August 28, 2010

better than average 7 mile long run

Want to get thoughts on today's long run jotted down before I take a nap.

Since last weekend's attempt at a bicycle ride, several of my joints have been in pain. I am not used to this kind of pain in these locations, and during the week it definitely affected my exercise. I took the last couple days off, hoping that rest would help. So with this pain at the forefront of my mind, I went to bed early last night, with a plan of action for this morning.

Unfortunately, I didn't sleep well. My joints hurt even in bed. (Some of this may be due to the oral antibiotics I'm on right now; I don't know.) Regardless, the run must get done. About 4:30 a.m., I woke up raging thirsty and needing to pee, as I often did before I started insulin, but my blood glucose was fine. At that time, I took two 8-hour Tylenol and went back to bed, hoping to get a few hours of decent sleep before getting up. The pain lessened and I did sleep, but not well - until about 7. At which point, I slept hard. Woke up again at 9:30, which was the time I wanted to be getting out the door, as the weather forecast was for a nice day, but too warm for comfort.

Still, I wasn't going to rush my pre-run routine. My body needs time to wake up. Needs time for two poops (sorry, but let's be honest about these things). Needs time for a banana and some caffeine to take effect. Needs time for a pep talk. I used my magic tea today (Earl Grey white from Harney & Sons), just as I have before most long runs for several years now. I filled up an old Gatorade Perform bottle with Sustained Energy - my first use of SE in this training cycle! Now I knew I was firmly in training territory. :D (I know you're not supposed to reuse plastic bottles, but the Perform bottle has the best texture for gripping since the old Tiger bottles and I like the mouthpiece.)

Hydration: check. Running clothes pulled out of hamper because I forgot to do laundry yesterday: check. Newer pair of running shoes with newer orthotics: check. Charged iPhone loaded with most recent Covervilles: check. Vague plan to put in 7 miles and not a stride more: check.

Hey! Ho! Let's go!

I began this one by walking for a few minutes, which is quite rare for me. I should do it more. I got up to jogging speed and kept it intentionally at a comfortable level where I thought I could hold on for about half a mile, maybe, before walking. I tried to keep things at this effort level the whole run. I turned off the part of Runkeeper that tells you your time and left only the distance notifications on. This way, I could just relax, enjoy the day, concentrate on doing the run the right way. (As it turns out, this was faster than I'd expected.)

Mile 1 went amazingly well, even for me. The Tylenol were hard at work and my legs felt rested. My lungs weren't having a good time, but I knew after the first couple miles, most of the junk would be coughed out and I'd be breathing better. The humidity was way down and that always helps. Mile 2 was also unexpectedly good, as the shin splints I was expecting never appeared and I was able to tackle most of a mild incline that lately I've been completely walking. I thought that was pretty nice.

Mile 3 included tackling Owl's Head Park. The easy route down along the dog run is closed for renovation, so the route takes me on a meandering few paths up and over the park - which is a hell of a hill. I walked up it, wanting to conserve energy. You can break your neck coming down it and I could see how NYCBklynGirl could have a paintful time coming down Pike's Peak, what with the quads trying to keep you from falling and all.

I finished the third mile just as I headed onto the bay-side path. My intention was to go out to almost the fourth mile before turning around so that when I did finish seven, I'd be quite a ways from home and forced to walk as a cool down period; which is another thing I'm terrible at making myself do. This plan worked out nicely. You can see in the pace and elevation chart that while along the bay, I had nice, steady, long running segments. I was able to keep up with other slow joggers and really enjoyed myself, especially after I turned around at about 3.7 miles and caught the breeze in my face.

The fifth mile flew by as most of it was returning along the bay and I estimated I'd complete it just as I topped the hill of Owl's Head Park again - and sure enough, I was only about 20 yards short of the summit when Runkeeper piped up. Right on.

Another short, steep downhill while praying not to fall on my face and I was back on the streets. At this time, I was quite warm and stuck to whatever sidewalks offered the most shade. I started to get very tired in the last half of mile 6 and especially in mile 7. I reminded myself that this is what training is FOR.

I finished up the last mile as I came alongside Costco, about six blocks from my house. Perfect! I even stopped in at Dunkin' Donuts on the walk home to get a blueberry muffin. Having just done my longest run in ... well, I think a year; I felt I deserved the muffin. I was very surprised to find out I'd done these seven miles at an overall 12:08 pace. Wow! I had thought I was jogging at a 12-minute pace, but that with walk breaks I'd be down to 12:45 miles or so.

So...good run. I'm pleased with how it all went. I've done the ice bath, the food, the Recoverite, the blog post...and now: the nap.

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