run data to start: 12 miles in 1:42:43, an 8:34 pace. training pace was set for 8:54; in my attempts to lay back and be slower, i told myself anywhere between 8:30 and 9:00 would be ideal.
this run started out beautifully. it was about 60 degrees, sunny-ish, and for the first half there were some mild 10-15 MPH winds, but nothing horrible. i drove into town and ran through the neighborhoods there for a change of scenery.
i really enjoyed the pace, and at around Mile 6 i thought, “this run is going to be life-changing. really. this is a totally new mindset for me and it’s going to change the way i train.”
my first six splits were 8:36, 8:29, 8:33, 8:26, 8:33, 8:34. i have NEVER run such even splits before.
around Mile 7 the wind started to pick up. i was downtown so i seemed to notice it more, as well. i kept getting caught at lights – 4 lights in Mile 8 alone – and it was tough to fall into a rhythm. those two splits were 8:33 and 8:36, though; everything was going well, felt strong.
at the beginning of Mile 9 i turned left onto South Limestone, which is a long street that has a majorly taxing, incessant upgrade. and i got slammed in the face with a headwind. the gusts had picked up to about 25 MPH, and they were ruthless. by the time i hit about 8.7 miles – and a stop light, thank goodness – my HR was hitting 200 and i was in a full-blown panic attack because i could NOT manage to take any air in, the wind was that bad.
i knew that, once the light changed, i had a little bit more of an uphill and then a nice downgrade for about a quarter mile. and then i would turn left, and be out of the brunt of the wind. well, today i learned that headwinds that bad still suck even when you’re running DOWN a hill.
Mile 9 passed in 8:44. not ideal as far as my hopes for negative splits. but it also just beat the shit out of me. an uphill mile in what felt like a wind tunnel, at 8:44, feels like a regular mile at 6:44. (or i would assume, seeing as i’ve never run a 6:44 mile. but you get the point.)
halfway through Mile 10 i was back at the gym, so i stopped to get some water and stretch my lower back out. it hadn’t really been bothering me until trying to keep myself upright up that damn hill + plus wind debacle. so i grabbed a drink, stretched, and went back out for the last 2.5 miles.
i honestly don’t know how i finished. i doubled back the beginning of my route, because it had a strategically-placed tailwind. the second half of Mile 10 was better than the first, and that split was 8:43. by some grace of perseverance and probably sheer stubborn stupidity, i ran my last two miles at 8:27 and 8:28. i felt like i was going so slowly, but at the same time it was easier to just keep putting one foot in front of the other than stopping.
i was about a half mile from the gym when i finished. i walked back, stopping three times to stretch my back.
so there’s my run. the first half was beautiful. the second, not so much.
but the best is yet to come.
i got in my car, after stretching and foam rolling at the gym, at 1pm-ish. pretty much all hell broke loose from then on. it’s a miracle i made it home, for starters. i was in major runner-fog land. and doubled over with low back spasms and stomach cramps.
i got out of the car and promptly folded over. my neighbors, would must think i’m sasquatch because i leave before sunrise and get home after sunset every day, now have a daytime image of me to hold on to: short girl, neon pink sneakers, bright pink sports bra whose ink bled all over a white tank top, pathetically doubled over with her hands on her knees.
somehow i made it inside. and for the next five hours was half-certain i had rhabdo, not even kidding. i’ll spare you the gory details, but my shining accomplishment of the afternoon was that i had the good sense to sit down in the shower before i blacked out, and consequently didn’t crack my head open and drown while i was unconscious.
it took a wonderful friend, gatorade, and eventually some pretzels to make us both fairly certain i’m okay. after five hours of being semi-sure my roommates were going to find me dead on monday.
this has never, EVER happened to me after a run. not even after a race – usually after a half i’ll feel a little sick to my stomach, and last year after the derby half my lower back was pretty unhappy on the drive back from louisville. but i have NEVER experienced anything even remotely like this before.
honestly, it was terrifying. and frustrating. i was so excited this morning to try this new training strategy, to enjoy a lovely, non-stressful, long and steady run.
instead i got the shit kicked out of me and thought i was heading into kidney failure. all over some damn wind.
on the upside, my legs feel great save for some calf tightness.
and this was probably the longest post i’ve ever written – kudos if you got this far!