I changed into my running clothes and decided to drive to a spot to run along a road that I rarely like to run on (the sidewalks are uneven, there are traffic lights, etc.). I wanted to keep my pace pretty slow today, and figured running in a different spot may help.
Running at a slower pace is really hard (mentally) for me, but I would really like to work on slowing my pace for my long runs--mainly to enjoy them more. With marathon training starting soon, I don't want to dread my long runs! And now that my big sub-2:00 half-marathon goal is out of the way, I don't feel pressure to run fast. :)
According to the McMillan Calculator, I should keep my long run pace between 8:57 and 10:16/mi. I decided to shoot for around 9:30, and only look at my Garmin once per mile to reassess.
It was hot outside. Like, reallyfuckinghot, and I almost changed my mind altogether about running. I know that those of you from Texas or Florida, or other hot and humid states, probably think that 82 degrees is a nice temp, but for this girl (who likes 30-40 degrees for running), it was HOT. And really humid.
I brought my handheld water bottle with me, because I knew I'd need it in the heat. I headed out for an 8-mile lollipop route, and then I figured I'd just do an out-and-back route after that to get in 12 miles. I started running at a pace that felt comfortably slow; I was aiming for 9:30. When my Garmin beeped at mile 1, I saw 9:29--not bad! Usually I have a hard time with judging my pace by feel. I really started having second thoughts during mile two. If I had been running at home, I probably would have done four miles and called it quits, but because I drove and parked somewhere, I was invested. I kept going.
I finished mile two in 9:30. Mile three is when I felt myself slowing down. Then miles four and five were on a gravel path through a park, in full sun, and I would have happily accepted a ride home if someone had asked ;) At that point, I wasn't sure that I'd even be able to maintain under a 10:16 pace! It's amazing how much the heat and humidity affect my pace.
Just before mile five, I stopped at a water fountain in the park and refilled my water bottle. I was really fighting in my head whether I should just finish the run at mile eight, when I got back to the car, of if I could stick it out another four miles. I debated this the entire way back! I stopped again for another water refill at a fountain about a mile from my car.
At around mile 7.9, I was stopped by a train. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty happy to take a legit break ;) That was when I decided to do a compromise--I'd run out an extra mile and back, and that way I'd get in 10 miles--not quite the 12 I'd planned on, but not just 8, either. The last two miles felt like they took forever. During mile 10, I couldn't get my heart rate back down into Zone 3; it was in Zone 4, and even though I felt like I was going really slow, the heat was really affecting me.
I saw a billboard advertising $1 soft drinks/sweet tea at McDonald's, and suddenly I wanted a Diet Coke in the worst way (strange, because I am not usually a pop drinker). I thought about that Diet Coke the entire last mile, and planned to get one on the way home.
Finally hit 10 miles, and was SO happy to be done! I was completely drenched in sweat. I was really proud of myself for sticking it out, despite the heat.
My average pace was 9:57/mi. Average heart rate was 151 (goal was141-156 bpm).
On the way home, I drove through McD's and got a large Diet Coke. I drank the whole thing on the way home, and it really hit the spot. I spent a lot of PointsPlus the last couple of days because of my stomach issue, so I probably won't be getting a long run treat today.
I think part of the reason I