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The side stitches strike back

Today was the day on my schedule to do 11 miles. This distance was scary for me. It was 2 miles farther than I’ve ever run at one time. I wasn’t looking forward to this yesterday, especially after I stayed out late drinking last night. 11 miles dehydrated and with a hangover cannot be a good thing.

I woke up ridiculously early considering how late I was up and after a few unsuccessful attempts to go back to sleep, I finally got up. Surprisingly I didn’t feel too bad and I started taking on more water to make sure I was hydrated for my run. Looking at the time and temperature I figured I’d go ahead and hit the greenway around 11:00 AM. I was hoping to avoid the crowds by getting there when the temperature was still below 60°F.

I got to to the greenway at about 10:45 and parked outside the gates even though I could have parked inside the gates. The circus of people I had been expecting had not yet arrived, awesome! I put on my gear and did my normal thing and started out running at a very slow pace, probably around 12:45 or so. At mile one I started feeling the side stitch pain coming on in my right side. I concentrated on my breathing, but the pain got worse until I slowed to a walk at mile 1.5. I walked for about half a mile and then started running again at a faster pace and despite the pain. The faster pace seemed to help because the pain slowly started to subside. At miles 3.5 and 5.5 I also slowed and walked for a half mile, just to try to conserve my energy and not completely crash before the end.

From mile 3.5 to about mile 7.5 I did a gerbil run around a loop in the park, running it 4 times and then headed back the way I came. I skipped the walking at 7.5, but at around mile 8 the side pain started to creep back and I was getting pretty winded, so I slowed again to walk a half mile.

At mile 9.5 the pain came again, stronger this time and I was going pretty slow anyway because my legs were starting to hurt too. At 9.75 I slowed down to walk again and walked for about a quarter mile. I decided I was going to run the last mile come hell or high water. So I ran from mile 10 to the finish at mile 11. I started out slow, but the pain in my side urged me faster. It seemed the faster I went, the less the pain bothered me, so I kept up a pretty good pace that I’d estimate in the 11:30 range for that whole last mile.

When I was done I had a time of 2:16:17 at a 12:21 pace. That’s right on target for my stretch goal of finishing the 1/2 marathon in 2:45:00, and more than adequate to finish at my goal of less than 3 hours.

I learned a couple of things. First, I MUST find some way to hydrate myself during my 13 mile training run in two weeks. I don’t think I was dangerously dehydrated, but I do think if I had been sipping some water or a sports drink, I might not have had as many problems after mile 8. When I dried out in the car, there was a fine white coating of salt over my entire body.

I also learned that I need to come up with some walking interval plan for my 13 mile run. I don’t think I’ll be able to do the whole thing running, so I’ve got to get a plan and stick to it. I’m thinking that I should run 1.75 at a faster pace and walk 0.25 to recover. I’ll be experimenting with that for the next few weeks. I might also go get a checkup with the doctor and see if we can get to the bottom of this side stitch issue.