Fail Forward running

26 mi. I had the plan all set. I’ll run 32 miles today as a long practice for TNF Endurance Challenge. I got a drink with EFS and Carbo Pro ready to leave in my car. John made 2 almond butter and jelly sandwiches the night before. I had the Garmin charged and laid out. Clothes ready. This was perfect.

Then I goofed up just about every piece of the plan.

I woke up on time, dressed and left a few minutes late. I noticed once I drove a half mile from home that I had forgotten the Garmin watch. Not a big miss, I knew the route that would get me all the miles I wanted. I had the sandwiches and drinks in the car – plan being I’d run 16 miles then visit my car to fuel up. I arrived about 4 minutes late, parked in the TRS lot and started running south. I had a hand/wrist water bottle filled, knowing there’s a fountain at my 8mi turnaround point. I also had a flashing light, visor clip light and 10k pack for my phone and key clicker. It was still or a slight breeze from the southeast, but most of that got swallowed up by the buildings or trees. My first breeze was past JD MacArthur park heading south. That’s about 5 miles into the run. I was sweaty and it was all over my face. I had the new photochromatic Oakleys on, so no breeze was in my eyes or on my head due to a visor. This was a hot morning to run! I ran without the clip light once near the Singer Island condos, the street is beautifully lit and repaved. I had to find a bathroom, so instead of circling the Ocean Mall where the bathrooms were closed, I ran to Phil Foster park. Those were open, while in there I saw it was 4:45am, I had spent too much time getting there. Now I couldn’t get back to PGA Blvd in time to meet any of the early 6 milers, which meant I wouldn’t be at the store on time for the 6am group run. John was supposed to do the run today, Dave Capparelli and Austin, too. I guess I could have ran a quicker pace and meet them, but ill advised if I would be halfway having already sped up to rush back. I sent a text to JOhn explaining I’d be a little late, but first I sent it to sleeping Megan. She was in a hotel preparing for her first marathon in NC. I ran back along US-1 and missed the store group by 4-5 minutes. I dropped off my handheld water bottle, glasses and 10k pouch. And I forgot, in the rush to catch up to everyone, to drink the EFS/Carbopro and eat the delicious sandwiches! So I’m now in a long run on the “Osama” plan. That’s what I call the minimalist approach to nutrition while on the run, similar to Bin Laden’s cave-dwelling strategy while “on the run” from US forces. Live like a pauper, eat light, etc. Not what I had planned, but definitely where I was headed now. I ran up A1-A thinking I could catch most people by the turquoise rooves water stop. Well, I found some people there, but not John or Dave. I kept heading north – passing a few people, getting water to avoid dehydrating, because it was classic August hot and humid. I passed Carlin Park and didn’t see my group, even wit the wrap around view on the curve. I saw Adam Schiff and Dave Stone leading the run – they were heading back already. Then Erica and other – then after entering the park, I saw John. He was running alone, in with a respectable group, doing very well! Good for him, waking up, driving down and doing the run solo. Dave never showed up, Austin turned back to complete 5 miles, he was solo most of his run. When we passed each other, I said,”There’s little chance I’ll catch you today!” knowing how depleted I was going to be in the 22-26 mile range, I set things up such that he would continue and not feel like he had to wait for me. I stopped only for water at the Inlet and headed south. I kept passing and being passed by a lady in a blue top and big full-brimmed hat. I spoke with her once, she said she was training for Palm Beach Marathon, she had done the half a few times and had a coach giving her help. Neat to hear!

It was getting warmer and I definitely felt the effects of the sunlight and no food. I stopped frequently for water. I felt my footbeds on both sides sore from impact. Things were breaking down now, it was going to be work to get back and finish. The stretch between the pier and Loggerhead park seeemd longer than usual, being that I hardly ever remember that boring road. I made it around the Donald Ross corner, said, “Hi” to Paul Reback who was finishing up his run, too, and walked the parking lot to the store. Joh was waiting there, he did really well! We had some drinks, talked for a few minutes, then drove home.

In the course of training for any of the long distance runs I’ve participated in, I have employed this low-nutrient training. Usually I “plan” this goofy effort, I don’t tease myself and bring the food and drinks but not use them. I think an important part of training is tossing in the flexibility of what to do when things go wrong. How to react, what the switch from the well-rehearsed plan might be like. That’s what today was. Failing forward and how to deal with it.

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