Sunday I ran with the group again. Earlier in the week, on Wednesday, I had stubbed my toes by running into a packed box. Inside the packed box was some wood and I'm pretty sure I hit the wood and hit it hard. By Thursday morning my toes were a lovely shade of purple and quite swollen. I hobbled around work. Friday was better. I still had some swelling, but I continued to ice and noticed that the colour was much improved. By Sunday I was somewhat apprehensive since I wasn't certain how long I could run on bruised toes.
18 k was the planned distance. I had really hoped for a nice 16k or something, but no 18 k was the plan. There would be a lot of trail on the route so that was good. Once again I went with the plan to run as far as I could. I tried keeping pace with the front group and was doing okay. I noticed that S. was lagging back a bit and it sounded like he might have a bit of a cold. Normally, I'd keep pace with him, but I decided to run my own run. I was at the back of the pack, but doing okay.
I chatted a bit with one of the runners. He and I caught up while we ran. Once we entered the trail I felt okay for a little while and then it hit me. The wall. I said to my running partner just as we exited the first half of the trail, "I think I'm fading." He reminded me that we had just done a significant incline, but I knew I was going to fall back. In no time he was well ahead and I was really starting to fall off the pace.
I ran the second half of the trail tired and struggling. I haven't felt like that in a long, long time.
The group leader had set up the course so at a certain point we'd be close to our finishing spot where we could depart early if we wanted to. I did just that. As much as I wanted to turn right at the corner and keep following the group that were now way out of earshot, I forced myself to go left and finish my run for the day. 14k. Not bad, but not great either.
While I was happy that my foot felt fine and hadn't caused me any discomfort, I was disappointed in not being able to go the distance. I'm so unprepared for this next half marathon. I know, I know I've said that before, but it's true. I've been taking my training too lightly since I stopped training for marathons and now I can't keep pace. That was lesson #1. Lesson #2 was, "uh, remember sharkies?" You need to refuel. I can't run more than 8 k without some more carbs and electrolytes. One certain way to find that wall and hit it is to not have enough fuel in the tank. I certainly didn't have enough fuel to sustain me.
Yesterday, I went out and ran some hills to start getting myself into shape. I went out for 50 minutes and did nothing but hills. I felt fine. I was a little slower than usual, but I ran those hills. Now I feel like I'm on the right track. I don't think I'll run a PB in the Vancouver half, but at least I'll have enough gas in the tank to finish.