Saturday, February 18, 2012

#387: Long, Slow, Chilly Run

As my marathon training turns serious, I want to make blogging a more consistent part of the process, so here's today's run report...
52° - 43°, 15.8 mi/3:41:09 @ 3:09 PM. Arboretum. Red Pegasus. 1:00 run/1:00 walk for 8 miles, then 1:30 run/1:00 walk. Splits 13:41, 13:21, 13:47, 13:22, 14:02, 13:23, 12:56, 13:17, 13:17, 13:02, 14:35, 14:08, 14:51, 14:53, 15:04. Lost my key. M saved me.
All of which means I had a really beautiful, sometimes puzzling, and ultimately weird run today.

And in case you're wondering, the answer is yes, 3:00 in the afternoon is a really stupid time to start a long run in the middle of winter. I slept in this morning, and had a serious dearth of gumption so I put it off for way too long. Then, when I saw that the temperature was 52°, I just couldn't stay inside.

I intended to make this a very long run. I had fantasies of 20 miles dancing in my head, but given my speed and the lateness of the hour, I would have been running until bedtime. My most recent long run was 11 decent miles followed by 3 miserable ones, followed by 2 miles of wishing someone would put a bullet in my head. I decided to just try and improve on that and see how far my legs would carry me.

I chose the Arboretum because a) it's a trail in a park, so there's no traffic to deal with, and b) I had nearly collapsed on my last long run, and the Arboretum trail is a circle, so you're never more than a quarter mile from the car if things turn weird. Which they did.

I used a very conservative Run/Walk interval: 1:00/1:00 for the first eight miles, then 1:30/1:00 for the last 8. This worked really well for me. The short run interval at the beginning forced me to hold back on the early miles. Now that I get a good look at my splits, I'm thinking that stretching out the run to 1:30 might have been a mistake. I certainly started slowing down at 10 miles, which will be a problem in Pittsburgh, where the toughest part of the course is around mile 11. I need to be training so I'm very strong at 10 miles, not starting to fade. My plan is to have no more long runs any shorter than 11 miles. I'll need both conditioning and pacing to climb that hill on May 6.

At mile 11, I felt great. At mile 12, my calves started hurting a little but had recovered well after the minute walk breaks. I was running happy after mile 13, knowing that I had completed the half marathon distance without misery. By mile 14, I could tell I was slowing, but I still felt strong. I knew I could go on for a few more miles. I said out loud, "I feel good. I'm going for 17." I got to 15 in good form, feeling prettier than I probably was. 

Then, at around 15.2 miles, my phone rang. It was Mrs P's ring, and I noticed it was really getting dark out, so I knew she was calling to check up on me. I assured her that I was feeling great, going for a new personal record for distance, and would be home soon. Yes, it was dark. No there were no lights on the path. No, I wasn't wearing my little flashing lights. I was fine. Don't worry. Love you. Buh-bye. And as I closed my phone and slipped it back into my pocket, I realized that my car key was gone.

So here's where I am. It's dark. The temperature has dropped almost 10 degrees since I set off in shorts and a long sleeved tech shirt. I own only one key to my car. We lost the duplicate years ago and added replacing it to that long list of things we ought to take care of some day. It's Saturday night. It's a three-day weekend. And I'm wandering back and forth on the path looking for a single key, in the dark, using my cell phone as a flashlight. #fail. 

I called Mrs P for help. She brought me warm, dry clothes and a flash light. We hiked the .25 miles to where my phone rang, and found the key easily. Then we walked back to the parking lot holding hands in the cold Kentucky night. It was much more romantic than you might imagine under the circumstances.

Which made me kind of glad that I dropped my key. Even if I didn't run 20 miles today.



  1. What a great post! Yes, things turned weird but then they turned out okay. Last year when I was training for the marathon I didn't finish, I got stuck around 15 miles. I'll be really glad to see you get to 20!

    1. Thanks for your comment and your encouragement, Elianne. I haven't found my "wall" yet, but I know it's out there. I'm hoping it's around 26.3 miles!... Peace


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