Monday, August 23, 2010

Trail Run - 8/22/10 16 miles 03:53:51

I was both looking forward to and dreading this week's run.  The route was to be from Capital Crescent in Bethesda down to Union Station, we'd done it before though taking a shorter 12 mile route, and I knew it down to about Georgetown at which point I had no idea how to get to the metro.  Wouldn't be a big deal since we're traveling in packs but I knew coach Carol, who I can always count on to stick by me, wouldn't be there and I knew Hengameh was out of town.  I wasn't sure if Ameenah would be back since she was gone last weekend so I seriously doubted I'd have anyone to stay with that knew the way down there (I was right).  Despite that I was looking forward to a nice downhill 16 miles, I knew it would have to be a better run than last week (I was wrong). 

I left in the rain for CCT hoping that the rain would cool things off but it didn't, it was only 80 degrees but 90% humidity which is just really rough to run in .  I arrived shortly after Ameenah, I was SO GLAD to see her!  We chatted and fueled up before Andy gathered us all together, explained the route briefly and called for the coaches.  12 minute and 13 minute groups had coaches but there was no one for the 12:30s.  Andy attempted to give a group of six girls directions down to Georgetown, around Haines Point (whatever that is), across the mall and to Union Station.  It should be noted that Andy is pretty directionally challenged to begin with so I didn't have a good feeling about it.  Ameenah and I decided to just run together, she felt pretty confident that she could get us down there.

We made it to the first water fountain, about 3 miles in, right on our 12:30 pace.  Those miles really flew by, we were there before I knew it.  Another two miles and we were at the bathrooms at Fletcher's Boat House, no sweat.  We ran into the 12 minute and 11:40 pace groups there so we weren't too far behind.  Then Ameenah started dragging, like me the week before she'd been on vacation and hadn't run.  We started taking walk breaks, no way I was going to leave behind a struggling runner when we were each others only comfort.  She's stuck by me through rough days before, it really is a team sport and that support makes all the difference.

We made it down to 8 miles and by that point we'd completely lost track of the groups ahead of us and were pretty sure the group behind us had turned around.  Instead of risking getting lost running in circles in DC we decided to head back the way we'd come.  To this point I was feeling pretty good but Ameenah decided she'd run to the start of the trail and walk the last 7 or so back.  Once we hit the trail she insisted that I go ahead without her and as much as I hated to do it I took off.  Felt great for maybe the next 15 minutes, then it all just went to hell.

I never got into a rhythm, I tried to put myself on a scheduled run/walk system but failed.  I had spurts where I could run for 10 minutes without a break and times when all I had was three minutes to give.  I was hot and dizzy, despite being well hydrated and fueled, I'd drench myself with water from my bottle to keep myself going another few minutes.  Around mile 10 I got a weird pain in the back/side of my left knee, it happened around mile 18 last week too but hadn't happened since.  I don't know what it is, it's still sore and swollen today, it hurt like heck and made my calf cramp which didn't help.  I knew the last 4.5 miles would be uphill and that did nothing for my miserable mental state.  I did finish the last half mile running but it took me almost four hours including the water and bathroom breaks.  I saw the faster groups getting back off the metro on my ride out of Bethesda.

I'm still not sure what this weird leg pain is or what caused it.  The only common denominator between the two runs was my CW-X capris, maybe the compression around my left knee had something to do with it.  Last week I ran twice in one of my skirts, 7 and almost 6 miles, and had no pain (that 7 miler with Bo was awesome, tough, grassy, gravelly, hilly and we still averaged 11:46).  It's a little swollen today and gets stiff after sitting but hopefully it'll resolve itself soon.

So that was three tough long runs in a row, a little discouraging.  Though apparently I wasn't the only one, we did get a group email telling us not to get too disappointed and that the last three were really rough training runs.  We have plenty more before the marathon so I'm not giving up on them now! 

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