This week didn’t start off so great, but it finished exactly where I needed to be. Tuesday’s run was short and rough. I had a hard time breathing from the humidity and felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. Still a little nervous about running two days in a row, I moved my tempo run to Thursday and ran the Twin Sizzler 5k. I’ll post more on the race later this week, but it was quite humid by 7:30 and made for an interesting race.
I had hopes of running with MCRR on Friday, but with a lack of sleep, I knew I needed to let myself get some rest. With a busy weekend and even more lack of sleep, I pushed my long run to Sunday morning. I knew that I had 14 on the schedule, but decided I’d be satisfied with 12 because I only hit 10 in my last long run. Last year I made the mistake of doing the same route for all my long runs, this year I wanted to mix things up so I set out for some back roads hoping to find some peace in the country. I also didn’t want to have a repeat of the dehydration issue so I set up a game plan of staying hydrated and full of energy.
- Drink water at every mile marker
- Take a few sport beans every 4 miles
- Take Gu around mile 6
- Take salt tabs once every hour
I started out easy and kept my pace around 10:15-10:30. It felt slow, but I knew I’d need the energy later on as the miles went on. It wasn’t too humid yet, and the sun kept hiding behind clouds about every other mile, not bad for an 8am run. I had some rolling hills, but was enjoying my time out on the back roads. I also knew I had a huge hill coming up, so I tried to relax as much as I could.
I really do enjoy moments like this, with no cars, no other people, and just the pure beauty of the land.
About a mile later I had found my “heartbreak” hill. From 963 ft to 1037 ft in less than a quarter of a mile, followed by an additional 50 foot elevation gradual change over the next half mile. It may not sound like monster, but my legs were hurting pretty bad when I got to the top. Fortunately I felt strong and never once thought about giving up on that hill. I continued on my way and started to have some heavy chest pains. I was at a point in my run where I could turn and go further from home, or I could make a slight change and stay within two miles of home. I decided to play it safe and stay closer to home. I quickly had to crunch some numbers and create a new route that would still get me over double digits without doing the same loop over and over. The pains went away and decided it was probably from the heat and my body was caught off guard by the hill.
I eventually figured out a plan and was getting close to 9 miles when I could feel my body starting to get sore. I was close enough to home that I could stop, refill my water bottle, stretch and head out for the remaining miles. And then I had my first incident with a car. Classic case of driver looks right at me, stops for a moment, and continues a right on red while I’m in the middle of her car. Luckily I had my eyes on her and moved out of the way at the last minute. *Drivers, please, please be cautious of runners, walkers, cyclists when turning right on red.
I made it home in once piece, but I could feel my hips and legs getting tight. I spent some time debating if I should continue my run or save the rest for later tonight. I only had 3-5 miles left, which at the point wasn’t much, but felt like it would have taken forever. After stretching, re-hydrating, snacking and mapping out what would be next, I headed to the lake for some softer ground. With an out and back on crushed gravel and grass, my legs felt so much better. By mile 12 I was feeling the pain and ready to get back home. After doing a few loops in my development I approached my front door with 14 miles for the day, my longest run since last October. It was tough, but I felt strong, and finally felt like I was really training for a marathon again.
Tuesday: 2 Miles
Thursday: Twin Sizzler 5k
Sunday: 14 Miles
Total Miles: 19 Miles
This week had it’s ups and downs, but I survived. I’ve got another long run this weekend, and I’m actually looking forward to it. I also have another tempo run that I may turn into hill repeats. Because hills, actually aren’t that bad!
What I learned:
- Long runs are all about pacing. In the beginning I always feel slow, but the pace will eventually work itself out in the last miles.
- Staying hydrated is key. I felt so much better using salt tabs this week.
- Hills make or break a run. When you feel strong on the hills, you feel stronger about your run.
- Always be cautious of your surroundings. Drivers, animals, pedestrians or cyclist may be in their own zone and not see you. When you lose touch of everything outside you’re run, that’s when you get hurt.
How was your holiday weekend? Have you ever had an incidents with cars while running?