I did it again! Another longest run ever. A while back I had discussed my training plan with one of my coaches because the plan ended well before my race. He suggested a build up, followed by one cut back week, and then one more run of whatever my longest training run had been. I told him I had done 14 miles and he suggested that I do that again.
Way back before I started this round of training I was trail running with a friend and discussing goals for the summer and potential future races. I told her I felt like I really needed to get past the half marathon distance and she suggested that I try for 15 miles over the summer. When that didn’t happen over the summer I decided to make it happen for this last long run. I didn’t want to push too hard though knowing it was only a week and a half before my race. My recovery time is short so I needed to be smart.
Most everyone in the program had completed their goal race the weekend before when they ran the Marine Corps Marathon. I figured that not many people would show up for the final week of training so I was super excited when during the week I got an email from a friend asking how far I was going to run and if she could join me. I told her “abso-freakin’-lutely!” Seriously, I was so excited to have company. She said she was planning to run 10 miles. I was thrilled.
She decided to run my pace and actually helped significantly in me keeping the pace slow. Every time I tried to speed up she held me back which was perfect. I needed that.
In the beginning of the run I had a bit of a freak out. Something in my pack was rattling. It was driving me insane. I realized it was the sport beans that I had put in the front pocket. I’ve never tried and them and was planning to try them later in my run. My stomach hates me some days and I didn’t want to try them too early and ruin the entire run. I moved them to my skirt pocket but they were still bouncing around. I saw some of our group coming back since they were doing a short shake out run. I shoved them into someone’s hands and begged for her to make them go away. I later learned that she ate them. I do think they are fuel that I will never be able to use. The rattling was a serious problem for me. Quiet gels are much better!
We chatted along the way and the miles went pretty quickly until around 7. I needed a walk break – I think I was really starting to feel it mentally more than physically. I was only half way to my goal….I knew I still had a long way. Between miles 7 and 10 we took short walk breaks here and there.
As she left I thanked her and told her to come back for winter training so that we can run together again. I was feeling burned out at that point and wasn’t really ready for another 5 miles but I kept pressing on. I noticed a hot spot on my foot and had a feeling that a blister was forming. I decided to take it really easy and just focus on the distance. I really did not want to get hurt by pushing the pace…especially so close to my race.
I alternated walking and running. I played a lot of mind games and had to keep using landmarks to keep moving forward. “Just run to that utility post and then you can take a break.” “Walk and run to the turn around and then run back.” “Except for the bridges – don’t run the bridges on the way back.” “Well, run downhill on the bridges, it’s silly not to run downhill.”
I bet I said some of that stuff out loud but I tried to keep the arguments in my head. I just kept fighting to the finish. I definitely did not feel as good as the day that I did the 14 miles and I was concerned about a possible blister on my foot. I think I was so nervous about going fast and ruining it for my race that I just slowed down. I didn’t allow myself to push too hard. I always insist on having bad runs before races. I don’t want to waste a good run on training.
I feel good knowing I did my longest run ever.
The blister turned out to be minor – I’d like to think this is because I slowed down. My legs were super sore right after I finished and most of the day on Saturday. I did bunch of random things around my house and some yard work on Sunday and my legs actually feel better.
Now it’s time for recovery and focusing on the last few short runs before my race. And hydration. I’m going to drink all.the.water for the next week.