There are a few things you should probably know about last Sunday’s long run.
A. I consumed more Coors Lights than I’d care to admit on Saturday night. But I was with my parents, which makes it different, right?
B. The run took place in a tiny town that I’d never been to in my life. Half an hour’s drive from the homeland – but half an hour closer to Kansas City! This meant I got in the car and headed back to KC immediately thereafter.
C. It was nearly 20 miles long.
D. 13.1 miles of it was a race.
[For the record, this photograph was not taken this weekend. It was 1951.]
But I knew I needed to run something close to 20 miles, and I knew there was no way I’d go out there and do it alone. So instead, I drove to Delavan, Illinois (population 1,900) and paid a whopping $25 for race-day registration to run the Frostbite Classic half marathon. There were 148 runners this year, which is rumored to be a record for this race’s 34 year history. I was glad to be a part of it!
There’s one reason that this worked for me, Coors Lights and all. The race began at 1:00 PM. I woke up at 9:00, downed a big Gatorade and my favorite pre-run breakfast, peanut butter and banana slices on toast. I headed out to Delavan, got there around 11:30 AM, registered… and then started running.
I ran 6 miles before the race started. I had hoped to run 7, but I didn’t know that there was a shuttle to the start. Had I looked at the race map in advance, I could have just run that extra mile out to the starting line, but for fear of RUINING EVERYTHING, I cut my pre-run short and just got on the school bus.
When the bus stopped in the middle of nowhere, I got out, toed the line, and ran 13.1 more miles.
Faster than I’d ever before run 13.1 miles.
It was surely the greatest 19.1 mile training run I’ve ever done. Many people asked me why I didn’t race first, and then add on the extra miles – and quite simply, I wouldn’t have run them otherwise. I would have gotten in the car and gone back to Kansas City. The fact that I was in the last miles of a RACE when I most wanted to quit ensured that I would actually run. I would pretty much like to do all future long runs in this manner.
There’s more to come, for two reasons:
1. I love the Illinois Valley Striders, and wish to give them full credit with a race recap, and
2. I PR’d. On a training run. After drinking cheap domestic beer.
Am I in the midst of discovering the secret to success? Let’s hope not.