Big event last week was that I got back into morning running once again, and then — with my mind kicking and screaming against it at first — managed to get out of the house first thing Saturday morning for a long run.
The plan was to run about 1.5 miles from my place to the start of a half marathon, time it so I didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes, run the half, and then run home (or at least part way depending on how I felt).
My hope, of course, was that the weeks of inconsistency wouldn’t matter, that I’d feel great (as I did when running my first half of the year a few weeks back) and that the 16 miles or so wouldn’t feel too tough as long as I kept it at a nice slow training pace. Well, not quite. I do think a lot of my problem continues to be mental — the whole run to the start I was engaging in self-talk that was the opposite of encouraging, like “maybe you will get there too late and won’t be able to run,” or “maybe if it’s too hard cut it off and come home.” Sigh. When I got there (trying to counting the stupid thoughts by focusing on how nice it felt to be running, the pleasant weather, so on, but still stressing about just how long the whole thing was going to take), the start was badly organized due to there being more people than the narrow path could really handle at once, and so I actually ended up waiting around for about 30 minutes. Once we got going the start was a lot of trying not to be bugged by the need to get around walkers but it thinned out to a reasonable number of people pretty quickly, and it wasn’t hard to keep my training pace.
Got into a rhythm for a while and enjoyed the run, I had a light jacket on and decided to keep it on for a while although I was warm, as it could help train for the later spring races when it will be warmer than I am used to, but decided to shed it around mile 6 or 7 and wasted some time re-pinning my number. With that layer shed I felt great for a while, but by mile 10 or so (11.5 for me) I stopped trying to make up the time I’d lost with the walkers at the beginning and the stop to re-pin and just tried to focus on not slowing down any more. Mostly kept that up until the end of the race (last mile was tough) but then I stopped to finish a bottle of water and grab my medal and getting started again to run the 1.75 or so (based on where I came out) home felt like a chore and my feet were tired. Started anyway, but was turned around and ended up having to run a bit out of my way and decided just to make it to 15.5 miles (with about another mile to go) and I could stop. I think I could have kept running at my training speed if the whole thing had been in a race but knowing I could give myself an excuse to stop any time meant that I wasn’t toughing it out at all and was slowing down to almost a walk by the time I just stopped anyway. Walking actually felt tougher and although being done with my long run Saturday morning (and really doing almost the run I was supposed to — 16 miles was the plan) felt great, I was discouraged that I felt so wiped out. Not surprised, but discouraged and basically deciding to drop down to the half, as no way could I have run more than another 10 miles.
The day kept getting warmer, and I spent some time walking around later in the day, in the gorgeous weather (not all that fast, true, and a bit stiff). More encouraging, I felt perfectly fine the next day and ran 4.5 miles feeling good. Still tired, but good. So no decisions yet although I think the half is more reasonable — will see how the long run this weekend goes.