Saturday, December 13, 2008

The long run - 25 miles

Today was the day of the lonnnnggggg run. I ran a 5.7 mile loop and had planned to run four or five loops depending on how I felt. I took a 3-5 minute break between loops to refuel, rest up, change out clothing, etc.

Each lap was solid and pretty comfortable at about a 9 minutes/mile pace and I was sure I'd get all 5 laps in. As it was, I pulled out part way through the fifth lap when I detected something potentially slightly amiss in my left knee. I figured I had already pushed way beyond perhaps what I should have and I don't want to risk injury when this was just a trial run. I still logged just over 25 miles so I'm not disappointed, although 28 would have been even cooler.

The interesting thing is that the running itself was fine. However, I didn't realize that the STOPPING running part is the hard part. Once you stop, everything hits at once, and it all hurts - feet, ankles, hips. I feel fairly beat up now. Ibuprofen, ice, nap, stretching, arnica gel - hitting it from all angles.

I needed to do this run for me and no one else. I had to know if I had it in me and didn't want to wait until spring to find out. I suspected that I would hold up, that I could just keep on keeping on. Now I am sure and I know I can do that marathon. Plus the race course looks to be much flatter than what I run on around here.

Things that rattled around in my head:
  • Jake saying that most of running long distances is mental
  • Pam Reed writing that most people can run twice as far as what they think
  • Knowing that people with less conditioning than me can run marathons
  • Keep it steady, but don't use energy trying to go slower. Get in the groove and stay there.
  • Keep the focus straight ahead (I tend only to look about 10' in front of me and I kind of zone out on it.)
I was happy that I never had to have the mental debate about whether or not I should/could keep running. I just did. Much to my surprise, that part took care of itself.

I listened to an episode of Whad'ya Know (NPR) for a few laps, then switched to tunes. I listened to Laura Story's Great God Who Saves probably 20 times. It's so uplifiting and the perfect tempo for a long run:

When I stumble and my faith is small, I will call Your name, great God who saves. And I would have despaired if I had not believed that You would come to me, great God who saves. And in my darkest hour, Your mercy and Your power are reaching out to me, great God who saves.