The Boston Marathon is just around the corner and this weekend I ran my longest long run before the race.
I ran a challenging 24 miles on Saturday. It tested me both physically and mentally.
Physically the run wasn’t a walk in the park. Twenty four miles can feel like it stretches out before you into eternity. Even by miles 5 or 6 I felt I hadn’t yet found my stride. I struggled to attain those brief moments of peace and relaxation only to have it slip away. Adding to the physical discomfort of the run, the weather was not cooperative. It started to snow or sleet or hail by starts and stops through the last 45 minutes. Also, the run came on the heels of a hard training week and my legs were not quite so fresh as I would have liked. Finally, did I mention it was a hilly 24 miles??
Mentally, the run was grueling. The weather just increased the volume of that little voice in my head that says “It’s so cold, why don’t we just do an hour and then go get a cup of coffee.” I was running an unfamiliar route and lost myself in the far reaches of Portland – the directions I had jotted down before leaving fell out of my pocket and finally I had to call a friend for roadside assistance. He gave me directions and soon enough I was on my way, but it really broke my stride. The last three miles were a constant struggle between the voice that says “Just walk” and the voice that says “You can do it.”
I completed the run slowly. There was no big sprint or surge as I neared the parking lot, more than 3 hours after I had left it. There was no Rocky-inspired fist raising as I finished. There was no “Eye of the Tiger” playing in the background. But 24 miles is 24 miles. And that sure feels good. Saturday Run Breakdown:
Distance: 24.8 miles
Gels: 1 Chocolate Outrage, 1 HammerGel Vanilla, 1 HoneyStinger Chocolate, 1 Chocolate Outrage
Comments: HoneyStinger is my all-time favorite. Available at your local REI.
Highlights: Experiencing hail, sleet, rain, snow and sun all in the same run.
Lowlights: Getting lost in Sellwood. Again.