In my last post, I said that I had decided to bow out of pacing the 3:33 marathoners at the Santa Rosa Marathon because of the continued stomach issues that I was having, the same stuff that made me back out of TSFM two days pre-race. I’ll take a quick aside here to talk about SR for a second because surely, if you read running news at all, you probably saw earlier this week that many racers ended up running longer than 26.2 miles (in effect, an accidental ultramarathon) because people took a wrong turn before the first 5k and tacked on mileage. A lot of what I read villainized and straight-up blamed the 3:03 pacer – the fastest full pacer there was – for taking the wrong turn and throwing off so many runners behind him, and therefore costing many people their BQs and PRs.
Pacers are human, guys. Even though there were other runners in front of the 3:03 pacer, who also did the same thing, it’s important to realize that pacers can obviously also make mistakes, too. You can miss a turn; you can have a shitty day (literally); you can get sick or injured – whatever. Pacers aren’t infallible. Taking a wrong turn in a marathon course (and especially that early in the SRM course, when you’re essentially running in darkness [early race start time] on dimly-lit streets without a lot of signage or volunteers, and on the part of the course that has a lot of turns) can happen to anyone. I doubt many of us have every turn memorized for our races, let alone for the long ones like marathons. I know I sure as hell have never memorized every turn for any race that I’ve done, and I’ve also come close to making a wrong turn mid-race. I feel awful for the folks who went off course, but I also feel especially awful for the pacer because so many people are assigning blame to him. It’s not his fault. It’s shitty that it happened, no doubt, but hopefully some positive changes will be in effect for future years – things like having more visible course marking at intersections, getting more volunteers at potentially-confusing parts of the race, things like that. I know SRM is talking to the BAA, so who knows? Maybe folks who would have qualified, had it not been for the longer distance, will be able to run Boston in the spring after all.
Anyway, deciding two weeks out from SRM that I wouldn’t be able to pace it because of my ongoing stomach issues was smart. I’ve continued to have “issues” since then – a lot (a lot) of the big D, abdominal pain and discomfort, that sort of thing. The good news is that I don’t have any of the bad stuff like Celiac sprue, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s; 9 vials’ worth of bloodwork and an endoscopy verified all of that. The annoying news is that we still don’t know what’s up, so I’m getting some additional testing done, including testing for parasites (!!) that might have set up shop in my body when I was in Kenya. If you want to think about something really disgusting, think about the likelihood that a worm, amoeba, or some other nasty-ass bug could have been living inside you for THE PAST SEVEN YEARS. Oh, and of course, you test for parasites by literally collecting samples of your own shit, so there’s that. #glamorous
Hopefully, all this testing will yield some answers, and things will begin to calm down. If it’s in the cards, I’d like to race Two Cities Marathon in early November, so I slowly began training for it a few weeks back. I’m loosely following a trusty Pfitz 55/12 plan, basically doing the prescribed speed stuff and LR stuff but doing whatever I want/whatever the baby will let me for all the other runs during the week. There’s been a lot of stroller running – single or double – and so far, so good. We keep it casual and fun.
Here’s how it’s shaken out so far:
- 13 weeks out: 30.81 miles (one week what would have been post-TSFM)
- key workouts: 10 miles of SRM pacing practice with Saurabh; 8:00 avg. It was tough to nail down exactly an 8:07 pace – I tended to swing faster – but it wasn’t impossible, so I thought that I’d still be able to do it.
- 12 weeks out: 30.10 miles
- key workout: 9.03 miles of trails at Rancho San Antonio with Saurabh, Tri Greek, and Nina at 8:55 avg for over 1,000′ gain, which was just good for the soul. I hadn’t been to RSA to run since I was pregnant, back in January ’15, so yeah… needless to say, it was a tad more comfortable to run there not being “with child.”
- the other key workout: 15 miles with 13 at SRM pacing practice pace at 8:01 avg. I literally thought about whether I should be pacing at SRM for the entire 15 miles, and ultimately, the fact that I had to think about it – and the small detail that it felt way harder than it should have (thanks, stomach) – made me decide it wouldn’t be wise for me to just show up and hope for the best.
- 11 weeks out: 36.06 miles
- key workout: LR 14 with 9 at GMP (7:40, 7:30, 7:29, 7:31, 7:16, 7:27, 7:32, 7:27, 7:26). This felt pretty good. It was nice to run faster than a GA pace for a long run for a change, and in the process, since I was running through Alviso (where you’re surrounded by water), everything looked the same and I managed to overshoot the distance, hope for the best by taking a turn that I didn’t know for certain would lead me back to the main road, and alas – making it back. Thank you, Levi’s Stadium in the distance, for being a makeshift compass.
- 10 weeks out (just last week): 45.27 miles
- key workouts: just shy of 8 miles with 4 at tempo (7:08, 7, 6:56, 7:01) with a side of OMG WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH MY STOMACH. I started the warm-up feeling like things would turn south; they did; I thought I was in the clear; I wasn’t; and at mile 3 of my tempo, I could choose to either stop my watch (which I don’t like to do during a tempo run) to go have “an emergency” in the woods … or wear my own diarrhea. I barely finished the run and promptly stayed in bed, in the fetal position, until 5pm that night. Coincidentally, the last time I had been that sick was the antepenultimate day before TSFM, and this time around, I got sick the day before the Santa Rose Marathon. Gah, foresight. Thank you.
- the other key workout: 17.37 miles of trails (3,621′ gain) running up and down Monument, “EMS,” Mt. Allison, and Mission Peaks with Saurabh and Marc at 11:13 avg. Anyone who lives in the Bay Area should put this run on their list. It’s just awesome. For not running these trails in a long time, I felt pretty good on them, and magically, even though WWIII was going on internally the day before, my stomach felt great. I should write a separate post about this run, if for no other reason than to have a reason to post more photos from it.
Other things: I’ve substituted a lot of my predawn running for stroller mileage later in the day, which I’d like to think is making me stronger. If nothing else, my transverse abdominus says what’s up to me near-daily now, and man, after a few days of DS running, my upper body was SORE. If I can swing it with my schedule, I’d like to alternate my long runs between roads and trails, saving the flat or rolling-roads for long runs with workouts in them (like GMP) and spending time on trails when the goal is purely mileage-based. While TCM isn’t a trail marathon, I think there’s some benefit to including trail mileage – even if only a little – in each week’s volume. We’ll see though. There are other things I want to incorporate into my schedule each week – formalized strength work and some amounts of yoga come immediately to mind – so I’ve just got to a) care and b) make it a priority.
Enjoy your long weekend!