Running On Empty

It is hard to believe, but just four Saturdays remain until the running of the Park-to-Park Half-Marathon.  We (me and the other runners) will be running 13.1 from Ridgeview Park in Waynesboro to Stuarts Draft Park in Stuarts Draft, VA.  There is some residential running at both the beginning and end of the run, but the for the most part, this race is run in the beautiful countryside of Augusta County.  It is relatively flat and yet has some tricky rolling hills to negotiate throughout the course.  Today was suppose to be another trial run.  The last time I ran 13 miles was over a month ago – before I injured my ankle.  Three weeks ago, I ran 8 miles and last week in the rain I ran 10.  We served brunch at the Valley Mission this morning, which means I didn’t get out till the afternoon.  By the time I got out, the sun was shining and the temp was pushing 70.  This is getting into my uncomfortable running temperatures.  Still, I was fully fueled – so I thought, so I took off from the church, determined to run the full route.  It didn’t take too long to realize that all was not well.  The first three miles were real good and just under my goal pace, then I turned onto Bells Lane.  This little stretch of road is well liked by local runners and walkers. I know why, but I am not a fan, especially of the hills on this just over 1 mile stretch of road.  I was really glad to get back to US11, even though I would now have to deal with traffic again.  Mile 5 and 6 were ok, but I was getting tired quickly – the sun was really taking a toll on me.  I reached my refueling point (downed a small bottle of Gatorade) and then it fell apart.  Nothing felt good, by the time I reached my seven, I was flailing around – my form (which has improved a great deal – fell apart.) I was not running the way I should, even though now I was over the half-way point.  My legs had no juice in them – they were dead.  I was breathing hard and yet not moving fast.  I ran this way for a few blocks (I was downtown now) hoping something would change – My stomach was cramping – This was not going to end well. 7.3 miles into the run, I called it quits.

This was the second time this spring (the first was when I fell a few weeks back) that I called off a run short of my goal.  I can only think of two other times and those were a long time ago.  One time was when I was still just running in the park.  The other was just after I had started running on the sidewalks of Staunton. It’s hard to know why runs fall apart.  I’m quite an avid reader of Runner’s World.  None of the typical reasons (as far as I know) factored into today’s short run.  I don’t know if I wasn’t rested enough or if the fact that I had been on my feet for three hours this morning or if the difference in the weather (sunny and 70) were the reason or any combination of the above or even what I ate this morning.

The whole point of this, is that sometimes you have to know your limits.  What good would it have been to run the full 13 miles, if I would have ended up injuring myself – I could have jeopardized the race in four weeks.  I plan on taking it easy this week – I’m planning two one hour easy runs and a 4 mile, easy run. I need to reign in the pace so that I can go long on Saturday, which will be an early morning run – the temps should be much cooler and I won’t have stuff in my stomach (I prefer running on less than more food.)

With all of that said — I am Pressing On!

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