Today I ran 11 miles in 1:59:16 and felt pretty darn good! Preparation for today's run began last night. I stocked my freezer with ice (for a post-run ice bath) and my fridge with ready-made food for lunch. The plan was to spend the evening winding down from the work week and be in bed by 9:30 pm. I wanted to be up early and at the trail by 7:30 am.
Only thing was, the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics were on...and I LOVE the Olympics. But the show was so long and I miserably fought the sleep for an hour before finally giving up at 10:30 pm and tivo'ing the rest of it.
I got the full night's sleep that I wanted, plus a little more. I didn't wake-up until 7:30 am. So much for hitting the trail early. Truth be told, when I woke up, I wasn't feeling up to the run. 11 miles just sounded dreadful. I plopped myself on the couch to watch the rest of the Opening Ceremonies. Watching the rest of it fired me up and I told myself, "Let's just do this!"
So I packed up my gear:
and of course...
After running on pavement through the neighborhood for the past 2 weeks, I decided to head back to Sawyers Camp, where I could run on part asphalt/part trail. It was a perfect day for a run - 55 degrees and partly overcast.
I started out by walking the first half mile to warm-up, then did some dynamic stretches before starting my run. I wore a light-weight long-sleeved shirt and by Mile 1, I was already feeling too warm. But I felt great through most of the first half, which I think turned out to sabotage me - just a little.
My normal routine is to hydrate every 2 miles (which I followed), and have a GU every 4.5 miles. But when I got to 4.5 miles I was feeling great...really strong, so I decided to wait until the half-way point, at 5.5 miles, before having one. Big mistake. Huge. That strong feeling didn't last for very long...Mile 4.5-5.5 was all uphill. Now I've run this hill many, many times but it'd been about 2 1/2 months since I last ran it. Today it kicked my but; I think I lost a lung running that mile.
When I got to the 5.5 half-way point I stopped to eat that GU. At that single moment in time, it was the best thing I'd ever tasted. My energy level was immediately boosted and I cruised through the second half of the run. Of course, the downhill part of it really helped. :)
A couple of days ago, I posted a note on the Daily Mile asking my fellow runners for advice on how to handle a budding blister. Taking the advice of one of the repliers, I'd been treating it with Neosporin and it really helped. The blister didn't bother me at all until Mile 9. I stopped to adjust my sock and shoe and continued on. While it was still bothersome, it didn't get too bad and I was able to finish the run with no real problems related to it.
As with my other recent long runs, I wasn't trying to achieve any specific pace or time. In training for my first marathon, I'm focusing on building endurance and minimizing injuries. So far (knock on wood), its been going well. I can't help but recall what a big deal these 10 and 11 mile runs had been for me when training for my previous half-marathons. But now, it feels like a regular run. I know what to expect out of them and I know they're achievable. And in fact, I'm rather enjoying them. There were times today when I looked down at my Garmin and was surprised to see that a whole hour, or 90 minutes had passed. The time went by so quickly. These long runs are beginning to become therapeutic; I find myself getting deep in thought, contemplating the wonders in my world.
After I was done, I followed the advice of my nutritionist and ate another GU the second I pressed stop on my Garmin. I have to admit, it helped, and I felt a boost of energy. I walked the last half mile to cool down, then stretched for about 20 minutes. Then I walked another quarter of a mile back to my car where I downed a banana and drank some coconut water.
When I got home I followed my post-run ritual:
* Made my smoothie: banana blackberries frozen strawberries capful of flaxseed oil pinch of bee pollen chocolate soy milk
* Took an ice bath
* Lunch - Lemongrass chicken and rice. I feel so much better when I have lunch ready and waiting after these long runs.
I enjoyed the rest of the day reading, rolling resting. Thankfully, my post-run soreness has been pretty minimal. I'm looking forward to hitting the pool tomorrow for nice and easy swim.
Next week I'll be writing a post on the Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) test that I recently took. Its really interesting stuff.