An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Monday, October 3, 2011

The Long(er) Run

I went for my long run yesterday morning.

Now, the idea behind a long run is that it trains your endurance to handle something greater than your normal workload, while not being something you do so often that it breaks you down. Used to be that marathon training had you doing your long run every week, and increasing it to beyond 20 miles as you approached race day. The increase was always small, so training plans went 12-, 16-, 20-weeks or more, depending on where you were starting out endurance-wise, and how much time you had available before your event.

I'm not training for a marathon. No desire to go that far again. Not without the help of some wheels, anyway.

But I'm looking at a half-marathon next year. Or two, maybe.

My training has been going well since the minor set-backs in my foot that derailed the half-marathon this year. Five and six milers have been no problem, and I can string a few of them together in a week. Yesterday, I wanted to extend that. I laced up the Altra's, set the Endomondo, and started off, water bottle belt and Gu on my back.

My thoughts leaving the house were that I wanted to do at least 8 miles. At an easy pace.

I started out as I had my run on Saturday morning, when I took Jake with me -- short route to the local trails, then following them out to the far end where they intersect a road. I knew it would add a little distance to the direct on-the-road route, but I was wanting to go at least eight...

When I got to the point where my route was to turn off from where I'd done some ten milers earlier this year, I decided I felt pretty good, and continued on. Took my gel. Gulped some water. Passed a couple people. Looked at my watch, and thought, "This can't be right." I kind of knew how far I had to go, and how long that would take me, and what my time would be at that point in my normal route. Too much time had already passed.

I kept telling myself, "Only three miles to go." Three is easy. Three is not even my shortest runs.

As I got to the last couple miles, I recalled something I found on Saturday -- my old running logs. From 1982-1988. College years, where I logged every run in detail, what I wore, how I felt, etc. My early triathlon training, where I equated every workout to calories burned so I could judge training volume by one metric, no matter what the mix of disciplines was for the week or month. But there was a page in there from the only marathon I'd run, the Seattle Marathon of 1982, the Saturday after Thanksgiving (the cruelest time to run a marathon, if there ever was one). But I had said in that report how, "the last several miles were a blur of walking and painful shuffling." Not that I was in pain during my run yesterday. Actually, my legs kind of felt numb. But I remembered how hard it was to get moving again after walking. And I knew that if I did that in the last couple miles, it would be that much harder to get going again.

I pushed on, though I felt like my pace had slowed a LOT.

I finished the run in 1:30:21, and Endomondo told me I'd run 11.19 miles. Let's call it 11.2 miles. There had to be some error in there, right? And it told me that my pace really didn't fall off much at the end. I guess I'm accepting the technology... But that idea of the small increase? Right...

Saturday, about 10, Eric came by on his way to the dump to pick up some things from my house, and he told me had had run 10 miles that morning. I SWEAR I wasn't trying to out-do him. Really.

And I did what I wanted to do -- I ran at least 8 miles...

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