Saturday, March 3, 2012

How Not to Plan for and Execute A Long Run

This morning as I sat in our family’s second car wondering how to remove my soaked bra without committing indecent exposure, it occurred to me: I should know better at this stage of my running life.

I’ve been training for races on and off for 17 years. The races I’ve trained for in the last year and a half I’ve been pretty serious about.

The programs I’ve followed for these races all include a long run almost every weekend. Ahead of these long runs, there are certain behaviors and preparations I know I can make that will make the long run experience much more enjoyable. And on the day of the long run, I also know there are certain safety precautions I should take to give me peace of mind and prevent uncomfortable situations.

This weekend, I exhibited none of those behaviors, made none of those preparations and took none of those precautions.

So here, in the hopes that I can prevent this ridiculous situation from happening to someone else, is a list of the things I did and didn’t do that made today’s two-hour long run such a miserable experience:

1)      I wasn’t careful about what I ate the night before. This one isn’t necessarily a huge problem, if I don’t mind a stop or two in a handy bathroom or Port-a-John during the run the next day. If I don’t want to stop, because, oh, say, I might not be able to get to a bathroom in time, I need to rein in the eating and stick to certain kinds of safe foods.
2)      I started late. It was for the best of reasons, to deal with the kids’ breakfast and thus give my husband a little time to sleep in. But when I start later than 7:30 or 8 a.m., I’m already hungry. This sets up bonking, even on runs of only two hours.
3)      I wore neither gloves nor hat. I didn’t need them during the run—it was over 40 degrees. But afterward, when I was standing outside NOT running, that felt a lot colder, especially when the sun went behind the clouds and an innocent-seeming little breeze kicked in.
4)      I brought neither a house-key nor a cell phone. I figured, hey, it’s a two-hour run and I’m doing it around town and I will never be very far from home. I knew my husband was taking the kids out. It didn’t occur to me that he might actually…..lock the door. Which he did. Which I discovered only when I returned home, desperately needing a bathroom, some dry clothes and something to eat.
5)      I brought nothing to eat or drink after the run. I had never before tested how it feels when you don’t refuel during the magical window of 30 minutes after. Now I have. It doesn’t feel good.

So here’s what I learned from today’s experience:

1)      Eat like I’m running long the night before, even when running long isn’t the longest long ever, even when friends are over, even when Dan makes his homemade pesto.
2)      Get out the damn door as soon as that sun wakes me up.
3)      If the weather is at all cold, at least bring gloves and a hat even if I don’t wear them. You never know.
4)      Bring the key all the time and the cell phone if I know I’ll be coming back to an empty house.
5)      Keep healthy fuel in the glove box of both cars. A LaraBar in that situation would have been great. (Lucky for me there was a bottle of half-frozen water in the car.)

In case you’re curious, I did manage to get my wet shirt and bra off in the car without scandalizing the neighbors. Not for nothing did I attend seven years of Catholic school, where getting the uniform off as quickly and discreetly as you could after school was a high priority.

The bathroom problem wasn’t so easily or neatly solved. Suffice it to say, my camping skills came in handy once again. (And yeah, we do know some of our neighbors, but not well enough to ask to use their guest toilet while holding my knees together.)

At least we hadn’t locked the car. It was nice and warm in there….for the full hour and a half I waited for Dan and the kids to return.

33 comments:

  1. Oh wow...I would have sat in the unlocked car and cried! At least you got your run in...right?!

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  2.  Yes, that's pretty much the only consolation! I probably would have cried except I felt so stupid that I was laughing at myself (partly).

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  3. Wow, and I thought I had a tough morning!!! On a lighter side, have you seen the weather projections for the week? We need to get together and get some quality time in Waterton with the big horn sheep!

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  4. That's rough. We have a side door that has a pin lock on it so I just needd the code and the energy to either jump the fence or go all the way around and cut through the park and into our backyard(we locked ourselves out in the backyard with 2 newborn premie twins, hence the keyless lock.

    I'm looking forward to my long run tomorrow, but I do it midday when the twins sleep.

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  5. Oh dear, not the best way to start off the morning.  You need one of those garage code thingies on the side of the garage door.  We had to get that when our kids went to school because they were always forgetting a key so this helped as they could just punch in the keycode.  I use it more then they do I think, I use it all the time when I go for a run from my house :).  Anyway, you got your run in - yay, and at least had a warm car to sit in - yay!   :)

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  6. Wow, that sounds like quite the experience.  Thanks so much for sharing your lessons learned.  I hope that your next long run is much nicer!

    Have a great weekend!

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  7. Lacey Sue - N.Y.A.R.MMarch 4, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Oh goodness!!!!!! What an experience- I will follow your "not to do list" religiously!

