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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Long Run Reflections

18 Miles.

Well, 18.26 miles actually.  I did it.  My longest run since having my baby 6 months ago and for sure the strongest long run of my life.  Ever.  I have never felt better on a long run and my spirits are still soaring from the experience.  I accomplished what I set out to do - a negative split, running the first half almost a minute per mile slower than the second half.  I want to train my legs, my body and my mind to be able to push and accelerate when things get rough.  It was perfect.  Looking at my splits reveals what I consider to be smart, strong training:

Mile 1: 9:24
Mile 2: 9:27
Mile 3: 9:38
Mile 4: 9:12
Mile 5: 9:20
Mile 6: 9:18
Mile 7: 9:26
Mile 8: 9:14
Mile 9: 9:32
Mile 10: 8:53
Mile 11: 8:42
Mile 12: 8:57
Mile 13: 8:49
Mile 14: 8:51
Mile 15: 8:45
Mile 16: 8:29
Mile 17: 8:33
Mile 18: 8:11

I ran for 2:45:02 and my average pace was 9:02/mile.  This run was also about practicing my nutrition and hydration.  My stomach is finicky and it has taken me a L O N G time to figure out the best fuel strategy before, during and after my long runs.  I eat a mostly vegan diet (occasionally I have fresh fish in the summer and occasionally I eat dairy but I always pay for that) so getting protein can be a struggle for me.  My meal the night before has to be plain and simple - Friday night it was pasta with a bit of fresh veggies and not too much of it.  I ate a banana in the morning about an hour before my run.  During my run I ate every 3 miles - at miles 3, 9 and 15 I ate one Power Gel Blast (raspberry flavor, yum).  At miles 6 and 12 I ate an Accel Gel (vanilla and chocolate respectively).  I drank water the whole time, keeping my hand held water bottle full, and also at mile 10 I had some sips of orange Gatorade at a water stop.  Stomach issues = ZERO.  Success!

When I finished this run, I felt like a million bucks and as though I could keep going.  I had a serious runner's high and just felt so happy that I was able to push like that while still having quite a lot of energy in my tank.  There are so many factors that can make or break a long run and yesterday everything went perfectly even with crazy heat and humidity.  I will NOT forget this run.  When I'm running my marathon in a little over two months from now, I will dig back to this 18 miler for encouragement.  For a reminder to believe in myself.

Three months ago I was struggling ... my lower back went out, my hips were "wonky," my pelvic floor was weak.  Every single run left me feeling exhausted and sore.  My body was not doing what I wanted it to do and it was so frustrating because I was working so hard, trying to do all the right things to get stronger.  Yesterday I ran more than 18 STRONG miles and today I did another 4 to recover (at a 10:30 pace).  I am not hobbling around.  I am not achy or sore.  My heart is filled with gratitude and I believe I am stronger now than I have ever been in all of my life.

This week I hit a new mileage high of 42 miles.  It is a steady climb.  One foot in front of the other, I am on my way ....

8 comments:

Oh, this is so inspirational! As you've seen from my blog, I am going through one of those periods where I am feeling wonky, achy, sore and injured. Today, I was supposed to head out for 12 miles, and I turned around after about 10 steps because my R leg wasn't having any of it. So now I am headed to the gym for some elliptical/stairmaster. Bummer.

Thanks so much for your sweet comments on my last blog entry! Trying to remain grateful. Hey, I'm not limping! Nothing is broken, and I'm not on crutches! I think my leg just needs a few days of rest (hopefully). This too shall pass.

That is a killer 18-mile run. Wow! Look at that last mile! You *are* doing such smart training, and it's really paying off. Great job!

That was a killer run! I need a run like that to give me the mental boost that I am missing. I feel like I'm not "believing" enough.

Enough about me, though. You rock!

I love your splits. You ran this run so smart. It is a good omen for a great marathon.

I love your negative splits for the last half. That is great. I have been feeling not myself on my runs and totally doubting my October marathon right now. This gives me hope. Happy Sunday.

oh my word, Jessica. This post gave me the chills. So freaking awesome!!! So proud of you. What an amazing run and one that I need to practice. You are an inspiration!!

You are SO AMAZING! What an inspiration you are. I am in tears reading it and soooo very excited for you! I am so glad you figured out something good for your stomach too. YAY!

42 miles - you rock! That is an amazing long run - perfect. Congrats :)

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