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MCM Training: Week 5: Siesta Key and the Long Run that Didn't Happen

Last week's training started out well, but, as the below chart shows, it did not end with a long run, as planned.

There are a couple of reasons for this: (1) I first attempted my 16-miler on a Friday rather than the typical Saturday (more explanation to come); (2) I then attempted to make up for it on a Sunday, but I woke up too late to run long.

The reason I tried to do my long run Friday instead of Saturday is because I was in Siesta Key for the weekend to spectate at Josh's Olympic-distance triathlon, which took place Saturday morning. And believe it or not, the hardest part was not getting up this time. I was up and out of bed at the second alarm, and out the door only minutes later. I had routed out my run the night before on a driving tour of the island with Josh, so I knew where I would start out, at least. The early morning was dark, quiet, and humid. My legs felt like lead, which I attributed to my CrossBoot class two nights prior. I'd normally have Friday to continue recovering from the class, but not this time. Because the island is not even 16 miles in circumference, the first leg of my run was an out and back five-miler--which is dangerous, because it means I'll be right back at my hotel after five miles. Only halfway through the run, I was still laboring around an 11-mi/min pace, which is slow even for me, and my shins started hurting on top of that. I decided I would abandon the run after five miles and make up the deficit (11 miles) Sunday,when I'd be back home. After all, I was on vacation, and I was eager to enjoy the one free day Josh and I had before his race.

I was a little bummed about my decision throughout the day, but I knew I'd been training pretty hard up until this point, and I knew that missing one long run (in its entirety) would not really set me back. So I decided to just enjoy the rest of my vacation!

On Saturday morning, I woke up early again to see Josh off to his first leg of the race--the swim. With the distances he was doing (1 mi swim, 25 mi bike, 6 mi run), I had some spare time between transitions. Since the bike was the longest leg, I waited until he was on it before I went down to Siesta Key Village on my rented bicycle to a German bakery and coffee shop (if not on vacation, then when?). I enjoyed my coffee and multigrain roll while the first of the cyclists begin passing me by. Once I saw Josh pass me by, I realized I wasn't quite sure how long I'd been away or where exactly he was in his ride. So I hurried back to the race site to see his transition from bike to run. By that point, it was going on 9:30 a.m., and there was no escaping the heat, humidity, and little, biting sand fleas. So I decided to bike it back to the hotel, cool off for a few minutes in the room, and then drive the car back to the race site, which I thought Josh would appreciate, too, as he wouldn't have to ride his bike back after a grueling race.

The only problem with my brilliant plan was that the parking lot to the race site was closed, and there wasn't any available street parking nearby. So I drove up and down the main street multiple times before someone finally abandoned one of only a handful of street spaces. By that time, I knew I was getting close to Josh's projected finishing time, so as soon as I parked, I ran what must have been at least a half mile to the finish spot. I had so lost track of time that I wasn't sure if I'd missed him or not, but I figured one of us would see the other, as the race was pretty small. Soon enough, Josh came running in toward the end, looking focused and a bit peeved. I snapped a few shots (which I won't post, because he looks downright angry) and then followed him to wherever he was wandering off to. He wasn't talking, so I knew he wasn't happy. I gently asked if he needed anything, and he replied, "Water." So I snuck into the finishers' area and grabbed to bottles to take to him. He leaned over and pointed to the back of his head, so I poured nearly a whole bottle on him before he came up and then drank some. He was hot, overheated. I felt for him--I felt miserable myself, and I was only standing in the heat. He eventually recovered and told me about his race. He PR'd, but he didn't meet his goal. I was proud of him no matter what! (Although, I thought he was a little bit crazy for knowingly choosing to do a race like that in the dead of summer in Florida!)

After coming back to the hotel for our last hour or so of R&R, we checked out, had one last "vacation meal," and drove home. I was home in plenty of time to rest up for my 11 miles the next morning.

But did I get up in time? Nope. Apparently my early-rising efforts in the previous few days had zapped my energy--as did the sun, and I didn't get up and going until about 7:30 a.m. I knew I wouldn't last more than an hour out there, so I just ran four miles and accepted the defeat of my long run. I've missed more than that before in marathon training, and I ended up just fine. When fighting for it begins to take more energy than doing it, it's time to throw in the towel. 

I have a mere 17 miles to run this coming weekend, and I should be rarin' to go after my little bit of rest.


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