I really, really needed that.
If you’ve been along for the ride awhile, you may have heard me mention a time or a million that my stomach and I don’t get along. Also that it’s been a rough 10 months, stomach wise. That roughness carried over into my running and things slowed down. I was so gung-ho to set PR’s in 2014 and it just didn’t happen. Even though I finally accepted that and moved on, a part of me was still frustrated. Also with doctors but that’s another story.
While I have trained pretty consistently this year, I am still not where I was before my flare. Walk breaks have become a part of run, long or short, slow or fast. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with walking, heck I look forward to those breaks on most runs. But long runs stressed me out. I don’t know if I hid it well or not but I was beginning to dread long runs. I felt like I was moving so slow and that I walked too often but just couldn’t seem to pick it up.Beyond that I have a serious mental block when it comes to long runs past 10 miles. I love half marathons but double-digit slow runs by myself? Umm, not so much. I have done one 12 mile run outside of a race. One- and it took me 2.5 hours. Actually it might have been longer but I’ve blocked it out, I am pretty sure I walked the last 2 miles. So when I saw so many 12-16 milers on my training schedule, I had a mini freak out. And I haven’t run a single one. Once again I topped out at 10 for most of the runs. Which was noticeable in Wine Country when I hit a wall at 10. Did that make me go out and run 12 the next weekend? No. Then my doctor changed my diet pretty drastically and I missed 2 long runs in a row. Crap. I knew I could not miss another with SLO being so close.
While I am looking forward to my 5k race tomorrow, it is one that I know leaves me super sore. So sore that I knew banking on a 10-12 mile run with a fast finish on Sunday was probably foolish. Because work was a little crazy this week and I worked longer days on Monday and Tuesday and couldn’t leave the building on Wednesday and Friday, my boss said she was going to try and let me leave a little early on Thursday. This sparked an idea but I wasn’t fully committed. A small part of me thought I could move my long run to Thursday instead. My 5K race is not a PR race but more for fun, so I figured if I was a little tired for it that was fine. But I was still on the fence about if I even wanted to run that many miles after working all day. Or if I even could. I got off an hour early so I headed to the lake to run a few laps. My stomach was the crankiest it’s been since I started this new diet, but then I had cheated the day before. I also wasn’t dressed for a long run. I wasn’t wearing compression socks nor a 10+ mile sports bra. Yes, I have different sports bras I wear depending on the length of the run. If I did run long I was going to split it. 7-8 miles at the lake and then I was going to head to the river path for the remainder. My mother was thinking about meeting me for the second part. So, in other words, I wasn’t expecting much and anticipating another Slacker moment.
I warmed up with my usual slow first mile before picking it up. Miles 2 and 3 clocked in at 9:57 and 10:10. So not long run pace. I should have been aiming for 10:45-11:15. I went out too fast, there was no way I was maintaining. I was irritated with myself and doubting that I would even follow through with driving to the river path. Then my mother texted that she wasn’t going to make it. There went that motivation to follow through. Ok fine, I was just going to run until I was tired or my stomach rebelled, I figured 6 miles tops. Around mile 6, I noticed that I was still running. As in, I hadn’t taken a single walk break. Not one and I felt pretty good. Huh? I did stop for a bathroom break but decided to just keep running after that. Mile 7 and I was running. Mile 8 still running. Mile 9, more running. Still no walk breaks. I was starting to think I might actually pull this off. Miles 9, 10, and 11 all came in at 10:00 or under. Did you see that 11?!?! I cleared 10 miles on a long run!!!!!! I wanted to throw a party and celebrate but I was surrounded by strangers! I stopped my Garmin at 11 and walked the 3/4 of a mile back to my car.
Dudes, I ran the whole thing- no walking breaks!! Who am I? And 11 miles at that pace and not racing?! I know it’s not much by some standards but for me and the past year, I was stoked. It also reinforced that consistent training works and does pay off even if you don’t see it immediately. I was seriously beginning to doubt I could even hit double digits after the last few weeks. I was feeling rough and not confident in my running ability at all. I had chalked my last race up to being a fluke and was mentally preparing myself for a rough race in a few weeks. I didn’t know how badly I needed a long run- a good, long run. Until I pulled it off. 🙂 Bring it on SLO!
Lapping the lake so many times, I passed a few people multiple times. I was wearing a tank that says “I hate running” and that was getting a few comments. 🙂 I passed one pair of older ladies multiple times. They said something to me once but I didn’t quite catch it. Another 2 times past them and they stopped me. One asked how many I was doing because I had to be near 20. I wish! I said that I was aiming for 11 miles and only had 3/4 of a mile to go. I passed them again on the cool down walk and they said good job. 🙂
I still want to do a little happy dance when I think about yesterday’s run. Training works, who knew? I think I need to get this McMillan plan laminated for future use. Haha. Now I should probably get some sleep, I have a mountain to run up in the morning. 🙂
How do you feel about long runs?
Who is racing this weekend?
What was your last great run?