Wednesday, August 19, 2015

And It Goes A Little Something Like This

I recall a conversation with my husband a few weeks ago.
It went a little something like this:
Me: Ya know, I'm nailing all my training runs and I feel good.  
Hubs: Well, clearly there's enough time left in the plan because you haven't had your breakdown yet.

Impossible.  Sure, the stakes are higher, but I'm no rookie.  LVHN Via will be my 4th marathon.  As we like to say in my department: This isn't my first rodeo.
Foreshadowing will tell you that someone shit the bed — to state it so eloquently.  

A difficult work schedule between me and my husband left a lot of our family life to be desired.  We toggled conflicting 12 hour shifts, including weekends, while shuffling the kids' schedules and attempting to maintain a semi-normal dinner time.  Whelp, that all went to hell in a hand basket (yet another wonderful saying) by the second day.  Shoot.  Makeshift dinners and impromptu trips to Grandma's supported sleepless nights and early mornings dunked in buckets of coffee.  I certainly ate like shit, but did my best to ensure I logged every mile.  Since I needed to maintain some serious mileage I moved two of my long runs from a Saturday to a Friday morning.

Last Friday, I got off to a late start, but felt well rested and prepared for my 3+ hour run.  In preparation for logging at least 20 miles, I organized my gear for a start time of 8:30 am.  My plan was to weave through a few neighborhoods and ride a main road to a fitness park (paved 1 mile loop) for some laps before heading back home.  I figured the park would provide a little bit of serenity with its traffic-free path.  I could not have been any more wrong.

I stopped about an hour in to buy a bottle of water.  Standing in line wasn't great for my legs, but I honestly had no choice.  I poured the ice cold water into my handheld while dropping one flavor and two carb tabs; and, off I went.  I was a slow go; my legs started to feel like lead, but I pressed on.  I needed to get warm again; that was certainly the problem.

I made it to the fitness park around the 10 mile mark.  I spotted Coach's car with the hatch open and he, spraying sun screen on his legs.  Crap.  I need to pull this together.  I sprung to his car when we exchanged surprised pleasantries.  I dropped my phone by his car (relief) and carried on.  I left my handheld at the entrance to the loop before picking up my feet for the first lap.

As the laps progressed, my internal dialogue went something like this:
Yea, this is working out.  I feel great.  No worries about dodging traffic.  Good plan.
I wonder how long coach will be here.  Maybe I can finish my entire run here and catch a ride.
Oh boy, I'm not going to be able to stay here long.  I'm dying.
Why am I dying?  This is terrible.
I should just head home.
Maybe I can walk.
I can't walk.  I'll get caught.
This sun is killer.
What's my pace?  God this pace is awful.
I can't run a marathon.  

Sound familiar?  Yes, because it is.  I went through this last week.

I grabbed my handheld and jogged back to my phone, but not before running into Coach.
Our discussion sounded something like this:
Coach: How do you feel?
Me: I'm fine, I'm not, I'm fine, I'm dying, I'll be okay, I won't be.
Coach: So you're conflicted?  (He's a funny guy).
Me: Yea.
He gave me some positive reinforcement; words that I had been trying to use myself on those painful, mindless laps around the bleeding darkness that oozed like hot lava.  But, he can deliver them in such a way that makes me believe just a little bit more.  Again, that went to hell in a hand basket in the amount of time it took for me to travel from him back to his car.  His colleague asked me how it went.
The response went EXACTLY like this:
Me: I have one fucking hour to go; I'm not done.  This isn't over and I need it to be over.
More hateful words left my mouth, but I didn't feel any better.  Nothing helped.

I walked across the street to fill my water bottle again.  I tried to chunk up the rest of the hour, but like all the words in the world, nothing helped.  I traveled north on a main road, battling traffic.  After a hollering Coach passed me in his car, I embraced the opportunity to walk.  I immediately unzipped by personal item belt and reached for my phone, calling my husband.  I, a pathetic sobbing mess, rambled on the phone, still while battling traffic.  The world of a runner's high crashed head on into an abyss of negativity.  This was it — this was my breaking point; I melted.  I eventually ended the call and started shuffling again.  I probably made it another 2 miles when the oasis of my local WaWa brought me to a screeching halt.  I walked in there, defeated, covered in sunscreen, sweat, tears and gravel.  I held open the door of their drink cooler airing out my body, while undressing every beverage with my eyes.  I settled on a bottle of water and one deceptively healthy looking drink.  I pounded the water before the clerk extended his hand to take my wet, crumpled money.  I sipped from the other bottle as I walked out, headed home.
So, I walked.
I walked the near 2 miles back to my house and collapsed on my driveway.
Melting Pavement
For a few moments, I heard nothing.

I had two rally phone calls before I choked down food and took a shower.  I left the house twenty minutes later for a much needed massage; I had to give my head a break.
I tried to pull myself out of a funk, which, honestly, was only possible with a solitary evening: braless, in a recliner, shoveling drunken noodles while watching Seinfeld re-runs.  Bliss.

Hindsight is always 20/20, or so the saying goes.  It wasn't until two days later that the root of my problem dawned on me: maybe my nutrition on the run was out of whack.  After a little back and forth with Coach he posed a blinding question that made me high five my face:
Coach: You've only been taking in ~48 cal for a 3 hour run???
Me: Yea.  Ugh.  I'm laughing at how dumb this is.  I'm a moron.  Wow.