Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Mirage

Despite the final numbers, in my book any long run that ends with me on my hands and knees in the grass by the side of the road praying for either (a) a vat of Gatorade or (b) a stray hubcap to spin off that passing Honda and slice through my jugular does NOT a good long run make.

Of course, let’s put things in perspective. The plan was for twenty miles but, all week long, I had a little niggling voice in the back of my head saying ‘if it’s too hot, just shorten that to 18 on the fly’. Any time you let a worm like that into your brain, you may as well be realistic and tell yourself twenty probably ain’t happening. And it didn’t.

It didn’t help matters that I took off close to 11 A.M. with the temperature already in the low 80’s. There’s a 6.5 mile loop that brings me back around to my front door. Since I’m good at math, I know that to get to 20 that would be 3 of those loops plus a ½ mile spin inside the neighborhood (something I call my Sweaty Pecs Parade).

Here’s how it went down:

Loop #1 (6.5 miles):
It’s kinda warm out. That third loop is gonna be rough. Fortunately, I’m Superman so I can walk on the sun. No problem. Look at that, I’m back home now for some Gatorade and Roctane Blueberry Pomegranate Gu. Hmm, unusual texture but edible.

Loop #2 (.5 miles):
The Sweaty Pec Parade. Is anyone looking at me from their windows? I can barely keep flexing like this for ½ mile straight. There’s my house again. I should get a new job. Someone like me should really live in a nicer house. With a gardener. Maybe if I didn’t spend so much time running, I could trim those hedges.

Loop #3 (6.5 miles):
It’s pretty damn hot out. 87 degrees now? I always thought this loop had more shade. My moisture wicking pants have stopped moisture wicking. I now have a diaper on. Mrs. Nitmos, I need changing. Oh, well, after this loop just one more to go right? Back home now. Thirteen and a half miles in the book at around a 7:08 pace. I really should have gone slower but, being Superman and all, things like “fatigue” and “dehydration” that affect other humans won’t bother me. More Gatorade. More Orange Roctane Gu. Ah, what the hell, let’s guzzle a cup of water also.

Loop #4 (4.5 miles running; 2 miles walking, staggering, crawling):
Shit its motherfudging HOT out here. Just keep on moving ahead. Screw twenty miles. Why should I do 20 miles in this heat? I’m not Superman. More like Robin though, I like to think, a bit more masculine. Nearing 17 miles, I see a Laundromat with a bathroom. And a sink. And a faucet. And free RUNNING WATER. I run in flinging sweat all over everyone’s freshly cleaned clothes sitting besides the dryers. God damn does Laundromat bathroom water taste friggin’ delicious! They should bottle and sell this shit. I race out telling myself just one more mile though I’m pretty sure the laundromatters heard ‘bowawawahu….jus…milahonanon’ with arms flailing and sweat flying in a six foot radius. I hit 18 miles on the nose. Garmin lingered at 17.99 miles for, I don’t know, roughly 8 minutes before it moved to 18.00. Garmin, all praise be to thee, but you are a sick sonofabitch.

The best part of stopping your twenty mile run at eighteen miles is that it is simply over. You’re done running for the day. The down side, in this case, is that you are now 2 miles from home – and your hydration supplies – and it’s going to take you that much longer to get to them. Oh well, I’ll just enjoy a nice longer recovery walk across the Sahara. Cuz I’m quite sure folks normally like to stroll about the Sahara for miles on end with no water.

To sum up, the two mile walk was the WORST part of the day. Dehydration kicked in like Hydra attacking me in all parts of the legs. Why, oh why, was I not born a camel? I squeezed my brow and attempted to transfigure myself into a two hump camel (Gatorade in one hump, water in the other) to no avail. What a fool! First, I was Superman…then Robin. What I really should have been was one of the Wonder Twins…”Wonder Twin powers, activate! Shape of…a camel!” Just another planning screw up for the day.

