Sunday, September 18, 2011

25 miles

As previously mentioned, Saturday was my last long run before the race in Virginia. Conditions weren't quite ideal. Even after nearly a week of rest, my legs didn't feel fully recovered from all the running in early September. I could feel the beginnings of a cold coming on. And, for various scheduling reasons, I had to be out the door at 7:00 AM.

But, on the other hand, it was unseasonably cool - 52 degrees - meaning perfect weather for running.

For my long runs, I frequently run a 3.15 mile loop around a local park and golf course. The advantages are that it's flat, there is minimal traffic, there are public restrooms, and I can leave a cooler in the car stocked with with Gatorade and whatever else I want that day.

The disadvantages are that it's boring and that by my sixth loop, I really feel tempted to cut the run short. Every excuse possible went through my head on Saturday - 19 miles is long enough to develop the requisite amount of fitness, I don't want to injure myself, etc., etc. But I had told you guys that I was going to run 25, and I sure didn't want to come back with only 19 to show.

It was pretty much all mental, though. By the time I finished that lap, I was raring to run my heart out for one last lap and see what was left in the tank. I held back for a slow mile 23 (10:55), then ran mile 24 in 10:01, and mile 25 in 9:48. OK, so there wasn't much left in the tank! But I finished without injuries, and with an overall pace of 10:26, which is faster than any run over 15 miles I have done at the past.

I'm going to run five miles further, but I'm hopeful that cooler weather, rested legs, better pre-race nutrition, better in-race fueling, and a dose of adrenaline will push me along to an even faster time.

After which, I just have to figure out how to increase my speed to beat you guys in the marathon.


  1. Awesome. Nice work! I wouldn't worry too much about your speed at this point - Eric and I still have yet to run anything close to 25 miles, much less do it faster than you've done it. How did the recovery go? Did you do anything special (ice bath, stretching, etc.?)

    Interesting that you do that distance in such a short loop. I was actually thinking just yesterday that it would be easier to achieve a good 12 run by doing one of my standard 6 miles loops twice, although my loops don't have the benefits that you have since i leave home and run around time. Seems like a better way to go about it than running out for half the distance you want to run and then go back. Or the other idea I had was to have someone drop me off 13 miles from home.

  2. I do the three mile loop mainly because it is a five minute drive from my home, and has all the conveniences I mentioned. If there was a longer loop with same conveniences, I'd do it.

    Running and out for half the distance and then back can be good because once you make it to the halfway point, you are forced to go the whole distance. I would definitely recommend it if you know you have the physical capacity for a run, but aren't sure if you'll be mentally up for finishing. The same would be true if you have someone drop you off a distance from home.

    In either case, once you start running for a long time, make sure your route can provide you bathroom breaks, if necessary. Gas stations usually work - just carry a dollar so you can buy some candy in case they are for "customers" only.

    As for recovery. It's been my habit to take a cold bath after long runs. No ice, but I just run straight cold water. It feels great on hot days. However, this weekend it was in the 50's and breezy. When I came home and got in the cold bath, I started shivering, I guess because I never got that hot in the first place. I immediately jumped out.

    Other than that, my post-run involved a couple bottles of beer and watching the Red Sox. I'm told that I should stretch, but I've never found that it makes a difference for me.

    The recovery has been great! As I mentioned, my back hurt. But my legs didn't feel it too badly. By yesterday, I was back to normal.

  3. Man, I can't believe you don't stretch after running, much less such a long run. I like the feeling of molding my muscles into the shape I want after they're nice and warmed up. I'm with you on the beer, however!

    I like the idea of scoping out a gas station for the bathroom breaks - always an important factor for me to consider, esp. on my morning runs. (I was actually a bit surprised that this month's RW didn't mention this issue all in their morning running article.)