Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The post about the long run that made me feel like a rock star

Yesterday I woke up at 6:30am (on my vacation) to do my long run.  The weather was not too agreeable here in the Hammer.  It was still dark at 7am, it was super windy, there were ominous clouds in the sky and I could hear rumblings of thunder in the distance.  I kept waiting for a storm to happen...and it never did.  I was pissed because I missed my window of opportunity.  By the time 9am rolled around, it was too late for me to head out for a long run.  So I settled for an 8K up and down the escarpment.

This was a lesson well learned.  With God as my witness, I will never give away a long run day again! Hubby could have done a shorter run on Sunday to allow me to do my long run.  In hindsight that would have made better sense, but for whatever reason, I decided to acquiesce. NOT. EVER. HAPPENING. AGAIN.  And I'll tell you why.  I spent all day Monday trying to talk myself out of doing the long run all together.  I even dreamed last night that I didn't do it, then planned on lying to you all about it.  What the what?  Not at all cool.  That dream scared me and made me haul my ass out of bed at 6:15am (on my vacation) this morning. I drank my energy powder, brought a pouch of energy gummies and left my home at 6:50am to begin my 26K (16M) run.

All in all I'm not too disappointed with my pace.
I had 6 big hills, and crampy toes to walk out 4x.

The hardest thing about doing a run is getting out the door.  Today was no exception.  But once I started running, I just kept focusing on how far I had to run alone.  Shouldn't phase me.  I have done lots of long runs solo.  It was daunting to know I'd be running alone for over three hours.  So I just had my morning show (Q-107) to keep me company.   It normally takes me a kilometer or two before I get into my running groove.  All I thought about after my breathing finally regulated at the second kilometer was I still have 24 more to go.

I was definitely anxious during this run.  I was nervous about my toes cramping and being in a lot of pain.  I kept telling myself, "if it gets too hard, I'll just stop".  I knew I couldn't give in that easy.  I felt confident about the first 10K.  I worked really hard at changing my running form.  It's hard to constantly think about it when I had so much other stuff on my mind too.  All centered around running, but important shit none the less.  I decided to do 2x 10K loops around my house, then finish with a 6K loop in the opposite direction.  The 10K loops have a few substantial hills in them. I chose the 6K in the other direction because it is relatively flat.  I figured by the time I got to 20K, I'd need a bit of a break.

When I reached 13K, I didn't feel like I'd be able to do another 13K.  I was feeling sluggish and I forgot that I'm supposed to eat energy gummies at 10K.  So I downed 4 energy gummies and within 10 minutes, I got my momentum back.  If you look at my splits (below) 19K was my fastest. I was just so eager to get to 20K because that's when I promised myself a walk break (to stretch out my crampy toes) and 4 more gummies.  So 20K is my slowest.

Now to the feet.  Surprisingly, my toes did pretty darn well.  I didn't wear the orthotics.  Instead I focused on running the way Graham showed me and although my toes did cramp a few times, I was able to walk the cramps out and return to running another 5K before they would cramp again. That is a HUGE improvement. It definitely restored my confidence.  Lately I have been dreading long runs because the further the distance got, the more painful my toes got.  Today's run made me feel like I can do anything.

Tomorrow is definitely a rest day.  I ran 4 days in a row and although my legs and feet are tired, I just need a good night's sleep.  Thursday brings me to hill repeats and I'm running six hills.  Friday is my regularly scheduled rest day, I'm running a short 6K on Saturday and returning to my regularly scheduled long run on Sunday.  This Sunday is a scale back week so I'm only doing 19K. That's so odd to say "only 19K".  I remember when 19K was my dreaded long run (this past winter).  Now it seems like something so doable.

My recovery lunch after my run was salmon cakes, sauteed cabbage and half a sweet potato.  I made 2 salmon cakes each for both hubby and I and I left a salmon cake.  Although I was famished, I was full after just one with a serving of cabbage.  I had some cantaloupe as a snack in the afternoon and I have been drinking water non stop all day.  It's strange to me that after long runs, I'm not more hungry than I have been. All I've been thinking about today is going to bed early.

When I think that 18 months ago I weighed 230 pounds and couldn't comfortably run for a minute, the distances that I run now baffle me.  I was the woman who couldn't.  I couldn't do anything physical because I had joint issues, heel spurs and back issues.  All these problems were brought on by the extra weight I carried.  Loveena sent me a message today and asked how I can run so much.  Well Loveena, I conditioned myself to run this much.  It took a lot of hard work to get to where I am today.  I am not a fast runner, but I have endurance.

There are a few things that I learned about running.  Running is not for everyone.  You either love it or you hate it.  And you definitely cannot outrun a bad diet.  I eat fairly strict Paleo.  My weight does not change.  I can tell you right now, if I ate whatever I wanted to and still ran the distances I do, I'd definitely gain weight. That is just not somewhere that I am prepared to go.  Therefore, I will continue to run like I do and eat Paleo.

Whether it's running or weight training, or swimming, or cycling, or yoga, or cross fit, or a team sport, if you can get yourself to try something new, you just may find that you become passionate about it.  If you had seen me two years ago, or even 18 months ago, you'd never have pegged me as a runner.  But here I am.  A runner who just completed a 26K run.  And all because I stepped outside my comfort zone and walked into the Running Room eighteen months ago.  If you take a chance, you just may find something awesome waiting for you!