I had to skip week 11 and week 12, but I really wanted to try to do my final long distance run as it’s been said that it was important as reaching this gives a big psychological advantage for the actual day.
Initially I wanted to take advantage of the Roma Ostia path which happened last Sunday, as it takes away the stress of figuring out a suitable path to follow. Even though I didn’t sign up for it this year, I doubt that the organizers would berate me for crashing in.
Only thing is, the day before, it rained the entire day. My shoes were completely squishy wet just by walking outside for a little bit, and it was predicted that the weather would be the same too on Sunday. My distance running in week 9, being caught in the rain was probably one of the most demoralizing runs I’ve ever experienced.
Imagine the insides of your shoes all wet, your outfit soaked and your skin is chafing, and on top of that your legs are screaming out in pain and for some reason, your phone skips to playing emo songs about breakups. When you reach home, you are cold and shivering but your hands are completely numb. I don’t mind running in the rain for short distances, but I don’t want to go through what I went through in week 9 again.
So I changed my mind. The irony however, was not only did it not rain the entire afternoon and evening, the sun came out and cheerfully mocked me. But by the time I had the nerve to start training, it was too late. I knew that I will take a longer time to cover this distance, and I didn’t want to reach home at nightfall.
As you can imagine, I was not happy.
So I did it the day after, Monday. I was nervous as Cart couldn’t accompany me this time round as it was a working day. I had to force myself to not think about it too much as that would only freak me out. Regardless Cart told me that if anything happens, I just call him and he’ll drive to pick me up immediately.
I woke up bright and early, had breakfast and did my pre long-run routine :
- Stretches and warm ups
- Mixed my energy drink
- Rubbed moisturiser on my body
- Put on my running gear
- Dabbed vaseline on my feet
- Sticked on a kinesiology tape just in case
I left the house at about 9.30 am as I wanted enough leeway to reach back home in time for lunch.
Just realised that it’s doing a heel strike. Oops!
I didn’t want to risk hurting myself again, so I willed myself to go on a slow and easy pace. It was a bright and crisp morning and I loved the feeling of being outside at this time. For me, there is something charming, experiencing the bustle of the start of a new day.
After checking street view, I decided to go a new path and that gained me 8 km before starting on my regular route. It’s so different seeing the sights up close which I’d normally quickly glance by when in the car.
Every now and then I stopped for a while to stretch and I was feeling fine, but the more I ran, the hungrier I felt. By the time I reached the laghetto, I looked longingly at the food that some picnic-ers were having and wished that they gave some to me. Perhaps I should have pinned a plastic bag with some food to my belt, a banana, an orange, a cake, chocolate … anything!
There is this endurance sport’s term called “Hitting the wall” which is a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles. This is when runners suddenly feel exhausted and feel like they can’t go any further. I think I felt it as I was going around the church which was probably after the 21 km mark.
If you happened to be there where I was, you’d probably see me with the most mournful expression. I was close to bursting to tears. My limbs were in pain – my feet and my thighs were throbbing and I was craving for some solid food. The feeling was so excruciating that I had to stop and walked for a while before psyching myself to continue the best I can. My pace worsened dramatically after that.
Despite all the pain, I continued to psyche myself to trudge on, and I was amazed and motivated to see that I finally hit 30 km and I was close to reaching back home. At this point of time, my garmin watch started to run out of juice, so I used my trusty old Nokia to track the final 2 km.
You can only imagine how I was feeling when I was all done. Most of all, grateful that it was all over and disbelief that I did 32 km. All I wanted was to just reach home, have lunch, take a shower and be in warm, clean clothes.
A nice bowl of spezzatino waiting for me
It took about 5 hours to do 32 km. I’m not proud of my timing but my goal for my first marathon is to just complete it. With this timing, I figure that I can definitely reach 42 km in under 7 hours.
Interestingly, when I got back home, as tired and hungry as I was, I didn’t feel as bad as I did in week 11 when I hurt myself. I even managed to do my after-run stretches with no drama. And as uncomfortable as I was, I didn’t feel as demotivated as how I felt in week 9 when I ran in the rain. I actually felt good. I’m quite surprised.
Nevertheless I still felt palpitations all around my body and I had an uncomfortable evening. I couldn’t sleep well with the burning sensation in my thighs, quite an oxymoron considering that I was dead tired and sorely wanted rest. At this point of writing though, I’m feeling much better and I’m going to take it easy for a couple of days for me to recover.
And now that we’re done with week 13, it’s time to taper down and let the body heal so that we can be strong before the actual event on the 23rd.
Looking back at my running history last year, now that I’m training for a full marathon, running 19 km doesn’t seem to be too daunting anymore and I was reading my first experience at the Roma fun run back in 2010. In that post, I swore that I would never participate in a marathon. Wow, I can’t believe that I’ve progressed so much since then. It’s amazing what a person can achieve once they set their mind on it.
I wonder what past Marina would think of present Marina.
At this point of time though, I don’t think I want to participate in any more distance running. I’m kinda tired.
Nevertheless we have finally reached the end of week 13 and less than 3 more weeks to go till #rinazdoes42km! I feel nervous, but excited at the same time 🙂
Cheer for me!