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?