So as I was saying, I found myself drinking at the Harrisons. The conversation somehow got off on running, marathon running to be exact. Then to my amazement both the Harrisons started talking about how they plan to train and run this little marathon called Disney Marathon on Jan. 10th, 2010. A little taken back
The next day I woke up, slightly hung over, grabbed the cell phone, called Harrison and asked, "did I really say I would run a marathon last night?" His response was simple and in a matter-of-fact tone of voice all I heard was, "yes you did... you sure did!"
Here we are only days away from Jan. 10th, 2010 (not so far away now) and after having my training scheduled FUBAR'ed by a nagging Achilles tendon injury I've gone from Plan A to Plan B to Plan C to Plan WHATEVER. The one thing I know is I will run this race and I will run another marathon at a later date to get the proper training experience once I'm completely healed.
So onward to Plan WHATEVER. The best I can say right now is after months of training and countless conversations about our injuries (Harrison has struggled with shin splints, minor Achilles pain and a few other problems) that we will both attempt to run this Marathon together with the understanding that we can leave each other at anytime to finish or get a better time.
We came up with this idea and then we realized we have never run together. It's very ironic because early on I would ask and pester Harrison to go for a run with me, but he would always find a reason to decline my offers, for fear that I was too fast for him. In recent months I've run very little being injured and I'm glad to say Harrison's confidence has made leaps and bounds. Now I am the run finding reasons not to run with him for fear I am too slow. Finally, we decided to do a long run together to serve a couple purposes. First, to see if we can run together at all and second, to see how his running style "Galloway," jives with me as I've never attempted the run walk run walk training style.
During the Holiday Halfathon I was forced to walk a lot of Mile 8 because of annoying cramps. This allowed my legs to get cold and caused them to ache upon starting to run again and that led to further cramps in my calves. My muscles aren't used to stopping and starting back up again. Harrison assured me that if I started walking earlier and for shorter amounts of time that I'd actually feel stronger down the stretch. What the hell, I'll try anything once!
On Sunday we set out for our long runs. The air temperature was 55 degrees. I decided for a short sleeve tech shirt, shorts, normal socks, a beanie and some light weather gloves. I plotted out a route on MapMyRun that fit both our needs; 10-12 miles for me and 20 miles for Harrison. Me being the genius that I am, I'm not going to attempt 20 miles until Marathon day (note: that was a statement of sarcasm about being a genius).
We set out a little goofy. I lunged ahead of Harrison for a few steps then slowed down only to lay chase as he sped up to match me. About 50 feet later we were pacing the same. I asked if this was the correct pace and he agreed that it's a "good pace." It felt slow to me, but I was prepared to go slow rather than my faster "pretend I'm not injured" pace. Another thing to note is I totally forgot my watch. I'm such a failure when it comes to timing my runs. I guess time isn't as important to me as others. According to the more responsible Harrison, who remembered his watch, we started our first walk around 13 minutes. The entire run went this way; run for 10-15 minutes and then walk for 1-2 minutes. At first it seemed very ridiculous. I wasn't even sweating and I didn't feel warmed up and we were already walking? After an hour of this my legs felt great. Time was flying by and I was truly enjoying our conversation. I hate doing long runs alone. I really think all long runs should be accompanied by a good conversation pal. Since the temperature was colder than I've ever experienced on a long run (yes, I'm used to Hades and our 80+ degree weather before the sunrises most of the year) I found that I did not sweat very much at all, but still forced myself to take a couple of Gu gels and even had to use the bathroom once (a rare occasion for me well into a long run).
Overall the run was excellent. We had one scare while trying to run along side each other on a narrow sidewalk. Harrison slipped off the shoulder of the sidewalk and almost twisted his ankle, but he was fine and we continued on to better running conditions such as a boardwalk and a little bit of the beach with the wind at our backs. I decided to end my run at 11.65 miles, which took us about 2 hours and 8 minutes according to Harrison's watch. John hashed onward and I drove ahead providing two additional water stops for him before he finished 20-miles. He is so ready for Disney and I'm so proud of him. He's come so far since that night of beer drinking at the beginning of the summer. I feel like I'm ready as well and could have easily gone 20-miles with him using his running method, but with only 2-weeks until the marathon I decided to be cautious and not risk further injury.
I can honestly say this was the slowest-best long run of my life. If there is going to be a way to finish the Disney Marathon completely unprepared like I am without injuring myself this plan is it. Plan Whatever with a bit of Jeff Galloway! Hey Disney.... Bring it!
*Mrs. Harrison, bless her heart, had to drop out of the training program due to poor knees.
** You guys have no clue how stoked I am to finally figure out how to do the