Confession: I dilly-dally before long runs. Big time.
Oh, I see you other runners out there at 7 AM on a Saturday, hoofing it through Portland, rain or shine, getting in your miles and sitting down to coffee by 10 AM. Just who do you think you are, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed runner types? And what is your secret? I’d really like to know.
You see, I woke up Saturday morning with every intention of being out the door by 8AM. Plenty of time, I thought, to eat something, drink some coffee and get ready. But no. I seem genetically programmed to loaf around before running big. At about 7:45 I decided that I NEEDED to read the news, then I decided I MUST have a second cup of coffee, then I talked with a friend, drank some water, took a shower, found my favorite pair of socks, changed twice, switched hats, pondered what route I should take and examined the forecast. And wouldn’t you know, it was 10 AM and I was still inside.
Was all of that really necessary, Heather?
No, of course not. But for whatever reason, I specialize in pre-run putzing.
Finally it seemed that whatever internal power-lounging quota was met, and soon the lethargic feelings I’d awoken with vanished. I was jazzed to run and couldn’t wait to get started.
My first goal for the long run was to nail down the feeling and pace of running long on the road. For the past couple of months, my long runs have been trail-based. That isn’t a bad thing. Trail running makes me a happier stronger runner, but road running can wear you down differently, and I wanted to gauge what kind of pace I could sustain on the road.
My second goal for the run was to start slow, build the pace gradually and finish strong. I decided to wear a heart rate monitor to keep track (I aimed to keep it just around 155 bpm for the first half, and under 165 for the second half)
My third goal wasn’t a goal as much as an experiment: I own a pair of Saucony Fastwichs which I love for track workouts. If they’re good on the track, they must be stellar on the roads, I reasoned Running 21 mile would be a perfect test to see if my theory was correct. (I’m sure you can see where this faulty logic is going.)
Thus began my long road run.
I will not bore you with the mile-by-mile recap. Let’s just fast-forward to the summary. This long run rocked. It truly did. I stayed conservative in the first half, I drank plenty of water, I ate more electrolyte tabs then I thought neccessary, I GU’d adquauately (if not sufficiently) . I thought postive thoughts. My second half was much faster than the first, and my splits were super exciting.
In fact, my splits were so smile-inducing that I’m afraid to type them and hex myself for the marathon. But let me just say – they were good.
The only unpleasant part of the run was my shoe choice. Somwhere around mile 18 or 19, my feet started to ache. Badly. And if it were possible for the balls of my feet to cramp, I’m sure they would have. No wonder. I had decided to wear racing flats on a 22 mile run. On concrete. Just what was I thinking? My feet let me know just how displeased they were with my choice:
We are the shoe experts in this operation. We may be calloused. We may be badass, but we need a little love. Just a smidge. These shoes… these shoes do not offer even a smidge of cushion. We could be running in flip-flops…
What I do know is this. At Mile 21, my feet hit the wall. They were done for.
Conclusion: I ran my feet into the ground – and my legs still felt strong. Good job, legs! You ladies rock.
A note about the shoes: The Fastwichs are GREAT shoes. Just maybe not for the marathon.