It had been almost six weeks since I had managed to tackle my last REALLY long run of 18 miles. So it was about time I mustered up the energy and found the time to make it through 22 miles.
Before I did that, I thought it would be a great idea to join my wife for her “boot camp” workout at the park with a group of her girlfriends. I mean, really, how hard could it be? After about 100 lunges and squat thrusts, I woke up on the morning of my 22-miler with a couple of really sore thighs. Not smart.
The day before the run, I found my way over to the All3Sports store, which just happens to be about 5 miles from my house. It’s a store that specializes in triathlon gear, but they have good running accessories. I picked up a few standard items… GU, Body Glide etc. and then got a pair of these compression socks.
I always kind of laughed at the idea of compression socks. They seemed unnecessary and looked kind of dorky, to be honest. But after dealing with lower leg pain for as long as I have been, I figured I had nothing to lose. I was told by the “experts” that wearing them on log runs would help speed up my post-run recovery.
Because they are so tight, I noticed that my calf muscles barely moved throughout the entire run. This really seemed to help. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the lunges and squat thrusts I did a day earlier. Those didn’t help much at all. In fact, my thighs were killing me from about Mile 12 on.
For this run, I managed to convince a friend to run it with me. She’s also running the NYC Marathon and was due for a long run, too. We did the first 12 miles together — at a much slower pace than I usually run — but it was good to have some company. I broke off from her for the final 10 miles and picked up my pace a little, but not too much. My goal was simply to finish, not set a personal best time.
The route was great. It is mostly on running trails that lead from Riverside Park along the Chattahoochee River and then goes UP to a wooded area at Big Creek Greenway. However, the 3-mile section between the two parks was an extreme uphill that crossed over a very busy intersection. Over 22 miles, you’re going to have some not-so-great sections, I suppose. The hills were a good test to have on such a long run,
A cramp in my side set in at Mile 17, but went away at Mile 18. At Mile 19 I made a mental note that it was the farthest I had run in my life. It brought a quick smile to my face. Soon after that blissful moment passed, I desperately wanted to quit! At Mile 20, my mind started to wander and my vision actually became blurry. I couldn’t focus… seriously! My shoulder was cramping, I needed to go to the bathroom, etc. I was simply putting one foot in front of the other at this point. I wanted to quit again… and again… and again. At some point over the final 3 miles, I remembered the simple Lance Armstrong quote: “Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever.”
Aaaahhh…. that did the trick. Quitting is for sucky people… or something like that.
When I finally reached my car, I had to walk around for about 30 minutes. I could barely bend over to pick up my Gatorade bottle and I really needed some coffee! I was HURTIN!
On the way home, I stopped off to pickup two bags of ice and dump them into the tub for a 20-minute ice bath! I think that hurt more than the run, but it should really help with recovery. We shall see. (I’m wearing shorts in the picture. It’s a family blog, after all.)
Next week, it’s 12 miles on Saturday.