Sunday, August 9, 2015

I went out this morning on my long run, the longest I’ve had since April 18, 2011 when I ran in the Boston Marathon.  The agenda called for 14 miles and I had plenty of reasons to be concerned.  The last two times I went out for weekend long runs (12 miles and 10 miles) I was unable to complete the distance without significant issues.  Granted, I had plenty of reasons available to me to use for excuses.  High humidity, too much sunshine and temperatures that have been nothing less than desirable have all contributed.  Each a valid and solid reason for poor performances.  And yet, something told me I needed to have a good run today.  Not a great run, just a good run.  One where I didn’t stop for walk breaks and one that would re-instill the confidence in me that I can carry the distance.  Although the time would be irrelevant I really was hoping for a decent time as well.  But beyond the time, I just needed to run without issue.

And that’s exactly what I did.  To start, I got myself up and going early.  I wanted to get out ahead of the warm weather and the sunshine if I could.  A few other modifications included taking water and fuel with me.  As simple as that may sound, I have always run longer distances like a camel.  I don’t know why, but I’ve done double-digit runs for years without water.  And taking gels; I prefer GU gels, is not something I typically have done until I start getting up around the 20 mile mark.  Given my recent history, I decided to control what I could control and carried my water bottle, along with my GU’s.  I also was fortunate to have a start time temperature of 62 degrees, which is the coolest I’ve run in for weeks, possibly months.

It is amazing to me the difference those things can make.  I have to admit that I did get a bit fatigued right around the 9-mile mark but with energy gels and hydration I was able to successfully nail today’s run without issue.  In fact, I never broke stride despite using a waist strap bottle for the first time ever.  Many things have changed for me since I moved to the Eastern Shore.  In my old hometown I would often take water or Gatorade and drop it at locations along my running route.   I would actually place them in mailboxes near strategic mile markers.  A good system, but in this day and age, probably not a good idea.

The final piece of the puzzle for me today was adding “new road”.  I chose a few new roads to add to existing routes which made for a more interesting run.  The first 4 1/2 miles were run on roads I’ve never run on before so the time seemed to fly by.  I also did not run in sun for the first 4 miles, and if you’ve been reading this blog you know I don’t particularly care for the sunshine.  Finishing around 8:30 a.m. and in a total time of 1:55:51 (8:17/mile pace), I can only use one word to describe the final day of Week 5 of training:  Success!

Run on…