Step into the runfessional, brothers and sisters. The time has come once again to confess our running sins. This month I have a big runfession to get off my chest, so let’s get started.
Four miles is a good long run for marathon training, right?
I runfess, I am not putting the miles in that I should before the Marine Corps Marathon, which Bill and I have on our schedule in October.
I used to do several 22 or 23-mile training runs before a marathon. No more! We are not running this marathon for a speedy time; we are running it with our 78-year-old friend Dennis who has run the MCM 30 previous times and would like to do it just once more.
Dennis’ most recent races have involved a fair amount of speed walking. He is nervous about getting in under the seven-hour time limit. I thought training would be low-stress, but we still have to cover the 26.2-mile distance.
I just looked at my training log. Before the half marathon we did last weekend, our longest run in the four weeks prior to the half was 4.26 miles. I am beginning to worry.
It’s not going to get any better.
Bill and I are planning a two-week trip to Spain in September. For part of the time we are there, we plan to hike el Camino de Santiago. Not all of it, just the last 120 km or so.
Many people walk el Camino as a pilgrimage. It is supposedly the path St. James followed to Santiago de Compostela, where his crypt is located.
Since neither Bill nor I are campers, we have hired a tour company to transport our luggage from town to town, where we will stay in hotels each night and sample the local food and wine.
After our hike, we will travel to Barcelona for a few days of relaxation, more excellent Spanish food and wine and, of course, all the culture.
Since we will be hiking an average of 13 miles each day, I runfess we are not planning to run while we are in Spain. So…two more weeks of little-to-no training one month before the marathon. You don’t often find that scenario in too many marathon training plans.
I am done putting all non-food items in my mouth and calling them “nutrition”.
There are a lot of gels, gu, energy bars, electrolyte drinks, protein supplements, sport jelly beans, and blocks out there being marketed to runners. If one (or more) of them work for you, that’s great.
I must runfess, however, I am no longer going to purchase or consume any item I can not immediately recognize as real food.
I have tried everything. Everything except the Cricket protein bars recommended to me by a (slightly crazy) former running partner. The source of the protein: ground-up crickets. Cricket wasn’t only the name of the bars; it was the main ingredient. I drew the line there.
Everything else I have sampled.
For my last half marathon, my only source of nutrition was some salty almonds and dried apricots consumed before the race (after my breakfast bagel). Worked great; tasted great. The sugar from the apricots was released more slowly than the jolt you get from sucking down a gel. It kept me satisfied for the entire 13.1 miles.
My 15-mile training run was a real elmore.
I have saved the best (worst?) runfession for last. Unfamiliar with the term “elmore“? I was too. Urban Dictionary defines it as: ” complete screw-up caused by hubris, incompetence or greed“.
Except for the greed part, “elmore” perfectly describes my last long run.
Bill and I planned to do a 15-mile training run on Thursday. We laid out our clothes. packed a gym bag, and made a route plan the night before.
We like to run several short loops from our local rec center so that we don’t have to carry food or drinks. We can stop at the rec after each loop, grab some food and drink and use the restroom facilities if needed.
Sound like a good plan? It wasn’t. Here is a partial list of things that went wrong:
- I only got about three hours of sleep the night before. I should have moved the run to Friday in the hope I could get a decent night’s sleep, but I didn’t. I was tired and cranky at the very beginning of the run.
- I didn’t eat enough before the long run. 15 miles on a piece of toast, a handful of almonds, and three dried apricots? I don’t think so.
- I didn’t drink enough during the run. Thursday was a warm, sunny day. Our loops were approximately four miles each. Four miles is too long to go without water and I got dehydrated.
- We started out at a pace that was too fast. We should be trying to match Dennis’ pace. That is the speed we need to practice. Instead, we began at our typical half marathon pace. I got burned out in a hurry.
The run was a disaster. In addition to the physical problems, I was miserable the whole time, snapping at Bill for ridiculous things. Twice on our last lap, I had to actually stop, bend over, and put my hands on my knees. I was even too tired to walk. As we climbed the final hill, 1/4 mile from the rec center, I almost started sobbing, I was so exhausted and dismal. Bill, bless him, gave pathetic me a hug and encouraged me to finish, which I did. The run was mercifully over. We had done 15.6 miles.
Next week, we plan to do 17.5 miles. I will make the needed adjustments. All of these mistakes are easily avoidable. No more elmores!
Thank you for joining me again for Runfessions. The last one was especially cathartic. I feel better already. See you again next month, when I am sure I will have accumulated more running sins.