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!