Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Eighteen Saturdays: Canton Marathon 2012, Week Thirteen

In terms of total weekly miles, the running schedule has entered the taper phase, and for the first time in more than a month, I’m running regularly with my brother Adam again.

Last week’s schedule called for five-milers on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Adam and I did the Tuesday and Thursday runs pretty casually, and even while talking, we kept things well below 9 minutes per mile. I ran Wednesday’s loop in the evening by myself – I don’t remember why – and it was a really good pace run: I’m pretty sure it marked the first time I’ve ever run a 40-minute time on a five-mile course.

Saturday morning, Adam and I left for our 19-mile run just after 8:30 a.m. My third-longest run ever – behind only the 2009 Towpath Marathon and the 20-miler I did to train for it.

I didn’t fully carbo-load the night before, since I had driven to Columbus for a fantastic dinner, but I’d had a bowl of pasta when I got home at 11 p.m., so I wasn’t totally unprepared.

The first five miles went very smoothly – we were managing right around 8-and-a-half-minutes per mile when I took my first gel-and-one-minute-walk break. We happened to be near our brother Nick’s house, so he came out and joined us for a couple minutes as we passed.

Miles five through ten weren’t bad overall, although mile nine was much more uphill than we’d anticipated. Still, we were keeping pretty close to that 8:30-per-mile pace when I did my second gel-and-walk minute.

Miles eleven and twelve were decent, and I was feeling OK.

And then we hit the climb which kicked off the thirteenth mile, and that thing ate up all my reserves. I came down the other side just absolutely beat, and knowing I not only still had something like two miles until my next break, but four more after that. I had hit the “just-try-to-keep-moving” wall. Hard.

I wound up doing my gel-and-water break about a mile early, and even after that, it was all I could do just to stick to my plan and not stop jogging.

I closed my eyes a lot. I looked at the white line at the edge of the road a lot. I tried to look to the horizons and the treelines off to the left and right – anything to put my gaze anyplace except on the road ahead, which just. Kept. Going.

Mile Nineteen.

It kicked off with another climb of not quite a quarter-mile. At its base, I finished the last of my water.

Over the top, then, and with about 3/4 of a mile to go, I started to feel like I was going to puke. I was thisclose to pulling up short and walking when Adam slowed up and jogged back to me. “Mile nineteen,” he said, “Don’t stop now. Just focus on the breathing.”

I gave an angry grunt, gritted my teeth, and threw myself into the long strides again and drawing the deep in-through-the-nose, out-through-the-mouth kinds of breaths I turn to in moments of desperation to keep myself from throwing up.

My head cleared, my stomach settled, and the last half-mile eventually passed.

We finished in 2:58:09 – less than two minutes more than it had taken me to do 18 miles a couple weeks ago. The pace works out to about 9:21, and though that’s about a half-minute faster per mile than I ran my 18-miler, I still find myself wondering how the heck I’m going to come anywhere near the 9:01 pace I achieved in the Towpath Marathon.

Five weeks until race day.

May 15, 2012 - Posted by | Ohio, running, Sports, Uncategorized | , , , ,

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