By the time I entered my neighborhood, my legs were on fire with each step. I had already found two unattended faucets attached to closed businesses and siphoned some water into my cupped hands. Here is where I settled into the grass and wondered just how long I could lay before Mrs. Nitmos would wonder what happened and come looking for me. Or the wolves would start circling. Either way, it would be over soon.

Instead, I completed the walk home only to find the family had gone out in search of me as I was at least ½ hour overdue with the thermometer tipping 90 degrees. Unfortunately, they had gone the SAME direction as me which found them arriving back at home almost immediately after I got there as well.

My daughter, ever the optimist, had asked Mom “if Dad went to live somewhere else.” Geesh, just a half hour late and I’m already labeled an Abandoning Father by my youngest. No, honey, I’m coming home. But that’s why I drink so much.

As I said, the final numbers look all right, but, frankly, it was all a mirage.

18.0 miles
2:11:02 time
7:20 pace

_________________________________

Some folks have asked for a review of Roctane Gu. Here it is in brief. Normally, I only use Gu as my preferred energy food during a run. I have not used ClifShots or any other brand. So, my only basis of comparison is against regular Gu. In that respect, I prefer Roctane to regular Gu. The normal Gu makes me a little tingly in the tummy after popping it and seems to fade quickly for me. Roctane digests easier and I don’t notice a sudden drop in performance after about 20 minutes. It costs twice as much but I think it’s worth it.

34 comments:

RazZDoodle said...

I can see you now barking orders to your gardener while wearing the Robin costume.

I need to experiment more with Gu. I tried the Jelly Belly sport beans and they didn't do anything for me. Well, they may have unintentionally stopped my long run short.

Xenia said...

Sweet moses, that sounded bad! At least your family bothered to search for your carcass. That was nice of them.

Melissa said...

Ahem. Is this supposed to be inspiring me? Not sure why one would do this to oneself voluntarily :-P

Sarah said...

Garmin lingered at 17.99 miles for, I don’t know, roughly 8 minutes before it moved to 18.00.

WHY does it always feel like that last .01 miles takes the LONGEST? I find myself holding Garmy face up, watching the mileage display, as it lingers...and lingers...AND LINGERS on mile XX.99...I often find myself muttering "come ON already!"

I rocked (well for me anyway) my 16-miler on Saturday at an avg. pace of 8:29/mile. I guess that's the reward I get for starting at 7:00 am, eh?

Marcy said...

I think you just jinxed me for my 20 miler on Sunday. Thanks. Now I'm going to have this post stuck in my head the whole 6 hrs I'm out there :P

I agree, you SHOULD have a gardener. Tan, in his 20's, and prefers to work with his shirt off. Consider it a present to Mrs Nitmos. The woman deserves it ;-)

Vava said...

Holy crap! I can't believe you run these distances without your own water supply! Looks like you've scoped out every free water supply available though, and I agree with you on the Garmin being an SOB at the end when you want the damned thing to display a nice even number... And, no matter what your daughter said, they STILL were out there looking for you - I can feel the love through blog. Nice post!

Erin said...

Bottling laundromat water. Hilarious.

Vanilla said...

I had that same problem with my Garmin, lingering on xx.99 for an eternity but now when it registers xx.99 I take it off and throw it the final .01 miles. It makes me feel better and adds a little boost to my average pace at the end of a long run.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Oh man, I did the same exact thing this weekend, only a much shorter version. I got all, oh yeah, I can 6 or 7 in the blazing heat after not training for like months. I'll just go slow. Whatever. I debated stopping at the scary gas station and emersing my head in the sink or stopping at a baby sitters house who I haven't seen in over a year and drinking out of her hose. In the end, I walked it home, completely delirious. I feel for ya. Although, they knew I hadn't abandoned them, just another lame run by Mom. :P

Viper said...

So much for acclimating to the heat, eh?

*aron* said...

freaking heat ruins everything... and the WORST part of cutting your run short like that is the walk home, it takes FOREVER.

good job for getting the 18 in in the heat!

Marlene said...

What were you thinking leaving at 11???? Kudos for getting through it. B-r-u-t-a-l. I ran 35K Sunday (not sure what that is in miles? 22 or so) but left at 6am...never would have made it otherwise. I started feeling like I was slwoly melting as soon as the sun came up.

