Run from Hell North long run

I haven’t written much about my training. I’ve been doing it and there are good days and not so good days especially in this summer heat. I find that Tuesdays typically are OK, and Thursdays are harder. I’ve not really gotten a feeling for the Saturday long runs. I’ve done them and survived. For all the runs I’m worried that I’m too slow (about 10:00 min/mile pace whereas I need to be 9:00 pace for CIM). But coach tells me that we’re to run easy, which is what I’m doing. So I think I’m following the ‘program’. Naturally only time will tell.

So here are some thoughts about today’s long run. In general it wasn’t pretty. The weather was warm (mid 70s degrees F), but not awful. I’ve been building up my mileage for the past 7 weeks and finally got to the peak of 60 miles this week. The culmination was an 18 mile long run called “Run from Hell North”. I’ve run this route before so I knew what I was getting into. It indeed is hell. However, it still took me by surprise, that is, it beat me down, way down, beyond what I expected, which is not good.

The run starts at Northcross Mall or what is left of it since it’s under construction with a Walmart being built there. The run is hill after hill after hill with two major ones. The first is near the beginning up Far West gradually, but the second is midway and is a killer straight up Ladera Norte. I ran the first, but then the next series of intermediate hills before the second one sapped my strength. Although we were told by Ruth that we should run all the hills I just couldn’t and walked more than I planned. Ones I had never walked before. What’s up with that? So when I got to Ladera Norte I just started walking. I remember past runs having got almost to the top before walking. Not this time. I walked almost immediately. Doing this was not good for my mental conditioning. From then on I would stop at every water stop as an oasis from running. I was no longer just walking the hills I was walking on the flats too. Finally near the end I just couldn’t run. Yet for the last half mile I shuffled along and I arrived back at the mall a beaten man. It took me 3 hours and 32 minutes to run 18.4 miles (11:30 pace). Awful, just awful. Making my goal of requalifying for Boston at CIM an impossibility.

And then when I arrived home my Garmin 110 GPS reset itself when I attached it to the USB and I lost all the data. Another insult to my weakened mental state. Yet maybe that was for the best, because I couldn’t see the miserable effort broken out mile by mile.

So why was this run so bad. I have no clue. I was relatively well rested. I was fueled with breakfast before, and CarboPro and Clif Shots during. The Clif Shots was Mocha with caffeine and I had it at mile 14 but I never felt the pick up. It might be the little extra food I ate yesterday night. It might also be the temperature since I was a dripping sweat-bag after it but that’s nothing new. It might be just the mileage build-up taking its toll since this is the longest we’ve run so far. I just don’t know. All I can do it keep up the training and try to get my head around the mental anguish that occurs when things like this happens, which causes me to question: why, oh why, am I doing this?


  1. Googled run from hell north and found your blog. Do not let today get you down. I ran 20 today with Rogue this AM on the same course. This is my third year doing it and I finally made it up Ladera Norte without walking today/this time for the first time. My fitness level right now is the best it’s ever been and today was still mind-blowingly tough. Last year, this run pretty much destroyed me (for the second time) and I had a great Marathon in October (faster than goal). The first year I did it, it brought me to me knees and I still had a good marathon. It’s designed to break you. You now have a couple of months to build up to race. Do not worry about pace on this run. Karen Smith (who designed the course) told me today to think of it like lifting weights. It’s different than your other long runs. You will be stronger in the weeks and months ahead because you finished the run. That’s all that matters. I have been where you are mentally with this run, but you’re best served by getting rid of all negative thoughts, basking in the glow of a job well done, and picking up with your training tomorrow. All of your goals are still obtainable. Fellow Rogue.

    • Thanks Kent for the good words. Like you I’ve also come out of this black hole of today with a decent marathon later. Part of writing it down was to get it out myself and not have it rumbling around in my tiny brain for any longer than necessary. Best wishes on your own goals, and thanks again for the comment.

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