Going Long

15 Aug

NOTE: I am working on an “I’m back, here’s what I’ve been up to!” post but I really wanted to put my thoughts about my run this weekend on “paper” before I forgot the details. So let’s pretend that that one comes after this one. Awesome? Awesome.

Marathon training has been … interesting. I feel like it is both Week 47 and Week 2 all at the same time. When I was studying, I was getting the runs in but I wasn’t really focused on them. I finished and that was it. All things considered, I only missed 2 long runs (the weekend before the bar & the weekend after). Certainly not ideal, but much better than I thought I would do.

I had done a couple of 10 milers and they had all felt pretty good. After the Half That Shall Not Be Named, I started to get a little concerned about hip pain. Running on concrete causes some pretty not awesome pain in my hips, particularly the right one. Most of my training runs have been/will be done on concrete. This is because of a combination of weird issues I have with certain trails around LA, a general lack of access to running paths and my laziness – I like to be able to run right from my apartment. A friend of mine has issues with her knees and she switched to a run/walk plan which she said really helped her. She suggested it might help with my hips.

Now. I have mixed feelings about this. I would love to one day run an entire marathon without walking. In fact, that was my original thought with Long Beach – that my goal would be to just run the whole thing, no matter how long it took. But my hips were hurting so much after my “long” runs, that I decided to try the run/walk plan. I run a mile, then walk for 45 sec. to 1 min. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s been pretty phenomenal. I’ve been finishing my runs with almost no pain in my hips and I don’t feel like I’m going to die at the end of every long run. I’ve only been using this plan for my long runs – anything less than 5 miles, I run the whole thing. Anything less than 10, I take my walk breaks every 2 miles. So far I’ve been really satisfied with it.

Yesterday, I had a very scary 15 miles on my schedule. I knew this would be the farthest (furthest? farthest? this is why I wasn’t an english major) I’d ever run. That right there made me exceptionally nervous. I’ve also been running a lot faster than I used to and, in the back of my head, I though about the idea of checking my half marathon time. I’ve never run a “good” half. My first I was super injured and my second Shall Not Be Named. But I’ve been running really well lately, and I was curious to see just where I was. So I had all of these issues running in the back of my head.

Spoiler Alert

There’s also a ton of planning that goes into running 15 miles. Did you know that? I didn’t. At least not at first. But as I was eating my carb-y delicious mashed potatoes on Friday night, it occurred to me that I might have some problems. I couldn’t find my “long run socks” (because yes, I have “long run socks”). On last week’s 10 miler, I noticed the beginning of some chafing at my sports bra line that I wanted to stop before it started this time. And, most importantly, I was worried about hydration. I have an awesome hand held that I’ve been using that’s been getting my through my 10 milers, but only just. I’m completely out of water by the end and I didn’t want to have to run my last 5 miles without water. Because I just run on city streets, there aren’t any water fountains.

Then, genius struck (I’m not just pretty, I’m humble too). I plotted out a route that hit my gym at mile 9.5. That way, I could refill my water bottle and regroup if I had to. See, genius! Sure, there were some super monster hills that I would have to tackle in the last 3 miles, but if I absolutely had to, I’d just walk up them.I headed to bed feeling really nervous about the whole thing.

When I woke up, I had 1/2 a bagel thin with peanut butter and 1/2 a cup of coffee. I grabbed my Garmin, Vaseline-d my sports bra line (TMI? maybe.), popped in my mp3 player and headed out. It was overcast and cool, always a good sign. My first 3 miles were part of my standard weekday route, so they were nice and comfortable. I hit the first hill between miles 3 and 4 and powered up it like a champ (see, humble). I stopped at mile 4 and had my first Gu – strawberry banana. In general, I really don’t care for strawberry banana as a “flavor” but my mom sent it to me in a care package and I wasn’t about to turn down free anything. It wasn’t awful and I couldn’t taste the banana at all (which is generally what I don’t care for).

I ended up having to go under 2 freeway underpasses. The first one was fine, the second was a little unnerving. I generally don’t have a fear of “bad neighborhoods” – growing up in one will do that to you. Still, there’s something about overpasses that make me a little nervous. These were definitely my fastest miles. I also encountered a ton of yard sales that basically took up the entire sidewalk, forcing me to run in the street. I was running on Venice Blvd, a pretty busy street, so this made me really uncomfortable. A couple of years ago I was hit by a car and ever since then I’ve been a little skittish. Note to self: start earlier or pick another route.

I took my second Gu a little late – the start of mile 9 because I had completely forgotten about it. I stopped the gym at mile 9.5ish and refilled my water bottle, then headed on my way home. Several interesting things happened in the last 5 miles. I had planned on taking another Gu at mile 12 but my stomach wasn’t loving me. I decided I’d rather just power through rather than try to force anything down. At the same time, my mp3 player died. I think it got wet from all of my exceptionally attractive sweat. Regardless, it appears to be officially deceased. Sadface. I definitely didn’t like the idea of running the last 3 miles without my mp3 player, but there wasn’t much I could do about it.

I also remembered to look down at my Garmin as I hit 13.1 and saw that I was just over 2:24. I was completely flabbergasted. That’s an almost 30 minute PR. I knew I was in much better shape, but that was an amazing feeling. Seeing that number gave me the burst I needed to power up my last hill and finish as strong as possible. Sure my last 5 were way slower than the first 10. Sure, I lost the chafing battle (no low cut shirts for me for a while). Sure I dealt with weird stomach issues for the rest of the day (I wasn’t hungry at all. weird). Didn’t matter. I was so proud of myself for what I had accomplished that it was all worth it. This feeling is why I run.

And that, dear friends, is the saga of my longest run ever. How was your weekend run?

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One Response to “Going Long”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Missing: Running Mojo « Gidget Goes Running - August 31, 2011

    […] seen here eating 15 miles for breakfast. If lost, please return to Gidget. […]

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