9 Miles on the Buffalo Bayou

I set a new personal distance record today!  I was overwhelmed by the thought of running 9 miles, but just kept telling myself it was only last weeks’ run plus one more mile.  And I didn’t feel so bad after last week’s run.  I had to psych myself up for this one all week!

Maggie and I decided to try a new route for this long run.  We chose the Buffalo Bayou in Houston.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from the trails, but I knew it would be gorgeous scenery.  Next time I will have to bring my camera!


I wore my old Asics for this run.  I’m still breaking in the Brooks, and wanted to go with shoes that I knew would have enough cushion for the long mileage.  A co-worker had a good suggestion for me this week – to buy insoles for the Brooks to add some cushioning.  I plan to do that before I wear them again next week.

Before we headed out for the run we debated whether to take water bottles with us.  Not familiar with the trail, I wasn’t sure how many water fountains we would find.  At the same time, I didn’t want to have to carry the water the whole time.  We decided to go without them, and less than a tenth of a mile into the run, there was a nice guy handing out water bottles for free.  We gladly accepted, and it was a good thing we did!  It definitely helped to have easy access to water.

My first impressions of this course were that it was beautiful, but I could do without the hills.  There were quite a few hills, most not too long, but each hill made my heart rate go up and my quads burn.  I kept thinking that each hill was going to burn me out and I wouldn’t make the whole 9 miles.

My goal pace for today was 10:30.  Early on I was worried that we were going too fast and I would have to start walking at some point, but it actually felt pretty good.  I couldn’t believe the second mile was under 10 minutes – it didn’t feel like we were going that fast!  My favorite mind game is to tell myself that for each mile I run faster than my goal, I get to add that time into later miles.  I know I should do a better job of pacing myself for the entire run, but there’s some comfort in knowing that if I have to walk later, I can still meet my goal.

During mile 5 I took my only walk break, to take my Gu.  I strategically took it as we were going up a pretty steep hill 🙂  I was sick of those hills already!  I tried the Strawberry Banana flavor this time.  I liked it better than the vanilla, but it still had a disgusting aftertaste.  Again, I don’t know that the Gu gave me any special energy, but I’m guessing I would have been more tired by the end without it.

I could tell I was slowing down during miles 6 and 7.  I was tired and I was becoming concerned about finishing strong.  My legs were tired, and my knees (especially my left knee) were beginning to really hurt.  But when we finished mile 7, it just hit me that there were only 2 miles left to go, and I knew I was going to be able to run the whole thing!  That thought alone gave me a little extra energy.

Miles 8 and 9 (almost) flew by.  I was excited when I realized that I might come in under 1 hour, 32 minutes and I pushed to finish the last mile as fast as I could.  Our splits:

  • Mile 1:  10:04
  • Mile 2:  9:50
  • Mile 3:  10:06
  • Mile 4:  10:10
  • Mile 5:  10:29 – Gu
  • Mile 6:  10:28
  • Mile 7:  10:34
  • Mile 8:  10:18
  • Mile 9:  9:52
  • Total:  1:31:53 (10:13 average pace)

I’m really encouraged by the average pace.  It makes my goal of running 4.1 more miles at a 10:17 pace seem more realistic.  I also really liked the course, aside from the hills.  It’s probably good training, but my normal course is much more flat.  We also commented on the fact that this is a course we would probably not do on our own – you go under a few bridges and through some secluded areas, and there weren’t all that many people out running.

I felt really good after the run, but really sore.  I did some stretching and foam rolling, so hopefully that will help me to feel better by tomorrow.  I then showered, ate lunch (leftover Thai food, yummy!) and then fell asleep on the couch cuddling my puppy 🙂

How do you best recover from long runs?


9 responses to “9 Miles on the Buffalo Bayou

  1. Nice run – it is a great feeling once you hit that “moment” when you realize you’re gonna make it!

  2. Good job on that pace! You will have no problem pacing 10:17 if you can do hold today’s pace for that long. Adrenaline will keep you chugging along 🙂

  3. What a great run! Well done!

    I felt dizzy on my run last Saturday (was the longest run in time ever) and I knew immediately it was because I didn’t eat too much so I’m going to try what works best for me the next few runs.

    Funny I just sold my Asics because they gave me calf issues. I never buy any other shoe than Brooks in the future. These are the best shoes for me.

    • Thanks! I think eating enough is definitely important. I didn’t post it, but before the run I also ate a breakfast of toast, almond butter and banana. I would definitely feel sick if I felt hungry while running.

      I’ve heard a lot of people rave about Brooks! I’m still undecided, but I think the Asics might be a better shoe for me. I like how light the Brooks are, so I might keep them too – I still want to try them with insoles for more cushion.

  4. Brilliant run, particularly with all those hills.

    And a new PDR as well! You should be so proud and pleased with yourself.

    I’ve always run in Asics after Nikes gave me shin splints and New Balance shoes were worse than useless in terms of arch support.

    Onwards and upwards ~ can’t wait to read about more of your running achievements.

    • Thanks! I tried Nikes at the store and they just didn’t feel right on my feet. I’ve always worn Asics in the past – I have a feeling I’ll be sticking with them longer-term.

  5. Hi Jessica!! I am so glad you found me!! I just started up blogging again taking some time off. I love your blog and look forward to keeping up with you and supporting your running and future races! 🙂 Take care and keep running!


  6. Pingback: 6 Miles or Dip Week | Racing to Thirty

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