Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dopey Challenge Training: Week 24

After this week, there will only be three weeks of training left until the Dopey Challenge. To try and describe the emotions I'm feeling would be impossible. I'm excited, terrified, joyful, worried, confident- basically I just feel all the feels all the time.

This week is a cut-back week: two short runs and an easy 7 miles this weekend. Part of this weekend's running will include the Jingle Bell Walk/Run for Arthritis 5k in Harrisburg. I'm super excited as I have been looking forward to running in Harrisburg since moving to the central PA area. Dream big, right? Next week is the last week of long runs: 5, 12, 26. Then we're headed down to taper town! Woo hoo!

I'm still in shock over my last week of long runs. Over Thanksgiving, Matthew and I completed the following schedule: 3 mile run, 4 mile walk, 10 mile walk, 23 mile run/walk. The best part? We felt pretty awesome afterward :-)

Our strategy for the long runs has been slightly altered from the normal run/walk intervals: slower and with more walk breaks. For the 23 miler, we started outside and ran two miles to the gym (we were at Matthew's parent's house and they have a gym in the neighborhood). Average pace was 14 minutes/mile. Then we did an entire half marathon on the treadmill at about 15 minutes/mile. My legs and hips were a bit achy on the treadmill- it is definitely not my preference to run that long on a treadmill.  At this point, we ran back to Matthew's parent's house to get some food and water. Then we started the last seven mile loop.

Right around mile 18, I started to feel like crap. Like my legs were made of lead. Like any little forward motion zapped all of my energy. Like there was no possible way I'd be able to continue. Was this "the wall?" The infamous mental/physical barrier of mythical proportions that all runners talk about? According to Matthew, no.

Actual conversation:
Me: "I think I'm hitting the wall. I feel like s#@!."
Matthew: "You can't hit the wall."
Me: "Why?"
Matthew: "We're not even at mile 20 yet. There's no way you've hit the wall. You can't hit the wall til mile 20. It's a rule."

Thank God he can make me giggle when I feel terrible. Yet another reason I'm glad he's my running partner :-)

We kept going. I continued to feel crappy. I ate some shot bloks. And then all of the sudden, about 10 minutes after it started, the feeling was gone. Like it hadn't even happened. And then I felt GREAT. And wanted to keep going. I tried to convince Matthew that we should run the full 26.2 just to say that we did it. He wisely reminded me to stick to our training plan and save the full distance for Disney. We finished the 23 miler in 5 hours and 32 minutes.

With only a few long runs to go, I hope I don't encounter "the wall" (or the non-wall, according to Matthew) again. But if I do, I'm confident I'll be able to move past it. There are six beautiful medals to be earned in the Dopey Challenge and I'm getting so excited to chase them.

Have you ever hit the wall? How did you get past it?



  1. Congrats on your 23 miler and your training so far! I'm in the same place, did my 23 miler a week ago (walked the last 2 miles), and I'm looking forward with dread to the Marathon in 4 1/2 weeks. Before then, tho, is the 26 miler. As scary as that is, I am sure it will boost my confidence. So far, this is the longest stretch of training I've done without an injury. Thanks Jeff Galloway! You're doing great with your training Sarah, you'll rock the marathon!

    Rick Stiles

    1. Thanks, Rick! You too! "looking forward with dread"- I like that! Pretty much sums it up!

      Jeff Galloway IS an amazing man with an amazing plan- couldn't have done it without him. Congrats to you on your training! I look forward to being able to call you "Marathoner Rick" in just a few weeks! :-)

  2. My wall is 16 miles. I hate 16. It's such a long distance.. And then you still have 10 more to do! 10 is pretty significant. I was on an 18 mi training run last year and mile 16 was around where that horrible hill is near Tollgate on the Ma and Pa trail. It was the first time I had to walk all run, but I couldn't lift my legs high enough to run up the hill.. I started sobbing and hyperventilating "if I can't run 16 how am I supposed to run 26!?!?!?" Then I had to "slap" myself and told my self to pull it together lol. 20 wasn't my wall per se.. But it did hit me- I hurt my knee that run. You're doing great though! It's ok to hit the wall.. Makes you mentally tougher! Enjoy your taper!

    1. You think just like I do! I HAVE to get out of my negative head space sometimes! It's like they always say, your brain will give up long before your body will :-)

      I hope this makes me mentally tougher. I am ready to finish out these last few long ones and then just enjoy the races :-)