Saturday, April 10, 2010

Training Run No. 6

The Minneapolis Marathon training group run this morning was nerve-racking for me. The farthest I have ever run is 16.16 miles (last summer), and this morning was going to be my first attempt at running 17.

I don't dream often, and when I do I can't remember much, but I distinctly remember waking up three times last night: the first time I dreamt that I finished the run flawlessly; the second time I dreamt that I had to walk miles 13 through 17; the third time I dreamt I missed the run altogether.

If my dreams hadn't messed with me enough during the night, my mind was playing very conscious games with me during my drive to the route this morning. The group was planning on running 14 miles this week, but I headed out a half hour early to fit in my additional 3 miles beforehand. I wore heavier gear while it was still chilly out, and planned on shedding those clothes as I stopped at my car before the group took off for the "real" run. I distinctly remember thinking, "Bring your phone, because you're going to break your hip during these 3 miles, and you'll be stranded before anyone even gets here."

Break my hip? Sure, I've been a little sore and the idea of finding a vegan glucosamine has driven me to do a bunch of internet research lately, but how's that for positive thinking going into the longest run (to date) of my life?

The three miles I had this morning to myself were wonderful. The trees are still bare along the Mississippi River but they are beginning to bud, and the river was perfectly still this morning. Still water is not atypical for lakes, but it was very strange to see the Mighty Mississip so calm.
I was keeping my eye on my watch during my introductory 3-miler. I didn't want to go out too fast and expend too much energy, but I also didn't want to be late for the group run. Last week I got there after the 11-minute milers left, forcing me to play catch up for the first mile. I told myself to go slow and pace myself for how I wanted to run the entire route -- and not fall and break my hip.

This was Team Ortho's 14-mile route for this morning. Before the run, I ran miles 14 - 12.5 on this map, and then headed back before everyone got there, essentially running the tail end of the training run twice. Gooood morning, everyone! I got back as Caleb was giving announcements, and I headed off with the 9:30 group within maybe a minute of dropping off my extra gear at my car. It couldn't have worked out any better in terms of me not waiting around and letting my heart rate drop.
I seriously don't think about much when I am running. I find that I hardly listen to my music and I don't have very many thoughts I can pinpoint. I've been more conscious about trying to remember what I think about, but I really believe my mind goes blank and I completely zone out. This is bad when I'm running near traffic, but I think this mental quietness is what makes me love running so much.

This morning I was trying to force my attention to keeping my pace slow, watching my breathing, and making sure I didn't get too thirsty. I packed two peanut butter tortilla wraps (thanks, Kathleen! Works like a charm!) and was trying to gauge when I should eat them. Instead of doing my usual "take one at 1 hour, and then eat a bite every 30 minutes after that" routine, I was trying to tune into when my body wanted me to take them rather than what I thought it needed. I ended up eating a half of a tortilla at mile 12, but that was it.

Some crewers out this morning; they created pretty much the only motion on the water.
Between watching my breathing, watching my footing (I ran on the trails instead of the pavement as much as I could because of the soreness I've had in my hips), and watching my water and food intake, I felt like I was fairly distracted from noticing how far I was running. Starting the group run with 3 miles on my watch made me feel accomplished early on in the run. The 8-mile mark meant I had single-digit miles remaining. The 10-mile mark is always a big one for me because it's one of my favorite distances to run. The 11-mile mark told me I had a 10k left. Every mile from then on was another mile I could mentally check off.

Mile 15 was when I began to feel tired and sore. I felt like my knees were throbbing and my hips weren't moving (but again, my splits prove to me that even if it is physical pain, it really isn't slowing me down). It's been a while since I've taken a crappy video, so I took one this morning when I was approaching what I thought was a race right around my mile 15. Now I remember why I don't take videos often -- people are actually out running when the weather is nice! In the winter I could take a long video without running into another soul. I put my phone down when someone approached me as to not look like a complete fool, so apologies for the few seconds of watching my legs move. :)

video
"I think I'm running in a race, uhhhh, and I didn't know about this one."

As I passed this group, I saw signs that it was a cancer survivor reunion. A few were running that race on the road, others were doing jumping jacks in the grass, and another group was doing yoga down by the water. The energy from this group of survivors gave me exactly what I needed to finish my final two miles strong. I reminded myself to not slouch, to hold my head up and keep my posture straight, and just run really slow until I got back to my car. I didn't need to prove anything or finish in any amount of time -- I just needed to get there.

I took every water stop available to me but one. With so many running groups out, it's hard to know which belongs to us and which belongs to someone else, so the one I missed was purely accidentally. Team Ortho is good about labeling their coolers, but because they've had a lot of sponsors volunteering to provide fluids during the group runs, the logo wasn't on their stops today. I brought my Amphipod handheld and filled it with water every chance I had, and I took a cup of PowerAde at two of the four stops. I did a great job of staying hydrated, if I might say so myself, and this is usually an issue for me.

By the time I got to the end of the route, I felt pretty good physically and even better mentally! If you take a look at my race times on the right-hand sidebar of my blog, you'll see that I finished a 25k (15.535 miles) in 2:35:46 last summer. I'd say adding on 1.5 miles in less than two additional minutes is pretty good progress!
My first dream last night must have been some sort of premonition because I can't imagine doing a better 17-mile run than I did this morning. Except ... I did get my first "injury" of the season. Toes are funny things and mine are certainly no beauts either, but isn't this the weirdest spot for a blister?
I have a feeling I'll be losing a toenail in the near future, as this one constantly gives me trouble. I even cut it down before the run today in hopes it wouldn't bother me.

I hope you are all having a great weekend. :)

17.02mi splits (2h 37m 35s):
1: 9:11
2: 9:29
3: 9:04
4: 9:27
5: 9:13**
6: 9:16**
7: 9:11**
8: 9:13**
9: 9:13**
10: 9:12**
11: 9:13**
12: 9:12**
13: 9:18
14: 9:23
15: 9:17
16: 9:08
17: 9:12
.02: 0:15
Air Temp: 55F

**The consistency for these middle miles blows my mind...

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