I’m one of those weird people who loves a good “run” story. Give it to me play by play and I won’t be the slightest bit bored. Ok, that’s not totally true….maybe a little bored, especially if you start at mile one and I know you went 18…then I might get a little nervous. But I can relate to the really bad runs and also the really good ones, and it’s great to know I’m not alone in the “runner’s analysis” that tends to happen after both. On Saturday I had a really good run, and so I’m going to gloat a little…mostly because they have been so lacking in my marathon training up to this point.
It stared with my first step on my first mile…no I’m just kidding, I won’t really start there. To tell you the truth I was dreading the 20 miler. I began my training for the Marine Corps Marathon thinking I wasn’t going to go over 16-18 miles for my longest run. I realized pretty quickly, however, that I just wasn’t getting in enough miles during the week (I would even take the junk miles). My hamstring issue is preventing me from doing any kind of hill workouts and is also limiting speed sessions. I know it’s got to come from somewhere, so I figured I needed to add on a few longer runs. I really wasn’t up for it and on Friday night I went to bed hoping maybe it would just rain (but then I would have to dread it next weekend)…
I met my friend Susan at the trail head at 6 am and we joined a group of about 60 runners who were taking off at the same time, many of whom were wearing headlamps…so we could actually see the ground in the almost pitch dark dawn hour. The trail runs 5.8 miles one way, and is fairly flat with mostly soft surface, so it’s a great place to get a long run in. We stayed with the group for few miles, even though we thought it was strange how few people were actually talking. It seemed a little like a somber tour group or something (we saw them a little later and they were all chatting so I’m assuming it was the early hour). They turned around at about three miles, and we kept going to four where we made the turnaround to head back and start the trail again.
My stomach has been recently bugging me on the longer runs so I was feeling a little tentative…another reason a like the trail…potty breaks at 2 and 5 miles. But my tummy held tough and by the time we had 10 miles down, I was feeling pretty good. That is usually the point in a long run when I decide whether its a good run or not. I usually hit my stride (or not) by then, and psychologically I know that I’m at least halfway there. It’s also the point when I begin to really notice my “issues”…hamstring, IT band, foot pain…or all three. But on Saturday, none of them were really talking to me (amazing). I brought along some EFS liquid shot and started to drink it around mile 12. I also had water and Propel along in my water belt. At mile 14 we added some FF (fast finish) miles and we ran two in a row – the first one we did in 7:26 and the second in 7:25. We took a 1/4 mile recovery and ran one and a 1/2 more (7:19 and 7:20 pace). It hurt… a lot, but we encouraged each other – and I let out my pain yelp (a sort of high pitched scream that comes from somewhere deep inside and of which I seem to have no control).
We had less than three miles left after that to finish our run – there is a bathroom at that point on the trail, so we filled up our water bottles and continued onward. A friendly runner joined us for our last few cool-down miles. He recently moved to Charlotte from Louisiana and was relishing in the 60 degree temperatures…so we let him do the talking while we slowed it down. By the time we finished, I was feeling tired and tight but very relieved to be done. All in all, a great peak-mile run for me! According to Susan’s Garmin, we averaged 8:30 minutes per mile. I’m happy with that. Between the cooler temperatures, a cooperating tummy, and the good company, I have to say, in full analysis, this one rocked!
How about you? Was it a good weekend run/workout…or not so much? I apologize for gloating if it wasn’t so good for you.