Sunday, February 22, 2015

Bonking, Giving Blood, and the Final Countdown! (13 Days to Race)

I've finally made it.  If you would have asked me half way through this week if I'd ever thought I'd make it to my taper you would have heard some pissing and moaning followed up with plenty more grumbling about going out for another run but my easy weeks have finally arrived.  Now you may be wondering if you have been following along why my taper didn't start last week after my soul crushing 22 miler in which I bonked so heavily at mile 18 I wasn't sure if by the end I could actually be considered jogging.  Turns out a crucial part in any training plan is actually reading the thing.  I knew this weekend's Sunday long run was an easy 15 so I just assumed but failed to notice the whopping 30 extra miles throughout the week making this week an all time high for everything but the long run and 5 miles short of last week.  To say it was a little tough is an understatement but as always (except the times I don't)  I prevailed.

The fun began Monday night when I was getting ready to head out.  I glimpsed at my plan expecting a 5 miler or 4, or even a nice note saying "don't worry! Just skip this one you're on easy street!"  To my suprise though I saw a big ugly 8.  Not as ugly as the previous 10's but way more than I was expecting especially only two days after my 22 which I had yet to fully recover from.  So I kept searching for it to let up but to my total shock and utter disappointment it didn't.  This week was 8,8,7,7,15 with one of those 8's being a tempo.   If anyone could have seen the look on my face they might have cried (from laughing so hard).  I was devastated but I put the shoes on (always the hardest part or step [hilarious!] by the way), got out there, and got it done. 

The best part of this week was the 8 miles with a 4 mile tempo run mixed in.  By the time I got to it the legs were sore from the previous 8, and the Sundays 22 mile bone crusher, but I knew I had to get it done.  Taking out a rest week to shorten my schedule for the earlier race I had totally skipped most of the speed work from the last 2 weeks in the hopes of not getting hurt, humiliated, or even worse completely spent.  After all my past long runs are as follows with a steadily building weekly mileage to boot:  Miami Half (nailed it!), 18 (nailed it!), 20 (nailed it!), and 22 (BONKED but did it with an honorable 9:57 average pace though I have no idea how).  So to say I'm beat is not an exaggeration or any forms of writer's poetic license or whatever its called.

To add into the mix I had a great idea Thursday:  give blood!  And after finding out I had a rare blood type I decided it would be an even better idea to give them a double shot!   Now they assured me at the bus (should have been the first clue!) that it would in no way impact my long distance running but I can honestly say with a straight face they are full of shit!!  For the passed few days my legs have felt like I've been running through quick sand and today's run was no exception.  But I was determined to make my last real effort count, and make it count I did!  After reading up last night on training methods I did a negative split (second half is quicker then the first) and then did my last 2 miles fast finish clock in one at 8:57 and the other at 8:27.  Both of these methods though I'm not sure if they're normally combined attempt to train (or trick) the body to run fast for long distances without actually running said distances.  Yeeeeeehaw.  Can't say it looked pretty to make it to the cover of the next edition of any running magazine, but I can say it's done. 

So at the end of the day I'd like to say giving blood is one of the best gifts you can give and in no way am I recommending not to do it.  I actually have an idea that it might be a great training tool to get your legs used to running in sludge in case all the worlds trails, roads, and sidewalks ever became encased in sludge or a fluid of similar viscosity.  But if your marathon is less than a month away, or in less than 2 weeks for me to be exact, maybe after actually receiving the bling is the best time to do it.  Just saying.

And oh yeah don't think I forgot about me bonking.  Hitting the wall as its known is actually what happened to me 2 Sundays ago.  At mile 16 I was tired, 18 I was beat, and 20 I was ready to lay down and die.  For non-runners bonking is when your body runs out of (enough) glycogen (basically what you get from carbs) to supply your muscles and power your organs like your brain.  Ask any marathoner what 8x7 is (remember 5678!) at mile 20 and you're likely to get a whole variety of answers.  That's because the body is running out of juice.  So at about mile 18 the body has to switch over to primarily fat to keeps the legs going and as although fat holds a ton of energy releasing it is no wheres near as easy.  Want to see what bonking looks like?  Go outside your house and find the nicest old lady walking down the street.  Imagine now that she's actually a runner dressed in full running paraphernalia and that she's even making the gestures of running (albeit rather poorly now) yet going the exact same pace if not slower.  No old lady's around?  Then just youtube and non-running animals making its most honest attempt to run (I'm thinking the dog that can't run video!) and that's pretty much it.  "Now that doesn't sound like fun" your thinking or "why would someone put themselves through that kind of torture and physical and mental self-abuse?"  Well why do people take crack cocaine?  Or play golf when they know they'll never be able to truly hit the ball even remotely close to where they wanted it to go?  Simply put one person's self inflicted torture session is another runners idea of a nice Sunday morning I guess.  Now it's time to replenish those glycogen stores...