I was hoping that the successful half marathon the week before had eliminated my pre-run jitters that have shown up since my injuries. Not really. I guess it’ll just take time. So I was a little nervous for the 15 mile run. I had initially planned to drop back to 10 miles this week but I really need to get used to running longer distances. Since I’m not running the required T,W,Th runs with the Hal Higdon plan (and let’s be honest, I’m really not following any plan at this point), I think I can push the long runs and up the mileage each week. Even if I ran 15 miles, I’d still just be upping my mileage a little over 10% from the week before, which is the recommended increase.
So 15. Saturday was a gorgeous morning in DC – overcast and mid/upper 60s when we started out. Mike wanted to run to Georgetown but since we’d have to run by the spot where I got injured (twice), I suggested we take an alternate route rather than the Mall route. I’m not mentally ready to revisit my injury spot. Ok maybe I’m being a little dramatic but I’d prefer another route if it’s possible. So we ran down M Street through SW DC, across the bridge to the Mt Vernon Trail, over the Key Bridge to Georgetown, up the Capital Crescent Trail to the Boathouse and back.
The first few miles were a little tricky to mentally get into the run. I’d imagine my calf feeling weird and remind myself of how much time has passed since the injury and remind myself of my half marathon accomplishment the week before. I’m getting pretty good at distracting myself. It was great to be running with so many other runners (looked like marathon training runners); it almost felt like we could be in a race with the number of people! It was also so nice running with Mike again! It was our first long run together in a very long time (I have a new definition of long run after Saturday!). Mike was in charge of pace – I had no idea what our pace was; I never asked him – I just wanted to run at a comfortable pace and that’s what we did. I kept my Garmin on the time and mileage display.
– Conquered some serious hills for the first time since June
– Ran into 2 friends (one biking, one running)
– Pacers Running Stores had set up a tent with free water refills, Nuun, Larabars and portapotties for any runners!
– Water refill and bathrooms at Fletchers Boathouse
– Zero stomach issues during or after
It was really nice running along the Capital Crescent Trail, an area I had never been. It was a little boring in the woods with just glimpses of the Potomac River on one side, but there were a lot of people out running. It’s amazing how you can get energized just being around other people running.
I had a vanilla accel gel at mile 6.5 and about 3/4 of one at mile 12. I really didn’t feel hungry at mile 12 but felt my energy waning. I got a cramp almost immediately and drank some more water but wanted to save some since we had passed our last water refill spot. As I neared my 13.1 mile limit, I felt like I was mentally nearing my limit as well. But then it was so exciting to see my watch go to 1:55 and beyond (the longest amount of time I’ve ever run) and go beyond 13.1 miles. I felt like I crossed a threshold; I was marathon training! I started to lag behind Mike and would catch up to him at stoplights during the last couple of miles. I was sure my pace had dropped dramatically; my legs felt so heavy and my knees felt sore. But I didn’t want to obsess about my pace so I didn’t change my Garmin. I hit the 15 mile mark before getting back home and had planned to do a nice cooldown walk for the last half mile home. But then something happened. I kept running. I realized it wasn’t that hard to keep going; my legs just kept moving. I could surpass 15 miles! HUGE accomplishment. I am now in marathon training (finally). I know I can run it now, as long as I don’t get hurt again.
Splits: (8:53, 9:07, 9:08, 9:15, 9:25, 9:29, 9:07, 8:57, 9:02, 9:06, 9:01, 9:02, 9:09, 9:05, 9:13, 5:05)
I was shocked (in a good way) to see the splits and see how fast we ran. I’ve made a lot of progress in just a few weeks. It helped immensely to run with Mike! I’m glad that pace felt comfortable and sustainable.
I went to the gym in our building, refilled my water bottle with COLD water, stretched a little and then just laid down in corpse pose until Mike got back from the extra 1.5 miles. It felt amazing just to lay down and be really still. Don’t worry – I stretched a lot later on and put on my CEP compression socks for recovery after I showered (left them on until the next morning).
And this is how we refueled:
I recently got the nuun all day hydration. I had forgotten nuun on the run and was so glad to have run by Pacers offering free nuun! I’m not a big fan of Gatorade – nuun has just enough subtle flavor and is not overly sweet. So I had the all day hydration nuun after the run to make up for the lack of nuun during the run.