It should not take me until I am about to go on my long run to write about the previous weekend’s long run. But it did. So be it.
I had a little trouble recovering from the half marathon. Overall, I felt just fine, walking around and everything, but when I went to run on Wednesday, it was the most tiring run since I had an iron deficiency. I wasn’t worried though, I just thought it meant I raced hard. Friday’s run went better, and I wore the Garmin again. I know I have the tendency to become a stat junkie, but I promise when I actually get my own Garmin I will only make note of the overall pace! I was really curious as to how well I have been estimating distance on a mixed road and trail run…for…five years? As it turns out, I have been pretty darn accurate. My splits on the 7.23-mile run were 7:35-45 on the road portions, and 8:10-20 once I was on the trail (which was rather muddy). My first observation: that’s a big difference! I guess I thought I was running more 7:50 on the road, 8:10 on the trail to average 8:00. My “dividing by 8, 8.25 on a bad day, 7.75 on a good day” method (runnerd alert) has been a very close estimation on these hybrid runs, which are most of my runs. My second observation was how much faster 7:35-45 sounds than it actually felt. Maybe 7:40 is the new 8:00? (Insert continued crazy runner thoughts about the M word….) So, that’s my little “omg, Garmins are cool” spiel (I just learned the spelling of that word now, how cool is that).
Moving on. I have been pretty disciplined since December in terms of sleeping and hydrating the night before my long runs…but I decided to cut myself a break for once, one week post-race, to not worry too much about it, and “run whenever.” As in, not at 6:15am, which is when a small group was meeting (long story…so freaking early). To cut to the chase/skip a lot of non-running related detail, I ended up running at 10:45 with a new running buddy. I didn’t have work so the time was no big deal, and I’m actually glad I got to enjoy the best weather of the day, after extra sleep! I didn’t have the Garmin anymore (it isn’t mine, after all…), and I didn’t map a single thing. Time to have some fun. We hit up Witherspoon Woods first, then cut out to Pretty Brook via the boardwalk (tangent: when I type “Brook” I accidentally write “Brooks” first by habit and have to go back and delete the “s”…every time). Pretty Brook, as a loop, is about 7.5 miles, so adding that in the middle was sure to add distance easily. I usually run this route in the dark, so it was strange to see the huge houses…and see the hills coming. And…a sign that said something about “recreational paths”?!?! Finding new trails is probably one of the most exciting things ever for me. We weren’t expecting much when we decided to check it out, but we were pleasantly surprised! The area was much bigger than we imagined, and we found tons of well-marked trails! There was a landmark called “Tent Rock,” which we tried to find desperately, and did, but they all kind of looked like tents at the time in their own ways….They first time on a trail is always the best, because the ground in front of you is ground you have never set foot on before. You have no idea what’s coming. I can remember every run during which I discovered trails, and they were always awesome runs – how can they not be?
Spoiler alert (scroll down for map).
I did some searching later and found that the trails actually had a name, the Woodfield Reservation. Part of me doesn’t want to do that, after discovering trails. Especially searching Google Images. I almost want to be the only one to know where the trails are, and to have snapshots in my mind only, not see any from someone else’s camera. But, it was a cool discovery regardless.
We continued on the loop after exiting the woods, and headed back toward town. My plan for this run: assess at 13 miles. I knew I would decide long before that how far I would run. Seventeen was the actual plan, but I thought if I felt awful, I would somehow push it to next week. Around mile 11, I decided I was doing it. I actually said it out loud: “I’m doing it! Seventeen!” And I did. After a quick nuun stop at the car and dropping my running buddy off at his place, I went down to the towpath. Completely overshot the additional mileage and walked about a half mile at the end, but that was nice. Afterthoughts: I definitely wanted to be done when I was done; I was pretty darn tired and I could feel my right hip starting to “click” or something in the last quarter mile (it stopped when I stopped and was fine). My next longest-run-ever is going to take a little more prior hydration, perhaps more hydration on the run, and more sleep. This will not be difficult. The sixteen miler three weeks ago was a little easier at the end, but that was because I prepared better for it, I think.
If I can run 17 miles and then go country line dancing, I think I’ll be fine. 🙂 Seriously though, this place needs to start giving out free tap water.
I mentioned my race chafing from hell…this is what happens after:
Go Better Than Naked capris! They felt just like wearing shorts. (Or not?)