long run reflections

6 Apr

I like long runs.  I bitch about them a lot (especially while in the midst of them, and super especially when it’s just Eric and I–when other people are around I tend to behave much better).  But they are a chance to give some good perspective.  Today, I feel like I had plenty of good revelations…

1.  We saw a couple getting engaged.  We were running up and I heard exclamations and someone was down on the ground, and at first I thought someone had fallen, but then I realized what was going on.  I was like oh no we’re about to ruin this couple’s moment with our smelly, sweaty runner-ness.  The guy was psyched, though, waving the ring wildly (I was a little nervous it would fly out of the box and end up in the pond and we’d be compelled to help look for it).  Eric high fived him, we both said our congratulations and then continued on.  I was a little choked up.  I get really emotional on long runs (working out in general–there’s this one series at Bikram Yoga where I did, too, and one of the instructors used to say that it was the posture that encouraged it, so maybe it’s the same with running somehow?).  I need to work on getting that in check, because it can be a problem on race day (i.e. coming up the big hill during flower city half and i see a man, woman and newborn and almost lose my shit).  It was cool to see, though.

2.  We saw a beautiful “hound” dog (I call hunting dogs/pointers hound dogs haha).  It was brown with white spots and so excited to be out running–even though it only had 3 legs.  It was bounding next to its owner, happy as could be.  We saw them at the end of our run, when I was feeling beat up and exhausted, and this was like a reminder to me of how lucky I am to be able to run enough where I can feel beat up and exhausted because there are people who can’t and that would really suck.

thank you, runner dog, for giving me some much needed perspective

3.  I was supposed to run 18-20 miles this morning.  About 5  in, I was really doubtful how much longer I could go.  We did a couple more loops of trails, then a little stint on the roads.  I decided about an hour and a half in that I needed to worry about time on my feet today, and not miles.  So today I did 2 hours and 40 minutes.  My second longest run (2 weeks ago I did 2:50).  I could not figure out why I felt so bad–everything hurt, I was exhausted, my stomach was grumbling even though I’d eaten half a package of shot blocks.  Then I plugged in my Garmin for the first time in about 2 months (no joke).  My elevation change today was over 3000 feet.   I looked back to my other long runs–the ones that have been on roads.  About 500 feet of elevation change.  That means I went up 3x more than I went up AND down 2 weeks ago.  THIS is why I didn’t run as many miles.  THIS is why I felt like shit.  THIS is why I will be a stronger runner come race day.  Hills hurt, but they make you way stronger and faster.  And I am counting on this come race day.

todays elevation--cant even spread it out because its that intense...

elevation a couple of weeks ago...which for some reason looks big, too, but if you compare the numbers on the y axis, I guess you can really see they are incomparable...

4.  We came off the trails and I knew I wanted to do a couple of miles on the roads, where I’d be able to push the pace a bit more.  I was in rough shape by this point–walking pretty much every uphill and having a pretty awesome pity party for myself (while Eric inserted “hilarious” smartass comments about how I should wait to die til I got to the car and how I was still moving, so that was a good sign).  I changed shoes and we set off.  And I rocked a sub 10:00 pace.  Tired, beat up, legs on fire, lungs not really wanting to cooperate…but I went with it.  And that gives me confidence that on race day, when I hit those 20’s miles, and I’m feeling like being done, I will be able to pull out some halfway decent times and run strong at the end.  Last marathon, I fell apart a lot at the end.  I’m hoping (and all signs indicate that) I will be able to maintain a decently strong pace this time around.

5.  As I was putting on my road shoes, I was sitting cross legged on the tailgate, stretching my hips and groin, when I noticed a GIANT hole in the crotch of my pants.  I have no idea how long this monstrosity has been there.  I’ve been talking about how I need to get some new running capris for a while now.  I’ve had the same ones literally since I started running.  Yes.  That’s like over 4 years.  I love these pants, and I think I can sew the hole, but obviously I need to get some new pantalones anyway.  So the rest of the morning, there have been countless jokes about my giant crotch hole.  I am slightly mortified to think that it’s been there for a long time and that people may have seen my underwear and been embarrassed to tell me.  But I think I’d have noticed it if it were there for any length of time.  At least, I hope so…

6.  I have been looking at my plan as a whole, rather than focusing on individual weeks/workouts, and it’s been stressing me out.  But when I break down the plan and go week-by-week, it’s not so bad.  My plan is at the end of the page this week, so I could only see this week’s workouts, and I felt fine about it.  As soon as I turn it over, I’m going to freak out.  I may cut it apart and just put the next week’s plan on the fridge instead.  haha.

7.  I also am very close to it being over.  When I think about the marathon being another 2 months away (ok 7 weeks now), I get discouraged by how much longer I have to do this hard training.  But in reality, I only have another 3-4 weeks of hard training to do.  Then I start my taper, and while there will be some faster runs, there will also be a lot shorter runs and a lot more recovery going on.  So I’m almost there.

8.  When I start to get discouraged and/or feel beat up about my running in the next couple of weeks, I just need to remember that this is really when I’m doing the bulk of the training–all the weeks leading up have mostly been just that–the build up.  This week and the next few will be a combination of distance and speedwork that will hurt, will test my limits, and ultimately make me stronger and better.  And then it will end and I will have more time to relax and let my body recover and prepare to run an amazing time at Buffalo.

So that’s that.  A few more really long runs (really only about 3, plus the half marathon race).  And a few more really tough speedwork sessions.  And some nice, easy runs.  And then I race.  🙂

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