 miles is a long way to run. I'm glad I made it through, though. And I felt pretty good the whole time. I went up to the lake at Furman and started taking laps. One end of the lake has a large hill that you can go up and back down in a loop. There's also a gravel path across the corner of the lake that cuts out the hill, and makes the lap 0.3 miles shorter. I did both. With the hill, the path is about 1.8 miles, without about 1.5.

The first few laps I did the hill. Then Kanye came on the shuffle (Jesus Walks) and my feet decided to match his beat, so I was flying. Normally on 20 miles, I would keep about a 10:20 ish pace. Kanya had me up about an 8:25 pace. So I finished that lap at about 12 mins, and cut out the hill. All of the other short laps were between 14 - 18 mins. I used the garmin and did gather lap data, so my task today is to get the garmin working on the laptop so I can actually download my data and crunch the numbers from this run. I'll put it up here when I can get it. The long laps were 16 - 21 mins.

Oh, and the total run time was 3:56. I was really pleased to break four hours. 6.2 miles short of full distance when I felt that good really makes me think I can pull together a sub 5 hour marathon. So with 5 weeks to go before Myrtle Beach, I know that the distance and time are within my grasp. That is really cool. Next saturday is 12 miles, then the following is 22 miles. That's the last really really long run before Myrtle Beach.

I should mention that both of my parents, one aunt/uncle set, and a few cousins are Furman alumni. So my blood runs purple. My uncle has more money than sense apparently, and donated some ungodly amount to old FU. So they gave him a garden in memoriam of my grandfather (his dad). This was a recent occurrence, so nobody in the family had actually seen the garden yet. I found the garden on the run about my 4th lap around the lake. It was a little ways off of the path, maybe 20 yards down a dirt walking path that veered off of the paved running path. There is 9 shrubs, 2 stone retaining walls, a swamp that was dug out, the water rose up again and it became a pond. There was also two benches and a sign that only said "Rest and Be Thankful". That was also a sign that my grandparents kept at their farm after my grandfather retired, so it has a special meaning. And that's how we were told to identify the garden, by finding that sign. I'm really glad I found it.

Now these long distances will really mess with your head if you let it. My grandfather passed away about a month before we got married over 10 years ago. And during my last lap around the lake I figured I needed to tackle that hill again to get the extra .3 miles and finish with an even 20. So I walked my way up the hill, then started running again near the top. Going back down the other side, (19.2 miles into the run) I saw the garden off to the right and was completely overwhelmed with grief and a wild sense of missing my grandfather. I started crying uncontrollably - weeping out loud. Thank God nobody else was around because I couldn't stop crying. And I didn't break my running stride until the very end. I felt like he was there, pulling me the last .8 miles. I did stop crying by the time I hit the bottom of the hill, though. But my grandfather is one of the reasons I run. He smoked like a chimney, and stopped smoking 17 years before he got lung cancer and died. Everyone in my family misses him every day. I guess now we can rest and be thankful.

I finished that last lap and pulled into the parking lot, the Garmin said 19.97 miles. So I circled the lot once to get in the last .03 in there. Then it was off to recovery, physical (eating and rest), mental, and emotional. Has anyone else had their brain reveal anything in the delierium of a really long run? I know my grandfather is always with us in spirit, but since he passed on I've never felt him that close physically. It was crazy.


Wes said...

As the brain is deprived of fast burning fuel, it does funky things. I've had several wacky moments, especially after 100+ mile bike rides. That's how I learned to fuel properly on those long training days!

I can't believe you tackled that hill at the end of your long run!! That's almost as crazy...say... as running 20 miles around Stone Mountain. Brutal I tell ya!

You do your grandfather proud. There is honor in that, my friend.

the gazelle said...

I've heard that running many many miles can release emotions that you weren't even entirely aware of....since I've not yet gone over 13, I haven't experienced it for myself.

Sounds like an awesome run - and it's cool that your grandfather could be there at the end of it with you!

Jess said...

I had some wacky thoughts when I was running the marathon and in some of my longer training runs. I think the brain just fixates on strange things to keep it off the running.

Sarah said...

That is intense. I think running produces a lot of emotions - what's important is being present for it.

ps - I heart Kanye

Alisa said...

I cry (or at least tear up) at around mile 17...always happens no matter how great (or crappy) I feel. Distance running is emotional.

Great job breaking 4 hours...I was just over 4 for my 20. I was hoping to break 5 hours in AZ BUT with the injury and my sickness...finishing will be good enough for me.

Marcy said...

I haven't cried yet but I've come REALLY close to it on a couple long runs.