Sunday is long run day in my training schedule. I love it and I hate it. I love it because I get to see if I’m getting any better, and I hate it because the answer is usually not really…or not enough. Today I had 9 miles to run. Once again I was running alone, since my poor sister is still sick. Hopefully she starts to feel better. She is missing training runs of her own, and I want her company on these long runs. I had planned to meet up with Jack Rabbit on the path through town, and I did, for about a second!
I planned out my route so I would be running north on the path and would meet up with Kathy as she and her Running Room group were running south. I met up with them at about my 3.5 mile mark. I was so happy to see her! I would finally have some company! Well, she and her run mates are all WAY too fast for me. I lasted about a minute at their crazy pace and then said “Well, it was nice to see you. Have a good run.” There was no way I would be able to keep up that crazy pace. While it was so nice to meet up with her, it was so disheartening to watch her run away. I had psyched myself up to run strong for those first miles until I had company to keep me going. Watching them leave me in their dust sucked huge. I kept going and did well for the next bit, and actually saw Kath again when she came back to pick up one of her run mates who stopped to use the washroom. I made it about another minute with the speed demons and then was on my own again. I saw them one final time at their cooler break. They were all so nice, with words of encouragement for me and I headed off with them for the last part of my run. Again, keeping up for a minute and then dropping back to my more manageable pace.
At about the 6.5 mile mark things got bad. My legs started to seize up and my hamstrings and ass were killing me. I walked a lot, and it sucked. I’m 7 weeks into my training, I should be getting better, but I’m not sure I am. I tried not to beat myself up about it too much, keeping the thought that I’m going faster than everyone sitting on a couch. That little phrase might just be what gets me through this half marathon. I would run when I could and walked when I had to and just kept moving. In the end I finished my 9 miles in 1:45. Not great, but better than I was expecting.
I came home and entered this into a pace calculator app that I have, and based on 9 miles and this time, my half time would be 2:36. This is only 6 minutes slower than my goal for the race. This is very encouraging to me. If I can just run more of my long runs, I should be able to get in under my goal. It also tells me that when I do run, I am faster than I used to be. Kathy mentioned that to me too. I ran with her probably 5 or 6 years ago when we trained for a half marathon with a group of friends. She says compared to back then I’m definitely faster and she said that my stride looked really comfortable. Both of those things were very nice to hear. I’ve now got 5 weeks to improve my endurance so I can actually run more of these long runs.
Today was my first long run that I brought some “nutrition” along. I went to the Running Room yesterday and picked up a few different types of products to experiment and see which ones I like the best.
Today I tried the GU Energy Gel first. It was a bit rough to get down. It is so thick. It’s like eating a spoonful of jam straight. The flavour was pretty good, it was the consistency that got me. Once I washed it down with a bit of water it was okay. I took this 45 minutes into my run – just after Kathy and her fellow Jack Rabbits left me in their dust 🙂 I was trying to pay attention to how the gel made me feel. It didn’t upset my stomach, but I’m not sure it really gave me any more energy.
I was going to try the shot blocks when it was time for my next energy shot, but instead tried a Cliff Shot Gel that Kathy gave me when I met up with her and the gang at their cooler.
It tasted really good and seemed a bit smoother than the GU shot. I also broke it up into a few “sips”, taking a bit, then washing it down with water before taking some more. This made it seem a bit easier to get down. Again, I’m not sure if it gave me any more energy, but my the time I took this, I was a hurting unit. My legs were seizing and it was all I could do to keep moving. So who knows, maybe without I would still be out there crawling home!
Next week I will try the Cliff Shot Bloks and see how those are. A woman at the Running Room said they were the only thing that didn’t upset her stomach when she ran. I’ll let you know how they are next Sunday.
The best thing about running for 1:45 (and then I had another 10 minute walk home from the 9 mile mark) was that I burned 1080 calories. This pretty much means I can eat whatever I want today and not feel guilty about it! So, at my sons year-end hockey party this afternoon, I enjoy a BBQ’d Cheeseburger. It was so good! I haven’t had a burger in a long time, let alone one on a plain white bun. I don’t even remember the last time I ate a white bun. We are a whole wheat family all the way, but I wasn’t in charge of the buns for the BBQ so just ate what they had. It was delicious and I didn’t feel guilty about eating it at all. I also didn’t feel the least bit guilty about eating 2 home-made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. That is my favourite kind of cookie and one of the other hockey moms makes what might be the best version of it ever. Chewy, with chunks of chocolate. It was a small miracle that I could limit myself to two!
Now, as I write this, I am waiting for the kids to finish their homework. We were supposed to go out for dinner, but since homework is taking way longer than it should, it looks like it will be a cereal for dinner kind of night. Too bad, I was looking forward to something yummy. Oh well, I will probably consume fewer calories here than I would at a restaurant, which will hopefully translate to a lower number on the scale tomorrow.
One last thing. Today is the end of week 7 of my half marathon training. To date I have made all but 2 of my 35 scheduled runs. Not too bad. I have also covered a total of 120 miles, or 192 km so far. That’s nuts! Only 104 more training miles until Race Day!
How many miles do you have left before your next run? Or am I the only crazy one who looks at that sort of thing? 🙂