My first 12 mile run (2 loops around the park), I was still running without hydration. I didn't know any better. I got so thirsty, I began hallucinating drinking fountains halfway around my second lap. Seriously. I remember seeing a drinking fountain and running off the path to quench my thirst, only to stand in horror and disbelief when it disappeared right in front of me. Like some sort of cruel joke.
Next weekend, I had my brand-spankin' new Fuel Belt, which only held 2 bottles. Still not enough, I know, but I didn't want to be weighed down. I had filled 1 with Propel and the other with good ole' H2O, and off I went. I couldn't believe how much better I felt. I flew through the 2 laps like it was nothing. 3/4 through the 2nd lap, I let myself go, striding out with 2 miles to go. I flat out sprinted the last 1/2 mile, even though my right abductor felt a little weird.
When I woke up from my recovery nap afterwards, I realized I couldn't lie on my right side. My right hip was on fire. Something was wrong. I had pulled a hip abductor. I still ran the half marathon 2 weeks later, and my abductor was still healing. But I got through it. Somehow.
Actually, it was one of my best times ever. But all I was doing back then was running. (It's hard to keep improving 1 sport when you train for 3.) I've learned that proper hydration and nutrition is important. I've sinced graduated to a 4-bottle Fuel Belt that looks suspiciously like a dorky fanny belt. I fill it with water spiked with Elete electrolytes and take along salt tablets and Cliff Blocks. I empty all 4 bottles during a hot 13 miles. I've also discovered sunblock, a visor and a good pair of cheap sunglasses.
And I also learned that when you feel really good in a training run, you sometimes still need to hold back. It was like fueling the tank with rocket fuel but still in the frame of an old VW beetle. My frame simply wasn't ready for it. Not only that, but looking back to this weekend, I've realized it does get easier. 13.1 miles used to be so overwhelming to me. Now, it's no big deal. When did that happen? I have to keep remembering that as I begin to train for Ironman Arizona. It will get easier. I will adapt. At least, maybe it will make it seem easier if I keep telling myself that. And, really, what's the difference?
finishing the final mile of the Silicon Valley 1/2 marathon 10/31/2004.