This past Sunday, the pre-run jitters were alive and well. I ate well that morning, breakfast lovingly supplied by Steph, and I had a lazy morning, that I’m beginning to think was *too* lazy. The sheer amount of time I spent in a chair, willing myself to do anything else, feels like a major contributor on how hard it was to get out the door.
Once I got up and selected clothes, filled my camelbak, and picked my route, it still took me another hour to ‘shake off’ those pre-run feelings and get out the door for my second 9 mile run.
To make these long runs really count, I’ve been religiously observing a warmup and cooldown, by starting and finishing 0.5-1.0 miles from my house. This serves a bunch of functions in addition to those that warmups/cooldowns are known to serve.
My Warmup lets me:
- …identify any sore spots and poke them or change my cadence, before I feel like stopping for an extra stretch will ‘rob’ me of pace and time.
- …set the data fields on my Garmin to whatever I want to see (usually Distance, Pace, Heartrate and clocktime).
- …adjust other gear a bit; retie my shoes, identify bunched up feelings in my socks, hike up my man-tights like a nervous ballet dancer.
- …pads a mile or so of uncounted distance onto my total, so that I can have the confidence that there’s more ‘in the tank’ as it where, when I go to increase the mileage again.
My cooldown lets me:
- …know what it feels like to be tired, but still able to run, or even too tired to really run but still able to keep moving.
- …avoid the dreaded miscalculation that leaves me having to run past my house.
- …end my run not at my doorstep.
- …get further away from my house, which makes me feel more adventurous and inspired.
So, in that I ran to the entrance of my subdivision, and started my Garmin there. The warmup had found and fixed a sock problem, and calmed my nerves, but my legs gave a premature signal of tiredness. So I took it easy as I ran out along Savage Road. The rain hadn’t started in earnest yet, but I could tell it would.
As I entered Lower Huron Metropark, the rain started to fall more heavily; on a footbridge across the Huron River, at about 4 miles into my run (right after my first gu), the rain actually briefly turned to hail for a few seconds. As I said on twitter, just enough for me to brag about; not really enough to affect my run.
The park in the rain is a much quieter place. No cyclists breezed past me, no other runners were out. No dog walkers anxiously held their leashes close, envisioning lawsuits. I only saw two other people, a man and young child, inexplicably playing tennis in the pouring rain as I crested the largest rise on the footpath I was running on.
By the time I exited the park and was running back my motivation was staying strong, but the northerly run along Huron River completely sapped that. It was a wet and miserable road, with cars too close to me, and the rain starting to puddle enough to threaten wet feet. Ultimately it was the cars, and not the puddles, that got the wet feet prize, as a towed U-Haul trailer hit me with a wave of water, soaking my feet through. The SmartWool socks did their job though, and while I wouldn’t say my feet felt nice, they didn’t start to chafe, and they weren’t freezing.
The 9 mile path I ran these past two weeks requires I run a bit past the start, back into my neighborhood, before I stop. I try to use that as a really clear motivation, and really run out that last 0.25 mile or so into my subdivision. It worked really well and I finished the run with an approximate 1:39:00 time, which is an 11:00 pace for 9 miles of running. I finished out the 0.75 home, sometimes stopping to walk, exhuberant. I had been out on the road for about 2:10:00 when I walked back in the door. So all things considered, I think I’m getting closer to my 13.1 mile goal. (If I run a 12:00 pace, I’ll be on my feet for about 2:37:00)