Long run of rememberance, count down to NYC marathon

Posted: October 22, 2012 in Running, Training
Tags: , ,

13 days and counting to race day in the big apple. This past weekend turned out very different than planned and for a whole bunch of different reasons. Originally on tap was the last morning long run (roughly 20 miles), a little hunting, projects around the house, and volunteering for Leaf Peeper Half Marathon on Sunday.

Unfortunately, my favorite Aunt had taken a turn for the worse. She had been fighting a long and painful battle with cancer. That news came on Friday. Left work early to take mom to see her, and then that got postponed as I neared Syracuse to pick her up. However, we went Saturday, as the news of my Aunt’s condition had become more dire.  Sadly she passed away on Sunday. The bright side was the long painful battle had come to an end, and that she would finally be at peace. What makes it more emotional aside from being my favorite Aunt, whom I have so many fond memories of,  is the similarities to the way my dad passed away from leukemia. As they say, “cancer sucks.” An emotional rollercoaster as these life events usually are.

My scheduling of the final long run in route to NYC obviously was changed several times, and ended up an evening run instead of a morning run. It does help to do something very physical in stressful times to calm one’s soul, and feel a little grounded. It also helps to have control of something you can come to grips with. I did choose to run the Erie Canal path from Dewitt to Chittenango, and back to get the distance in. My meals earlier in the day were not exactly the best prep for a long run, but I had to roll with it. Along with the emotional undercurrents,  I had been fighting off the flu/cold/bug whatever it is that had been going around at work. I felt it coming on during the past two weeks, and felt achy, but fought it off. Gotta love that Zicam. Needless to say, I was not 100%

Miles and miles of flat running doesn’t thrill me much, but the softer path is very welcomed for a 20 miler.  Most of the run went as planned. I eased into it slowly, keeping heart rate down, and trying not to hit the gas with a full load of powerbars, and GU gels. I mixed lava salts in my drink bottles, and that seems to do the trick. No cramping issues during the run. As advocated by Endurance Nation, I went out the first six miles 30 sec to a minute slower.

Very few people on the canal path. The further I got from Dewitt, the less I was within sight of another person. There were miles along the pathway that was just nature, and myself with my thoughts. Very calming, it brought some solace, and inner peace. With all that was going on, there were thoughts about my father, most certainly of my Aunt Joan.  Funny how I can’t remember a lot of stuff, and then remember things 40-50 some years ago with such clarity. Not only did we like/love Aunt Joan, we hung out alot with her children  (our cousins) Dorthy, Billy and Bobby. The house in Alexandria Bay, the basement with the huge black spiders, the cool rocky ridge behind their house, and  “Wolf,” their german shepard. Lots of fun memories of those times. Aunt Joan would watch me when mom would be at work while dad was at sea in the Navy. Anyways, I’ll stop rambling, you get the picture.

Around mile 11, I could feel I was not at 100%. I was running smooth (as much as I run smooth) and felt no pains or issues. However I could tell that I was working a little harder than I like at marthon/long run pace, and that the latter miles would have me earn them in a big way. Fatigue was coming on way earlier than I would have liked. Before that, I had walked 30-40 steps every mile after mile 5 to race sim the water stops. I did walk 30 steps at mile 2. As I reached mile 17, I knew the last 3 miles were not going to come easy. Referring to a prior blog post, I had my EN kit of tools to draw from. No worry, just work through it, and find what works, what doesn’t, and make the best of it. That I did. I walked more than I liked, walk a tenth of a mile, run 4 or 5 tenths. It got me to the end, and that was the best I could do given how I felt both emotionally and physically.

No excuses, I’ll have what I have come race day. during the taper, there will be some light speed work, a few short runs at goal pace, and time on the bike trainer. I’ll be out there for a long time, but I will be with 45,000-48,000 of my best friends,and I’ll have plenty to think about. Most certainly. I have much to be grateful for.

To those running at NYC marathon, good luck! Say hi if you see me, I’ll be the slow guy in the bright yellow top.

  1. Carrie says:

    Sorry to hear about your aunt, Mike. In stressful and sorrowful times, it definitely helps to do something active. I’ll look for you at the NYC marathon–have a great race!

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