It’s the home stretch of the season for those of us running the Royal Victoria Marathon–only one more “long” run left (the infamous 20-miler) and exactly 7 weeks till we shall be crossing the border and running along the streets of beautiful Victoria, B.C.
Aches and pains are more common now, and the mental toughness we’ve been calling upon all season long is being put to the test day in and day out. Yesterday was especially tough for me: not only did I have to face the daunting task of running 18 miles without my awesome running partner, Janine (who is nursing an IT band injury), but I had to do it on a tough course and in 90+ degree weather.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dreading it. All Friday night I couldn’t sleep–I kept tossing and turning and waking up every few hours. I woke up tired and already hot. It was in the 70’s when I left for the trail.
Luckily, I made it in time for the second set of runners who were being sent off; I ended up joining a group of girls who were about my pace and who were GREAT to run with. The only problem? They are training for the Nike Women’s Marathon, which is one week after Royal Victoria, which meant they were set to run 16 miles yesterday, not 18. I would still have to run an extra 2 miles, and the way the course was laid out, it would mean 4 extra miles of running alone.
I sucked it up and spent the entire run trying to push this thought out of my head. I enjoyed talking to Brandy and Katie, whom I hadn’t gotten the pleasure of running with yet this season, and as we got closer to the point where they would be turning around and I would keep going, I made a decision to turn back early as well.
By this time, it was probably in the 100’s, and I was tired, aching, close to dehydration, and worried about Brandy, who was alternately light-headed and nauseous. I wanted to make sure she made it back ok, and truth be told, I wasn’t that much further behind from her in terms of feeling terrible.
So we dragged ourselves back to the finish, completing 16 miles and feeling utterly exhausted and in need of an ice bath. Yes, I felt guilty for not running the last 2 miles–that is my perfectionist nature, after all–but I am confident I made the right decision to forgo the last bit of the course in order to save myself from heat exhaustion.
There’s still the 20-miler to go. It’ll be another tough course–the infamous Lake Merced run, which mimics much of the Nike Marathon course–and I don’t know yet whether Janine will be back from injured reserve for that. My mental game is up for another challenge, and I’m hoping that my decision to cut my run short yesterday will set me up for a great run then.