MCM 2019/T-Minus 41: Uphill

Mile 16, the 6.0 mile marker on the Carl Henn Millennium Trail, second lap of two.

It was at this juncture that I realized that I was running more uphills now than I ever would at the Marine Corps Marathon. If you get a chance to look at an elevation chart for that course, it is just sick. Now, imagine doing TWO laps of that.

At that juncture, my split times had descended in to the 15 minute range; for me, that’s when the run slows into a light jog. That would’ve translated into me making it back to the Thomas Farm Community Center (start/finish line location of the trail) somewhere about 11:00 a.m., and I wasn’t about to spend all morning powerwalking/jogging for another 3~6 miles (goal was 22 miles) to “just be out there” or to “just keep moving.” My excuse this Sunday morning: the law of diminishing returns. When you’re trying to maintain a 12:00 ~12:30 pace on a course with so many rolling hills and steep and arching inclines, it kind of does you no good if your climbs bust you out to where you can’t get any momentum on the downhills and whatever  flats may be left on the course.

At the corner of Wooton Parkway and Henslowe Drive, I shut it down and summoned an Uber. As I waited for my ride back to the hotel, I started reflecting on all the training I had done to this point. Conditioning in February and March. Back on the road in April. Starting my marathon training back in May, attempting to work and intermediate training course which I would officially abandon two months later. A DNF back in June. Missing half of my Wednesday runs since July.

At some point last week, I felt like I was just working this like a job, instead of seeing this like an annual challenge. The last couple of weeks I had hit a wall near the end, just barely finishing standing up. The two laps of the Millennium Trail were only two miles longer than last week’s NAS Pax Grand Tour, but man…all these hills.

This is my fourth time running the Millennium Trail. The first time I ran it, it took 45 minutes trying to find my way to the Community Center (and then the actual course, and then the actual start finish line). I ended up running the course in reverse, which is much harder. By 10:30 that morning, I was gassed and dehydrated, and I threw in the towel at mile 17, about three miles from the Community Center. Oh, and I had no Uber app and the bus lines didn’t run to the Center. Another fun Sunday hike.

I did finish the Millennium Trail two lapper the last two times I did it, so I may have to re-visit my nots to find out what I did right and wrong today. In the meantime, I am sitting here fresh off a dip in the whirlpool and my first buffet breakfast in weeks…wondering if I had missed an opportunity to get something mental or physical out of finishing the run.

In the meantime, I am making a few changes to the running schedule, based on my ruminations after today’s DNF:

  1. Sleeping in thru Wednesday, then intervals and cycle on Thursday, then 3,4, and 8 over Friday thru Sunday. Either a Sheetz run or Great Mills 8.
  2. Official half marathon, group long run Smith Chesapeake Bat Runners Club or DC Runners, or DC Runners’ 20 miler, weekend of September 28-29.

One last thing: On a lot of my runs, I am seeing more hills on them that I would ever actually see on the MCM. mentally going through the actual MCM elevation chart, the steepest hill is the bridge at the 2.5 mile mark, then one more upslope around the Mile 8 mark. I keep trying to save my energy for the later two-thirds of the run, only to run into rolling hills near the end and suddenly having no get up and go to finish. It is somewhat frustrating try and implement that strategy when I have can’t really “open it up” like I want to, when I want to.

Song of the Day: One song, two versions of “Running Up That Hill”

Kate Bush original: The video from her TV appearance wasn’t available, and the “official” video I thought was “yeah…no.” From her 1985 album Hounds of Love, the original title of  the track was “A Deal With God,” but there label’s marketing crybabies at EMI made there change it. Her best and only chart-topping success to date. From Kate:

“I was trying to say that, really, a man and a woman can’t understand each other because we are a man and a woman. And if we could actually swap each other’s roles, if we could actually be in each other’s place for a while, I think we’d both be very surprised! [Laughs] And I think it would lead to a greater understanding. And really the only way I could think it could be done was either… you know, I thought a deal with the devil, you know. And I thought, ‘well, no, why not a deal with God!’ You know, because in a way it’s so much more powerful the whole idea of asking God to make a deal with you. You see, for me it is still called “Deal With God”, that was its title. But we were told that if we kept this title that it would not be played in any of the religious countries, Italy wouldn’t play it, France wouldn’t play it, and Australia wouldn’t play it! Ireland wouldn’t play it, and that generally we might get it blacked purely because it had God in the title. (HT: Genius)

Placebo cover: This slower, piano-based track reflects my mood during the back half of that second lap…after seeing OMFG yet another uphill? and my epiphany about climbing more now than I ever will at the MCM. Placebo took a different approach, focusing on the damage suffered in the emotional exchange, comparing it to a bullet wound. Why did Placebo cover the song this way?

“I grew up listening to that song, and I always thought it was an amazing song, but I thought the tempo was too fast. It didn’t give enough space for the real emotion to shine through. When we decided to cover it, I really, really wanted to slow it down so that [there was enough space to express] what was really going on — the fear and the abandon. (lead vocalist Brian Molko.)”

Kate Bush did like the cover, and so did the producers of at least three TV shows (Bones, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and The OC) who used the song in selected episodes.

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