1. Go to Vegas for three days mid-training.
2. Not running during those three days in Vegas.
3. Eating (and drinking) well in Vegas
4. Choosing fun over sleep in Vegas
5. Returning from Vegas on Friday night and running 19.5 miles the following morning.
If anyone thought I was crazy before, then all the above have definitely proven them correct.
My return from the City of Sun and Sin had me arriving in D.C. at 8:45 P.M. Despite the dark sky in the District, my body was still on West Coast time; it wasn’t ready for bed, it was just hungry for dinner. On most Fridays pre-SLR, I’m typically in bed between 9-930 PM. Going to sleep at that hour on the East Coast was impossible, but I managed to pass out at midnight. Unfortunately, with my alarm clock set for 6:25 A.M., I had set myself up to run my longest distance ever on only six hours of pillow time, after three days of little sleep and pending jet lag.
I feared for the worse.
Yet, as if nothing was different, my body woke up to the alarm and quickly went into SLR-mode. Sneakers on, Garmin fastened to the wrist, breakfast inhaled, all before 6:45. By 7 A.M. I had clocked my first mile of the week and set off with my running crew for the week’s 18-miler.
Had it been raining or felt hot and humid like last weekend’s run it would have been easy for me to come up with an excuse not to run. But I didn’t have one. Though one of my running coaches stressed not to run the full 18 if we hadn’t gotten in our mileage during the week, I didn’t listen, yet another example of my poor training habits.
Nevertheless, I did it: I ran the full 18 miles, averaging about a 9.00 mi/mi. Based on my breath during the run, I could perceive that I was working harder to stay on pace, likely an effect of the combination of running on cold legs and having a less than perfect diet on the pre-SLR days.
Even so, I finished them all. It was a harder run, but in a different way than the previous week. Whereas the week prior was more physically taxing because of the humidity, this one was more mental, particularly because I ran the last 9-miles solo (smaller running crew this week meant that I lost my running partner after a pit-stop). It was just me and my thoughts; there was no one to tell me to keep going. While I could have stopped or turned around early, I kept going, knowing that I would only be disappointing myself if I did not at least put in the effort.
So then I did it. In total, I finished the morning with 19.5 more miles logged on my sneakers. As I ran the last half mile back to the store, I’m pretty sure I smiled the whole way. If I can run nearly 20-miles post-Vegas and mid-jet lag, then running 26.2 miles this October seems more and more of a reality.