Passing Out in a Ditch

2010 Andersons Resort 2 041 It must have been May 29, 2005 – almost three weeks before my first marathon.  This was the day of the longest training run I was scheduled to do – my first 20 miler.  I had built up my mileage to 18 once, 16 a couple of times, but hadn’t ran a full 20 yet.  Well, on May 28th, 2005 the annual Ontrack Golf tournament was held and I was one of the organizers, so I had to be there early and stay late.  Well, I didn’t think I was being too mean to my body, but having a few beers – slowly throughout the day and not eating very well, kind of wore me down.

A couple of weeks earlier I was in a discussion with two buddies who ran Grandmas back in like 1996 or so.  They were right out of college.  One of them told me to take walking breaks.  The other told me to just keep moving and don’t even think about walking because you’ll never be able to get running again.

So anyway, I left the course/bar that night by 11 PM.  I was asleep by midnight, up by 5, running by 5:30 and hoping to be done about 8:30.  That Sleepingwasn’t a lot of sleep, but not unheard of for me to only get 5 hours and function fine.  I started running and felt great.  The weather was perfect – cool with no clouds in the sky.  The first 14 went well, in fact so well I was thinking I might beat my pace from my 18 miler.  Then I hit the wall.  The death march began!  I slowed down to 10 to 11 minute miles, barely lifting my feet off the ground, not much faster than a walk.  I could only think of food and how hungry I was.  Until, the conversation about taking a walking break came into my head at mile 18.  Within 50 yards of thinking of it, I started walking – walked about 300 yards – then attempted to run again.  The death march was even slower and more painful.  I happen to be coming up on a friends house, so I made myself run by their house – just in case they looked out and saw me I wouldn’t want them to think I was walking.  I got past their house and started walking again.  The sun was rising over the river.  I came upon a house with a big yard.  They must have just mowed the day before and they mowed their ditch – right up to the road.  I had to take a break and check it out.  The ditch had a beam of sun light coming down on one side.  And it had a nice incline to it – I could lay down, but it would almost be like sitting.  Well, I sat down and then laid down to rest.  The next thing I knew, I woke myself up with my snoring.  I have no idea how long I was out – but it was definitely a different song on my MP3 player.  I also felt a poking in my leg.  I reached down and I was sleeping on a big, thick, pokey wire that I didn’t even feel when I initially laid down because my legs were numb.

I got to my feet, walked the rest of the way, about a mile and a half, and never successfully ran a 20 miler before my first marathon.  Knowing that I couldn’t stop and start running very well – at that point – made me try to run the entire course at Grandmas that year.  I made it until mile 25.5 or so – when I was so frustrated – I walked about 100 yards by the William A Irvin.  The finish line is very deceptive at Grandmas and there are quite a few times a first timer thinks they are coming to the finish line, then the course turns away.

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