Sunday’s Long Run (1/23/11)
The rains have returned, but they waited until evening. In an uncharacteristic burst of motivation, I did my long run this morning after ironing some clothes that have been waiting patiently for their pressing. Now they hang proud and wrinkle-free in my closet!
This morning offered a fantastic opportunity to run outside with mild temperatures and sunshine. The sunshine was touch-and-go because it was cloudy today, but the day was such a stark contrast to last week’s long run that I was practically giddy with joy. I dressed in layers, anticipating chilliness, but even as I stepped outside, I could tell this day was not going to require gloves, so I slipped them back inside before starting my run. I became warm enough that eventually I took off my sweatshirt and pushed up my sleeves to get some cool air against my skin.
Today was the second of the 80-minute training runs, and overall I think it went well. I felt a tiny bit of fatigue set in around the 30-minute mark, but it was very mild, so I didn’t slow my pace. I took one major break, a 5-minute walking break at the 60-minute mark, which I think is a record for me: an hour of running with just one tiny break to cross a busy road! My pace was very strong too. I started slowly, as I do with most long runs now, but after about 10 or 15 minutes, I was moving along at a good clip, probably something in the neighborhood of a 9- or 10-minute mile. (Ah, the imprecision of not tracking mileage!)
The hardest moment was at the very end of the run, with just 5 minutes to go, when my legs began to grind into the wall. Those 5 minutes were harder than all of the 75 minutes that preceded them. But since it was just 5 minutes, I held onto my run, keeping up the pace as best I could, until it was over. To me, that’s why endurance running is all about: enduring just long enough to turn your goal into your accomplishment. And with just four more training runs before the half-marathon, there isn’t much that stands between me and my goal. The main goal, as always, is to finish. But the other goal, the one I’ve never achieved? To break two hours in the half-marathon. I think it is possible to reach this goal on March 6, but I’m nervous. Nervous and hopeful, which is not a bad combination when facing something you’ve never done before. Wish me luck as we count down to the big race!