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  8. Oh my!!!!!  An hour and a half?!?!  Yikes, I would have been sitting in the car naked!  The first thing I want to do after my LR is get those cold, wet clothes off because (usually) my lips are blue and teeth are chattering.  You'll never forget your key again ;)

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  9. An hour and a half?!  Yikes!!  That is the worst--especially when you're missing out on your chance to have a quiet house all to yourself.  Just happened to me a few weeks ago too, but thankfully they were on their way home, and it was in the 60's.  I hear you though, I slack on some of those preparations often... takes a day like that to remind me why it's so important!!

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  10. oh dear....this is not a good morning...I hope the rest of your day was better
    I left too late this morning and I had a really crappy run
    I was prepared for an early run, I had done everything right and then my son decided to have a temper tantrum...that lasted over an hour...fun times.....

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  11. Oh, goodness...you had to wait and hour and a half?? Lol...you poor thing!  Thank you for at least using your bad experience to give us all a needed warning/reminder!

    I would make almost all of these mistakes.  And do most of them fairly regularly.  The eating one has come back to haunt me enough times that I'm getting more careful about that.

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  12. Oy; not exactly the way you want to end up after a run. Sorry! But... It does make great blogging material. The house key thing is a good one for me, as usually my husband is home before & when I get back fr a run. However, I have actually broken into my own house once when I returned home after a run w/ no keys. Guess we need to work on our home security? :) Glad you survived. This run counts for double I think!

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  13. OK, that was funny...I was commenting here and you were commenting on mine. :)

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  14. Oh man, what a tough day! I still make some of these same mistakes all the time too!

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  15. Oh my.  On the positive side, you learned lots and didn't scandalize the neighbors.  You sound like me - I like earlier morning runs (not at the butt-crack of dawn, though)  :-)  - if I wait until late mornings, ie on the weekends, then I tend to have more trouble with bonking.  But I can head out at 7:30 am, run for 90 minutes and not have any trouble.  Weird.  And I'm a nerd - if I am heading out for much longer than 60 minutes, then I wear my little Camelbak which carries the Kitchen Sink.  I've got just about everything in there!!!  :-)

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  16. omg...using camping skills and hiding out in the car.  glad you could laugh at yourself.  thank goodness the car was unlocked!  (thanks for the entertaining read too.. :) )

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  17. Well that doesn't sound like fun at all. I live in Phoenix and get cold, I grew up in Wyoming so I know what you deal with versus my wimpy self. But seriously just hearing about that kind of cold with a wet bra, makes me want to cry! 

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  18. Hey Kathleen--I've been enjoying not taking my CamelBak, but after that I'm starting to think I should even on "short" long runs. I'm definitely better about bringing the key, phone etc. when I have to carry the thing anyway.....

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  19. There was no way I wasn't going to get that bra off, that's for sure!

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  20. Oh jeez...sorry about your bathroom issues!

    I also find if I start my long runs hungry, I'm also screwed. I try to eat a little something give myself time to digest and head out the door

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  21. OH man, I can't imagine......being stuck for an hour and a half in cold, wet clothes.  That's really tough, I can't even imagine dealing with that, especially because I usually FREEZE after I stop running, even if it's summer.  Glad you had the heat of your car!

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  22. I would have come undone.  I am so wiped from a long run and mentally so ready to be over,  clean clothes water, food, that to come home and be locked out...I would have just collapsed. The worst part is the bathroom part!  Only so much mind over matter there.

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  23. I hate it when that kind of thing happens!  What was he thinking locking the door!  but like you said at least you had your car to hang out in.

    Thanks for the link to the Missoula Marathon review, I knew I had seen one somewhere last summer but couldn't remember where.  Very helpful.

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  24. Oh no you waited 90 minutes???? You poor thing! I'd have been locked out as well. But I always have my phone. Live and learn right?

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  25. oh man - that just plain sucked!! At least you had the car. That'll teach ya. It probably wouldn't teach me...but I know you're smarter than that ;-)
    I tend to make the same dumb mistakes over and over again (sigh).

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  26. Wow...not your best day for sure! :) I can't believe you had to sit in the car for so long! 

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  27. Your number 4 was the first thing I learned. But in the running topic I am always an apprentice too many lessons to learn again.

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  28. Your number 4 was the first thing I learned. But in the running topic I am always an apprentice too many lessons to learn again

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  29. Your number 4 was the first thing I learned. But in the running topic I am always an apprentice too many lessons to learn again

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  30. Damn, sounds like you had a rough day there, I'm so glad that the car wasn't locked and you had someplace to stay warm.  
    I have Larabars, gels, granola bars, peanuts, etc stashed pretty much everywhere.  I have definitely learned my lesson in this aspect.  I will bonk and I will bonk soon if I don't have food after a run!  I have also learned my lesson on the dry clothes after a run...I hate being cold.  

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  31. Ugh, so I see we both had tough long runs this past weekend! Again, thank you for your comments and I will definitely be following your list on race day!!

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  32. Oh NO! Rough day! It sounds like the run itself wasn't all that bad, but the after part was brutal! So sorry!! We all do absentminded things when it comes to running, even though we "know better". But I guess it takes a little wake up call every now and then to remind us!

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  33. WOW!  What a long run to have right before the no-running command!  

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