MCM Training Weeks 9 and 10 (Or That Time I Bombed My 18-Miler)

by - Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Well the highlight (or I guess I should say low light) of my training in weeks 9 and 10 was my complete failure on my 18 mile long run this past weekend. 

I always get a little nervous before the really, really long runs in a marathon training plan -- usually the 18 and 20 miler, though sometimes the 16 miler too. 

I prepped for the 18 miler like I do for any of my long runs. I tried to hydrate well the day before, made myself a nice bowl of pasta for dinner, and then ate my typical PB and toast breakfast before hitting the road. 


As soon as I opened the door and felt the wave of humidity that hit me in the face, I knew it was going to be a tough run. But I told myself that was OK and I'd just take it as slow as I needed to. 

Miles 1-3 were fairly unremarkable. By mile 5 things started to get unpleasant and I was already worried about my water supply. I had planned to do about 14 miles before stopping back at home to refill my water bottle, but started doing some route calculations in my head and figured I could make a few adjustments and get back there sooner. 

I hit the turn around point at mile 7, and I was really struggling. I was walking up every hill and eating all my mid-run fuel, and I still felt dead on my feet. I tried to do a mental reset during mile 9, but everything just fell apart in mile 10. 

I walked the last two miles home and ended up with a nasty pain under the ball of my left pinky toe. Those were 12 of the most miserable miles I've ever covered.

I was pretty crushed when I got home. I'd been banking on this 18 miler to boost my confidence about this whole virtual marathon thing, but the opposite happened. 

I know the weather played a part. I know the fact that I had to juggle some runs to work with my schedule probably played a part. And I know sometimes bad runs just happen. But none of that is very comforting right now when I'm about six weeks out from this virtual race and I've got a 20 miler on the calendar in a couple of weeks that I'm now dreading. 

I'm trying to keep it all in perspective, but I really need my 20 miler to go a lot better or I'm not going to be in a good spot mentally about this race. 

Anyway, here's a look at how the rest of weeks 9 and 10 played out:

Week 9

Monday - Rest day since I shifted my 16 miler to Sunday because of the weather.

Tuesday - 5 mile interval workout. One minute on, one minute off. Plus strength training.

Wednesday - Rest

Thursday - 5 miles in more terrible humidity.

Friday - 10 mile long run. Was planning to be out of town for Labor Day and wanted to make sure I got my long run in first. In news that surprises no one, it was really humid and this run was not fun. 

Saturday - Rest day

Sunday - Four mile hike. This doesn't count as a run, but there were some pretty steep climbs at one point, and my calves were sore when we got to the summit. 


Total: 20 miles.

Week 10

Monday - Rest day to travel.

Tuesday - Six miles where I was blessed with digestive issues. What a fun run this was! Also strength training.

Wednesday - Four miles. Even though it was humid, it was so nice mentally to have a shorter run on the schedule.

Thursday - Rest day.

Friday - That terrible 18 miler that turned into a 12 miler.

Saturday - Rest.

Total: 22 miles.

I'm hoping with some cooler temperatures rolling into the DC area that the next couple weeks of running will be more tolerable, and by the time this virtual race rolls around in October, we should be firmly in fall, and I hope that means I'll actually be able to do all 26.2 miles. 

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