Yesterday, I had my last long run of my first training cycle.
It was AMAZING. And hard. And AMAZING.
Though my training plan (a modified Jeff Galloway plan) called for 14 miles, I made the executive decision to run 13.1 miles for the first time when I complete the half-marathon. I haven’t seen any other training plans that go up to or beyond 13 miles so I felt confident that doing another 12.5 mile run would be sufficient preparation for the real thing.
The goal for the run was to simulate race conditions as closely as possible. I struggled a bit in my last long run which I attributed to fueling issues. I don’t typically eat many carbs so I loaded up on Saturday.
Mmmmmm Mexican rice…..
When I woke up, I could feel the additional energy of the food. I was ready to go!
Rock and Roll San Jose begins at 8am. San Jose is quite warm so I began my run at the same time to approximate the race conditions. This was a good plan since I normally avoid running in heat. The sun was strong and directly in my face for the first 6.5 miles. It was intense and uncomfortable so I’m glad I experienced it. On the agenda today: getting a visor and spending the next two weeks getting used to running in it. I brought more water than last time and also planned to take the entire package of six Shot Bloks instead of my usual three. In the face of the blazing sun, the extra water and fuel kept me feeling strong and my stomach settled.
I’m not going to lie. The first half of this run had challenges. Thankfully, they were all mental. My body felt good and strong but I had to push through a lot of brain messaging/whining. The dialogues went something like this:
ShaunaRunner: “I’m tired…”
ShaunaCoachFriend: ” Yeah, that makes sense. It doesn’t matter though. You still have X miles to go.”
SR: “It’s hot out here. I hate hot.”
SCF: ” Yeah, heat sucks. You should get a visor for next time. In X miles, you get to turn around and the sun will be on your back!”
SR: ” I still have a lot further to go and when I get there, I will have to turn around and do this all again. Shit.”
SCF: ” Yeah…..you do.”
My self-talk isn’t going to end up in a Nike ad but it worked for me. Acknowledging discomfort and calmly reminding myself that it didn’t matter helped me settle into my rhythm. As soon as I hit the turnaround, the sun was behind me and things changed dramatically. I felt lighter, cooler, and focused on how close I was to finishing, rather than how much further I had to go.
Around mile 10, I felt like a total rockstar. My legs were strong, my heart was pumping on autopilot, and my mind was clear. I reflected on the last several months and how wonderful they’ve been. I’ve written this sentiment so many times but I’m truly stunned at how quickly and substantially my distance has increased while my pace has decreased. As I bopped along, I felt very, very proud.
I thought this happy high would carry me to the end of the run but it didn’t. WHOMP. The last mile and a half required a major push. It just WOULDN’T END. Except, then it did.
I was very, VERY happy with this run. If I run the half near this pace, I will be quite pleased. I know you’re not supposed to have a time goal the first time you run a particular distance but I think that based on my training, it’s reasonable to hope for somewhere between 2:10 and 2:20. My fueling plan worked very well and all the stretching/rolling leading up to this run prepared by body successfully. Let’s hope it works this well two weeks from now!
I won’t have to wait much longer to find out!
Tell me about your favorite long run ever!