July 27, 2013 by Amy B
As some runners tend to do, I’d been obsessing checking the weather forecast for this morning, as Long Run Saturday is a challenge enough in itself, let alone with crappy weather to accompany it.
It wasn’t looking promising. The temps had been dropping, rain had been falling, and for the first time in a while, we didn’t have to run our fans or little window A/C unit.
Scott got out for his seven miles first. I wasn’t too worried about getting out early, as heat wasn’t going to be an issue. Since he would be out for about an hour and change, it gave me time to leisurely get ready to go: traditional waffle/almond butter breakfast, nuun, obsess over what I should wear.
I’ve had to find an alternative to carrying Nuun in the hydration belt since the carbonation makes them explode all over when I’m running. Not cool. I tried this Skratch hydration mix during the Copper Harbor Series and really liked it. It actually tastes like raspberries! Seems to agree with my gut, too. Not just a bonus – completely necessary.
I waffled on whether to carry a handheld bottle or wear the belt. The belt as of late seems to move up when I run, and I prefer it down on my hips. [Later I discovered it somehow rubbed the fabric on my new bum wrap in a weird way and kind of abraded it in a spot. Not pleased. Battle scar of long runs? Gah.
I started out with the above combination and as the weather seemed to get worse outside, I briefly considered going out like this:
When I did eventually get out the door, it was lightly misting and only a little windy. There was a bit of fog but not as thick as some of the mornings I’ve run in the last week. I set the virtual pacer for 10:30 min/miles and tried to find a decent pace. The first mile involved cutting through a field and over a creek while avoiding some deeply rutted muddy earth where they’ve put up a new grocery store; it used to be a nice scenic shortcut to the highway for us. So when my first lap was 10:26, it didn’t surprise me. In fact, I was totally fine with all the following miles staying in that vicinity.
Since I couldn’t find my earbuds and the shuffle was pretty much dead, I had to occupy my mind with other crap for the next two and a half hours. I thought of the running tips Julie had posted yesterday on her site (my cadence seems to be somewhere in the 170s by the way).
Miles 2-9 were all gravel road with a few rolling hills thrown in. I tried not to obsess over the Garmin display but noticed that my pace was sitting a little faster than what I’d initially planned. It felt comfortable so I decided to stay with it as long as I could.
Pace ranged from 9:34-10:02 on average.
At mile 9 I decided to stop for the second half of a gel and a bathroom stop before I hit the highway (best decision ever). Snapped this photo with my phone; the fog over the trees was kind of cool and peaceful.
At this point I got on the highway, which is the same stretch I ran in the half marathon last weekend. My destination was the beach, which is about two miles short of last weekend’s finish line. I’ve run this route enough times to know all the turns and uphills. In the past I dreaded this course, because at this point I always felt like complete shit.
This time? I felt decent. I wanted to take in a few chews but my stomach was starting to feel a little off. I considered stopping for a few antacids, an idea I got after reading this post by Sarah, Oiselle team runner, marketing director and model extraordinaire. (Sarah taped a baggie full of liquid antacid to the side of her water bottle during her marathon. Antacid during a run? Why the hell had I not thought of this before?)
Miles 10-12: 10:03, 10:00, 10:07. Consistent. I was happy to stay right where I was. Even if you slow down a half minute per mile, I thought to myself, it will only add on a few extra minutes of running at this point. And how gives a shit about two or three minutes on a training run?
My garmin beeped at mile 13 and I made a point to see where I was at the half marathon point. I was somewhere around 2:10, which was slower than my race last weekend, but I knew that would be the case. (2:10 was actually my goal time for last weekend, which I beat by 5 minutes.) You’ve only got two more miles to go, I thought. You know you’ve totally got this. At this point it’s completely psychological.
With about a half mile left to go I looked up and saw a black Prius driving toward me. As it went past I saw a little green Patagonia jacket in the backseat and knew it was Scott and the kids; I’ll admit it made me smile and gave me a little boost. Scott turned around and drove up alongside me. The kids got to wave to mom running on the road, which was a thrill for both of us. He said something to me, something I can’t remember anymore. “I’m tired,” I replied, and I was surprised at how tough it was to even verbalize anything at this point. I looked at the garmin and saw that I’d hit my 15 mile goal before my original destination of the beach. I paid more attention to that damn dial in the last quarter mile than I did for the preceding two and a half hours, running my last mile at a 9:37 pace.
I’d packed a bag for Scott to bring with him for me and have never been so happy to see a Picky Bar.
We drove to Scott’s office to pick up his phone and then the University rec center, where Scott whipped out his magical key ring so that I could get into the women’s locker room to take a shower. It pays to be married to the IT director sometimes.
We took a drive over to Walmart for some groceries (whose dumbass idea was it to walk around a megamart after a 15 mile run?) and headed home just in time for me to catch some of the Wordcamp SF live stream, specifically the State of the Word talk by Matt Mullenweg.
The juice? Beet, carrot, celery, orange, lemon and ginger. OMG. Awesome. Really hit the spot. I think I’ve finally found a beet combo I like.
So there you go. Longest run of the year and I survived. This was the highest mileage week I’ve had in a long time; I ran 37.5 miles. I know that’s a drop in the bucket for the hardcore runners out there, but damn. I felt every mile of it and am pretty happy I got in all the workouts. This time of year it gets to be a challenge to log the miles and not make excuses: weather, work, kids, etc. There’s always an excuse, right?
But I know if I’m going to put in a decent showing this fall in the Twin Cities, then I need to bust my ass now and do the work so I can trust the training in October. And you know what? I’m actually enjoying the runs, the time out on my own, the “me” time.
It also doesn’t hurt that I’m enjoying the new running duds I’ve acquired. Thanks, Oiselle, for the running boost!