Big said...

You should have taken one of the freshly cleaned and folded towels and used it to wipe away some of your Superman sweat; it would be a gift to the owner of said towel.

Roisin said...

I feel like my 18 miler this coming Saturday is going to end up like. *gulp*

tfh said...

This is a truly tragic story, from the pathos of that humble, "Mrs Nitmos, I need changing," down to your daughter's anxiety that you've abandoned the family with a yard that needs tending and less-than-palatial house.

Hope you've recovered and are out trimming the hedges or something.

Charlotte said...

First off, a 7:20 pace in 90 degree heat? You're my new hero. Also, any one that does the Sweaty Pec Parade AND Abandoning Father in the same run has all my respect.

runjess said...

Thanks for the Roctane info. I'm new to this whole fuel-in-nasty-gel-form thing, and have only tried Clif so far. It's decent.
www.seejessrun.wordpress.com

Kristina said...

August can go to hell. I'd like to buy September a drink or two. Here's to fall running.

Jess said...

So Robin huh...you downgraded from Superman straight to Robin, that's pretty depressing, Boy Wonder

Jodie said...

Awesome recount of the run. LOL - wonder twins! Oh my gah...I have to watch them like 10 times a day.

You're insane for doing an 18-miler at 11 in the summer! Glad to hear you made it through. Hope you can walk today!

Tall Girl Running said...

I also once cut short a planned 20-miler to just 18 when I became dehydrated and started seeing flying penguins. No, wait... that was during a 14-miler in a snow blizzard. I get my mirages all confused sometimes.

Congrats on living to torture yourself another day!

Ms. V. said...

I make it a policy to only run in the dark.

I was howling at the Laundromat bathroom water. It's amazing how a water faucet on some poor sap's lawn looks INVITING!

Marci said...

Good run in such hot weather. I don't hold it together well when it gets hot like that.

Jeff said...

I must be missing something. Are you not the god, NITMOS? You take a break with 90% of the run done? Hey, at least it wasn't 100 degrees. Man, your kids are most certainly auditioning new dads while you're off at work this week.

Sad, so sad.

KimsRunning said...

OMG...18 miles in 2 hours?????? I'm hoping and praying for a 1:56:59 finish in the half!!! You ARE Superman!

I once tried to lick the dew off the grass, I was so thirsty. But I saw red ants and changed my mind. Those ants also keep me from laying in the grass. Or I'd never get past 4 miles. =P

Here in southern Florida, we get out on the road at 5:30am to happily run in 86 degrees. By 8am it's already in the nineties. Being a new runner, this is my first summer running. I am looking forward to September!

GREAT run Nitmos!!!!

e said...

If you ate Roctane during "Rocktober" I do believe the universe might explode.

Russ said...

it was indeed hot this weekend (and still is), i guess benefit of being back to square zero. though phoebe the dog was definitely off her pace yesterday and had to be tugged a couple times and not for the usual animal distractions. sounds like you are in top form.

Laura said...

I got my Roctane free at the SFM expo and then tried it at the RWTH marathon... it seemed like regular Gu to me, but tastier.

Michelle J said...

Nitmos i love you!! Really, you are the stuff real runners are made of!!! Good for you dude!!!

Michelle

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

You know it's been a long run when laundromat water seems like the fountain of youth.

Steve Stenzel said...

Nice run!!

I love the first line. It's funny. Even though it was torture for you!!

;)

The Laminator said...

Yeah, I'm very familiar with those unplanned long walks you take when you cut your long runs short. I call them my "walk of shame". When I'm in that state of mind, I try never to look up so no one can recognize me as the guy who couldn't finish a long run.

At least you have the weather to blame. I generally have no excuse.

Great run nonetheless. Recover well, my friend.

sRod said...

Shape of a camel? I'd go for shape of a gazelle first, you'd get the speed and none of the messy spitting.

Dando said...

I think I have read this about 20 times already. This is so funny! Thank you!