Last week was my drop-back week so I had a 13-mile run to do on Friday. It was also day three of the Government Shutdown. This meant that National Park trails such as the trail around Teddy Roosevelt Island (which I wanted to run) and the Capital Crescent Trail with Fletcher’s Boathouse were both closed. The National Mall is supposed to be closed but it’s impossible to enforce that closure. So I didn’t really have a route mapped out. I thought I’d run down the National Mall, across the Memorial Bridge to Arlington National Cemetery and back to the Mall, around Jefferson, back to the Mall and then home. I wasn’t sure how long that would be but figured it would be pretty close to 13.
The last few long runs I’ve run with Mike who has been our route planner as well as pacer. I tell us when we need to turn around. One thing about our Garmins is that you can’t view the pace and the distance on the same screen. It’s not a major inconvenience but it’s easier with Mike being in charge of the pace! I realized when I was in mile 1 that I should have turned on the Virtual Pacer but you have to do that before you start running. Oh well. I could stay in the range. The 6-mile runs I ran last week, I just ran and didn’t pay attention to pace. It’s hard making yourself go slower than you’re used to running.
It was actually a pretty hot and humid morning with temps expected to reach 88 by the afternoon! There were many crews out on the Mall erecting more fences and barriers. The trash cans were also overflowing! However, since then, the DC Mayor has said DC crews will empty the garbages. Everything was going fine but I struggled to get my pace close to 9 min/mile. Coming back across the Memorial Bridge, heading over to Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin and around mile 6, I saw extreme barriers that I couldn’t even get around, preventing me from running the trail around the Tidal Basin. What now? I decided to try Potomac Park even though I wasn’t sure of that mileage. Closed too. Ok bad to the Mall. I did a lap around the Lincoln Memorial and then an additional lap around the Reflecting Pool. Not very exciting. I stopped for an Accel Gel and a water refill (forgot to stop my watch – mile 8). Back at the Capitol, I needed more mileage so ran (SLOWLY) up Capitol Hill, down Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a good change of pace to run by the restaurants and shops of Capitol Hill.
I ran out of water around mile 10 and it was feeling pretty hot out. I was ready to get home. Only 3 more miles. I slowed down significantly. Mike suggested later that I could have run into one of the little cafes or restaurants and asked for water or a water bottle fill. I wish I’d thought of that! For the last mile, I basically just kept thinking about how thirsty I was and how I couldn’t wait for a nuun water at home.
Strangely, I guessed the mileage correctly and got to our door at 13.02 miles! Perfect! It was an okay run. I felt fine and didn’t have any stomach problems. It just wasn’t as relaxing as usual because I was constantly thinking about my pace and my route. I couldn’t just run straight on a trail and zone out. Mike and I will have to spend time ahead of time working on a route for our 19-mile run this coming Saturday. Also, I didn’t use the bathroom on this run because I don’t want to get my body in a habit of stopping for the restroom. I’ve been stopping at Fletcher’s Boathouse during our long runs just because the bathroom is there.
It’s funny how in just a few weeks a 13 mile run can seem like no big deal. Just a few weeks ago, I was celebrating running 7 miles then 10 miles then the half marathon. Running long distance, I’ve found, is so much about getting your mind relaxed and into the run. In just a few weeks, I have come so far. I can’t wait until Richmond!