I'm going to write my posts a little backwards--today, I'll write about my long run, and then tomorrow I'll write about my second day in St. Louis. I'm going to do a series of four posts (on Saturdays) that talk a little about my cats--not enough to bore anyone to death, but I learned some cool things at Purina ONE headquarters, and I'm (attempting to) integrate some of it into my cats' daily lives. I'm not a cat blogger (I don't even know if there really is a cat blogger niche), so I promise to keep it to a minimum for the non-cat people ;) Cats just happen to be one of my favorite things to talk about!
Anyway, I slept like a rock last night--that NEVER happens! I needed a good night's sleep so badly, too. My kids didn't have school today, so I thought I was going to have to do my long run on the treadmill. I really didn't want to do that because I ran on the treadmill last Friday. I asked my mom if the boys could go to her house for a little bit, so I could run at the Metropark, and she said sure.
It was 43 degrees and sunny, and felt like a good day to run outside. I planned to run 14 miles, rather than the usual 12. I'm kinda-maybe-sorta toying with the idea of running a marathon this spring. In seven weeks. In Rockford, IL. Crazy? Probably. But I've got my base training down solid, and I know I could be ready by then. My sister lives in Rockford, so I can stay with her for the weekend, and she's running the half-marathon. I would love to be there when she runs her first half!
The other reason I am thinking about it is because when I run Chicago in October, it won't be for ME--I'm going to be running with Andrea, since it's her first, and I'll be doing it solely for fun. Since my pace has improved so dramatically from my last marathon, I thought it might be cool to try and do my best. I haven't decided for sure yet--I'm going to run a couple more long runs and see if I still feel like it. ;)
Anyway, so I drove to a school near the Metropark trail, and I didn't really have a specific route in mind. I just figured I'd do two out-and-backs from the car. Since it's spring, and I was outside running, I decided to stop at the bottom of every mile and take a picture from my point of view. That way you can kind of come along on my run with me, except I do all the running :)
I actually did this 14-miler without my iPod. I used to run without it all the time, and I still don't wear it for races, but I've gotten kind of dependent on it lately. Something we were told in the RRCA coaching class is that we should never run with headphones, and we are to teach our athletes/clients not to run with headphones. So I'm going to go back to not using them, at least most of the time.
Mile 1- 8:50
I started on the trail at the high school parking lot, and then about a half-mile in, I entered the Metropark. I started hearing a weird clicking noise, and knew right away it was my shoelace hitting against my foot pod (the foot pod is plastic, and the plastic part of the shoelace was tapping against it with each step--so annoying). So I stopped for a second to fix it.
Mile 2- 8:31
I really had to pee. I considered stopping in the woods, but I had come across a couple of other runners, and didn't want to blind anyone with my white butt. I knew there was a bathroom just after the spot where I took this photo, so I prayed I could make it until then.
Mile 3- 8:47
The bathroom was closed. I almost cried. I knew there was a bathroom open year--round at mile 3.5ish, so I just kept going. The lake was really pretty (unfortunately, you can't see it in this pic).
Mile 4- 8:48
Made it to the bathroom, and I considered leaving one of my shirts there to pick up later. I had worn two long-sleeved tech shirts, and I was pretty warm. I decided to just bear with the heat until I got to the Jeep, and if I was still too hot, I'd ditch the shirt then. I turned around at the bathroom, and headed back along the route. The wind was BRUTAL along this stretch. My pace slowed, and I had to push harder to try and maintain pace.
Mile 5- 8:53
I hate this spot of the Metropark. I have bad memories of running in the heat with Jessica here, and feeling like I was going to die. It's wide open with no shade for a long stretch, and in the summer, it's killer.
Mile 6- 8:47
I started thinking about how once I got to the car, I was only going to be halfway done. I started to think of excuses to stop early and call it a day (something that goes through my head for EVERY run), but I knew I'd end up doing the whole thing. I passed right by the Jeep just before reaching mile 7, and decided to keep both shirts on.
I passed right by the Jeep, and decided to keep both shirts on. As soon as I hit mile 7, I decided to slow my pace for the rest of the run. I wanted to run without looking at my watch, and trying to maintain a comfortable pace, where I could hold a conversation (if I had someone to converse with). I haven't run at that comfortably pace for a long time, so I had no idea what it was!
Mile 8- 9:17
This mile felt like it took forever. I was running at what felt to be a very slow pace, and I refused to look at my watch. I just kept telling myself, "It's not a race! There is no reason to push the pace." When I finished this mile, and saw 9:17, I was surprised that it wasn't a 10+ minute mile. So I learned that my "comfy" pace is between 9:15-9:20.
Mile 9- 9:20
I kept with the slower pace, just trying to enjoy the run. I went over the expressway, which is a tough hill (the only hill I ever do!). I was glad I had brought my handheld water bottle with me, because I felt like I needed some water at this point.
Mile 10- 9:13
I spent this whole mile pretty much trying to guess at what point my turn-around would be. I knew I'd have to turn around at mile 10.6, so I was trying to figure out, from memory, where that was on the road.
Mile 11- 9:15
At the turn-around point, I ate a margarita-flavored Shot Blok. I haven't used any Gu or running fuel at all since my marathon, but I want to get used to it for marathon training. I happen to love the margarita-flavored Shot Bloks!
Mile 12- 9:14
I was really thirsty during this mile, and I only had about 1/4 of my water left. There was a rec center at mile 11.7 or so, and I went inside to ask if they had a water fountain I could use to refill my bottle. Thankfully, they did. So I gulped what was left, and then refilled. Only two miles to go!
Mile 13- 8:50
It's strange, but my body has gotten so used to running 12 mile long runs that I was starting to feel achy at mile 12.1! It was right on cue. I tried a technique I learned about in my RRCA class. When I was tired and felt like slowing down, I did a short sprint instead. I would look at a point ahead of me (like the stop sign) and run hard until I reached the stop sign. It actually helped a lot!
Mile 14- 8:53
This mile was rough. I was tired, and really wanted to stop. I kept looking at the distance on my watch, and when I got close, I noticed that I totally overshot my 14 miles. When I heard the beep of my watch, signaling 14 miles, I pressed stop and then took this picture. My car was about a half mile ahead of this spot!
I walked for a little bit, planning to walk the whole way to the car, but then changed my mind and ran it instead. I felt SO good when I was done. I was surprised by the fact that I didn't miss my iPod at ALL.
I stretched for a minute by the car. My mom sent me a text saying that Eli needed new shoes because one of the straps on his current ones broke. I drove right to Wal-Mart, and I'm sure I smelled awesome after running 14 miles.
I was right by the mall (where Mrs. Fields is located) and briefly considered getting a cookie for my long run treat, but ice cream was sounding so much better today. I stopped at Kroger on the way home and bought some Butterfinger ice cream. The whole pint is 18 PP, which is actually less than the cookie sandwich.
I was just going to write that next Friday, I won't be doing a long run because my goal half-marathon is on Saturday. I just double checked the date, and it's not until the 13th! I don't know what I was thinking. So I guess I'll be running 16 miles next Friday! My days feel so screwed up since I was out of town last weekend and again Wed-Thurs.
I want to think of something fun to wear to my race. It's called the Martian Half-Marathon, so it's kind of alien-themed. Any ideas?? I was thinking maybe this would be a good race for my muscle pants ;)