Slow and Steady Wins the Race

A Tale of Two Long Runs

on September 17, 2010

It has been a while since I have posted about my progress on my long runs.  It actually feels a lot like lack of progress, but that is the negativity trying to come through.  I did an 18 mile run on 8/28 and this past Saturday I was shooting for 20 miles.  I really wanted to hit that 20 mile mark.

Let’s go back to 18 miles on August 28th.  My training plan had 20 miles written on it.  I had big plans to get those 20 done before we headed off to our end of summer beach trip the following weekend.  I made some mistakes with this run.  Some before and some during.

My husband had to work that Saturday (who am I kidding, he works every Saturday, poor guy).  I hit snooze on my alarm way too many times and by the time I got out of bed and ready to go I was way off on my start time.  That put me in the “I feel rushed” state of mind.  Never a good state to be in when you have a large number of miles to run.  It’s best to be carefree and relaxed or I end up being a tense mess.

Oh yes, it was messy.

You would think I would know this by now, but I made the classic mistake of not checking my electronics the night before to make sure they were charged.  Thankfully it wasn’t my watch that needed to be charged (I saved that one for another run).  I turned on my iPod and had the tiniest sliver of a red battery icon.  Yeah.  Awesome.  20 miles planned with NO DISTRACTION.  Yippee.

The first 10 miles went very well.  I was feeling good.  I wasn’t even missing my music.  During this 10 miles though, I relied too heavily on the breakfast that I ate for fuel instead of sticking to my normal fueling plan of every 45 minutes to an hour even if I wasn’t feeling like I needed it.  This would totally come back to haunt me later on.  With running it is better for me to fuel even if I don’t feel like I need it.  Once I start down the slippery slope of feeling tired and out of energy it is extremely difficult to recover.  I had a banana at 10 miles when I stopped at my car for more water, but it didn’t carry me very far.

In total on this run I had one pack of sports beans, a banana and 2 Gu Chomps.  This is not nearly enough for me and I didn’t realize I had eaten so little until the end.  I had Gatorade too, but I cut it with a lot of water.

At mile 12 my legs were starting to hurt.  It was minimal pain, but once it starts I know that it isn’t long before the pain increases and it hurts more to walk that it does to run.  I was also going much slower on this run than I normally do, so the time pressure was starting to get to me.  I felt like I needed to hurry up and finish so I could get home and my husband could go to work.  This is completely self-inflicted time pressure.  I don’t know why I do it to myself.

At mile 16, I felt like this:

This is what near death looks like

I was going extremely slow at this point.  I think I was averaging 15 minute miles.  I was walking through a lot of running intervals.  My feet just didn’t want to move anymore.  I changed my mileage plan from 20 to 18.

I finished the 18 in 4:14:00 with an average pace of 14:06 per mile.

This past Saturday, September 11th was going to be the day that I hit my 20.  Once again, Jack had to work, but told me to get my run in and not worry about time.  I tried really hard to not put time pressure on myself.  Tried is the operative word here.

Remember, that electronics mistake that I made in the previous long run.  I didn’t check to make sure everything was charged.  Yeah.

I did it again.

Except this time it was my Garmin watch.  I am so smart.  I was getting ready to walk out the door and hit the power button on my watch.  BATTERIES LOW!

Since this was going to be a random neighborhood run, I kinda (okay not kinda, absolutely) needed the GPS to know how far I had gone.  I improvised though and did my usual 3 mile loop while my watch charged for a bit and then I ran by the house and picked it up for the rest of the run.

I was not going to make the same fueling mistake again.  I ate at my planned intervals.  What mistake did I make this time?

I ran too fast, on pavement and hills.  I ran a route with hills that are INSANE.  I seriously thought I was in San Francisco at one point.  I have seen the people who run in San Francisco and I think they are crazy.  Cause you know what.  I almost DIE trying to WALK the hills in San Francisco.

Anyway, I was doing pretty good up until about the 15 mile point.  Considering I was running on pavement and all the hills my body was feeling pretty good.  Then, the leg cramps started.  My right leg started to cramp up something fierce.  I saw my goal of 20 miles fading fast to just trying to make it to 18.  Then, the goal of making it to 18 turned into making it home without sawing my right leg off.  I seriously considered calling Jack and asking him to pick me up at one point.  I sucked it up though and made it home.

Apparently I had the ugly runner’s grimace on my face at that point because when I walked in the door, Jack asked if I was okay.

I made it to 17.25 miles in 3:56:00 with an average pace of 13:40 per mile.

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2 responses to “A Tale of Two Long Runs

  1. Amy W says:

    Where in the world did you do that many miles in our town? I have an issue just getting in 8-9 miles here!

    • Ann says:

      I just run through all the neighborhoods and the pond at the park and do loops. I will NOT be running in your neighborhood anymore though! My legs were sore for 3 days after I ran down that super crazy hilly road.

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