Sunday, August 29, 2010

Accidental 11.8

2 hrs 29 minutes
11.81 miles
Average pace: 12:37/mi

So, I'm still not fast but I have a lovely sense of accomplishment.

I intended to get back on track yesterday with a really long (for me) long run. Since I hadn't kept up my end of the bargain with myself this week and I'd slacked on the morning runs, I wanted to get out and clear my head and spend that quality alone time that happens when I find myself 5 or 6 miles from home and the only way to get back is me.

It felt like I loaded myself down with lots of stuff, but I was adamant that I needed enough fuel and water with me that I wouldn't bonk and walk the second half. I took some Gu-s (which I can finally stand) and my new pepper spray. As always I tucked a Chapstick into my pocket too. The first quarter of my run went by pretty quickly. I'm realizing that just paying attention to my turnover and posture is making me actually run faster for the first time in my life. It's hard to remember to keep my weight forward, especially since my favorite part of running is the scenery, but when I remember it makes a big difference. (What I mean by that is ordinarily I get distracted looking around and my chin goes up and my weight goes back into my heels, resulting in a slower pace.) But yesterday I wasn't even thinking I'd be fast, really, so I didn't force it. For my money it feels like anything I have to do for more than two hours needs to be enjoyable.

As I rounded the corner and turned down the main street of our town, I got the "on stage" feeling that must be left over from dancing. I always run better when I think people are watching. I know that's idiotic, but I always get it in my head that someone I know is going to see me walking and think "oh yeah, sure she runs" so I tend to walk less when I'm on a big street like that. I crossed the freeway at about three miles, and even though it makes me woozy to look down at the cars that zoom underneath the overpass, I made it across just fine. It wasn't until about mile four that I started to get a bit tired. I took a walk break for a good three minutes or so, and it made a big difference.

Somewhere between mile four and five I chose my side of the street poorly, and I ended up in an area where there's a field but no sidewalk. Great. I plowed through weeds and took my headphones out so I could hear cars as they whizzed past. I tried hard to be alert and not to do anything stupid. I was almost to my grandma's house--a planned stop to refill water bottles and use the bathroom. Luckily Gram was home so I had a nice stop, then it was back on the road.

Here's how this became an accidental 11.8 instead of 11 miles, as I'd planned. From my grandma's house there's a U-shaped loop with both ends opening up to another main boulevard. When I mapped my run I played around with going either direction to see how much mileage it would add. I couldn't remember which I chose, so as I was running I picked the farthest one. It turns out I intended to run down the closest one. So I added another .8 miles to my run, unknowingly. The remainder of the run was uneventful, but I did find myself in another wrong-side-of-the-road situation at about mile 9. Picking my way through dry weeds didn't really do a lot for my energy level, either. By that point I was getting really sore.

One of the interesting things to me about distance running is how different the pains seem to be depending on how long I've been running. When I started out yesterday I had some tightness in my left shin, but that was gone by mile two after I got warmed up. It was my shoulder that was bothering me from about mile 5, on--the result, I think, of a too-tight racer-back top and sports bra that were cutting into my already bad shoulder. But for the last almost three miles, my feet just felt sore. I'm not used to being on them that long. My hip flexors and the sides of my hips just felt like they'd done enough work for now, thank you very much. By mile 10 I just wanted to get home. I kept doing short bursts of running interspersed with shorts bursts of walking--but I knew the more I walked the longer it was going to take.

I'll admit that even though I had it in my head that I don't need to be fast on long runs (especially if it's my first time running a distance, as it was yesterday) that I got to a pretty negative place once I was tired. I was mad that I had to walk so much near the end, and even though I didn't have the GPS on, I was estimating how long it was taking me to run these 11 miles and I was frustrated. It wasn't until I got home and checked the map I'd made that I saw I made a mistake and ran more distance than I thought. Lesson here? I need to lighten up. I was pretty excited to see my neighborhood, then my street, then my front lawn. I came inside and I was so tired I asked Addie to help take my shoes off. I downed a glass of chocolate milk in about 3 seconds. I soaked in the bathtub, too tired even to stand and shower. Last night the tightness in my legs was pretty bad, but today they feel sore but manageable. In about an hour I'm heading out for a walk to get some of the tightness out of my muscles. Looks like it's a beautiful day outside, too.

So there you go. I meant to run 11, I ran near 12. And now my legs are pretty pooped.


  1. For the record, I would like you to know that I too run better when I think someone is watching me :)

  2. 12 miles??!!! Holy shit.

    I run better when someone is watching too. It seems we're all show-offs, huh?