Twenty, The Hard Way

running black toenails

Ran 20 miles on Sunday as part of the build up to the Quebec City Marathon. Did it on too much beer and too little sleep the night before. It was much warmer than it seemed. High relative humidity. So the sweat was pouring off of me pretty much right away. I was dehydrated to begin.  The high relative humidity wasn’t helping.

At least it was overcast. Otherwise I would have passed out in the gutter. Because I wasn’t running with a bottle. So I needed to run relays between the playgrounds and their water fountains so I could at least try to replace some of what I was losing.  I was listening to a long playlist.  Wilco. James Brown. Sondre Lerche. Kanye West. She & Him. Jake Bug. Cat Stevens. Yo La Tengo. The Strokes. Wild Child.  It went on and on.

I felt ragged at the two hour mark. With another 8 km to go I was doing mental math to calculate the balance of time according to the pace testified by my GPS.

But my brain wasn’t up to the task.

I was running out of road. I started laying down the last few miles like intestines, my route curling and folding back in itself. The sun had come out and it added to the weigh of exhaustion I was carrying. My heart rate was starting to creep up. If I ran faster I would be done sooner. If I ran faster I would suffer more, too.  Too fast and I might end up in that gutter.

I didn’t want to imagine this point in the actual marathon. The mere thought of it crushed me.  I started to think about that large Nalgene filled with Cytomax at home, in the fridge.  Ice cold.  Waiting for me.  Thinking about it made me more thirsty.  My muscles were starting to feel effort.  But they were holding up quite well.  My hips felts solid.  No tight spots. No cramping. But tired. So tired.  The kind of tired that seems into the bones of your body.  Tired enough to lay down in that gutter.

But I pushed through.  I always seem to do so. And I finished it.  There are a few more long ones like this to go.  Hopefully not as tough as this. Hopefully they get easier at some point. Then the marathon…


  • 32.5km (20.2 miles)
  • 2 hours 38 minutes
  • Pace 4:51 /km (7:51/mile)
  • 1721 calories (2 Cliff Shots consumed)

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