My long-run distance hasn't changed much since I started half-marathon training a month or so ago. It started at an hour and thirty minutes, and only just increased to an hour and 45 minutes (which only adds a mile and a half, about). So I haven't really had any runs I wanted to quit - even though it's been hot, it's usually just 11 or 12 miles.
Saturday, though, was a different story altogether. This ended up being one of the hardest runs I've EVER completed! It was just a series of circumstances together that added up to a very tough morning.
I was exhausted on Friday after my hard week at work and my challenging flu clinic. Spending two and a half hours bent awkwardly over a too-short table to do paperwork and give shots, while standing on a cement floor, actually left me physically tired - and sore. I didn't wake up until 7:30, yet wasn't refreshed, since we were up very late Friday (having started a conversation with a friend that just didn't end...I was nodding off while he was talking, but anyway, we got to bed around 1 am!).
I started getting dressed for my run, and already felt tired and sore. I grabbed an open pack of sports beans with 4 beans left in it (yes, I'm cheap! I know! I'm not about to throw away four perfectly good beans!) and started off on my usual route.
The fronts of my calves were sore. My hamstrings were sore. My arms were sore. I was hungry. It was getting hot.
My route takes me up on to the levee, and climbing that "hill" reminded me of how bad I was at the hills during last week's race. The levee creates three additional hills along the route, so I decided that since I already felt like crap, I would do some hill repeats. They SUCKED. The first hill was ok - it was on the pedestrian path on the levee, so all I had to watch out for was fast bikers. I did ten reps up and down, nice and easy. But the next hill was at the entrance to the Fly, the riverside park where all the kids play soccer on the weekends. My hill reps were in heavy traffic of cars, bikers, runners, SUVs, trucks...I just tried to stay out of everyone's way. I only did five reps. The last hill was at the exit of the Fly, and it wasn't as busy, since the traffic had all parked for the game by that point. But I still only did 5 reps, because I was beat by then.
The rest of the run was in Audubon Park, and there was more shade than the exposed levee. I was looking forward to the shade, because the levee had been baking in the sun. I had a fast final 25 minutes on schedule, but I sort of forgot, until I realized I was maybe three miles from home. It must have been the magic four sports beans, because I eked out the last three miles in 7:31, 7:17, 7:14. Then I ran around the neighborhood a little to make my exact 1:45! That gave me 13.2 miles - not fast, but I finished.
The only problem, of course, is that my hamstring started bugging me after that - so I think perhaps the hills were more than I could handle. But thank goodness that run's over and done. It was one of the very worst!