Saturday was scheduled as my longest run before my next 13.1 – the OC Marathon. I’d been looking forward to it all week, excited to be running with my fro-worker and offical race ace William, and to check off the final long run from my training schedule. Compared to my training three months ago for the Surf City Half, I’d made improvements in pace each week, last Saturday beating my previous 11-mile time by ten minutes. My 12 was going to be my best long run yet.
Then Saturday came. The run was nearly thwarted with scheduling conflicts and familial obligations. My final decision was to leave my 11-year old at home by herself for the first time ever (she’s almost 12, and recently completed the Red Cross’ Babysitting Certification class – if she can watch a baby, I figure she can watch herself) and run while the sun was nice and high, at 10:00 am. Despite the sun, William was game and so the plan became real.
Even with the heat, we set off at a good starting pace. I typically speed up during miles two and three. Instead, Blythe time I reached that point, my legs got jiggly and heavily weighted. Something was wrong – I felt drained, as if I’d already run a good 10 miles or so. And that’s when I realized it – I hadn’t eaten enough the day before. Work had been busy – I had a bagel for breakfast and coffee for lunch. I’d been famished by late afternoon, so I got a bean and cheese burrito while I watched my kid’s volleyball practice. It filled me up for the time, but it wasn’t enough to power my next day’s run.
Not wanting to ruin William’s 12, and unsure how far I’d make it, I told him to keep on without me. Run-walking miles 2 & 3, I eventually found a little steam from inside, and I reunited with Will near the halfway point. Just shows the value of a run buddy – without him, I may have quit after mile one. I kept going because I didn’t want to let him down. We made a deal as we headed back – that we’d go get pizza once we finished. Eventually we did, taking a moderate pace until we got our 12.
I ordered my pie with basil and garlic. Famished, William topped his with just about everything the place had available. We sat down to eat, barely a word between us, nor my kid, William and I exhausted and starved and grateful to be done. “You have something on your forehead,” he said to me at one point, as sipped my cup of icy blue Powerade.
Rubbing my head, I figured it must have been lint. But when after asking if it was gone and he said no, my daughter giving me a face that said it wasn’t cute, I figured out what it was. “It’s just salt,” I said, used to the ashen skin that typically follows my hardest runs. I’d showered but apparently forgot my face.
As hard a run as it ended up being for me, it was nice to end the event with a salty face. It tells me that I worked it. Looking forward to getting nice and salty again at the OC Half. This time, I’ll be sure to eat well and eat plenty. And just in case I don’t, my race ace will be there too to get me across that finish line.