Yesterday was my last long run in the lead up to my first half marathon. It was also the longest I have ever run. And boy, did it feel that way!
I was a little apprehensive heading into yesterday’s run. Mainly I was nervous about experiencing troubled tummy again after I did last week. I have a pretty resilient stomach, not prone to upset. So when I did have some issues for a few hours following last week’s 11 miler, I was concerned. It was the first time I had taken two Gu’s on a run, which previously I had no issue with. I was debating if I should try something else, but if I had been fine on previous runs with just the one, what was the likelihood that I was suddenly irritated by it? With just one more chance to really try this out before my race, I did research a bit and found some information pertaining to taking Advil before a run that can cause issues with running gels, which is what I had done. So I decided to just try the two again and not take Advil. I also decided to try taking it later in the run. And I’m pleased to report I was fine. I should be good to go for the Rock ‘n’ Roll.
I must say, I’ve been surprised by how much I don’t mind the Gu’s, and even like them in some cases. Normally this is the kind of thing I don’t like- artificially flavored stuff like fruit candies make me gag more often than not. The Gu’s have been a pleasant surprise. Much superior to the pretzels and Gatorade combo I’d been trying out before. I think I’m going to go with two Espresso for the race.
The run itself was a tough one- my toughest to date. I think it would have gone a little easier had I not slacked off since a DISASTROUS run Thursday morning that really got to me. Plus, I was a single parent from last Wednesday until yesterday afternoon, and had some after-work commitments for a few days that just made for a more hectic schedule. Had I been better about yoga and my regular routine, I think the physical aspects would have been better.
Basically, my hamstrings and glutes were pretty tight the entire run, and were particularly bad somewhere in the middle. I had to stop and stretch a few times. This I definitely mark up to not enough yoga. I also hit a bit of a mental wall a couple of times, feeling like I wanted to walk pretty badly because the run wasn’t flowing as nicely as I’d like. The last push up the hill that runs through Old Town to my apartment was not great- I usually pick up the pace and finish on a high, but just didn’t have it in me this time. To sum up, this run tested my limits.
That is not to say, however, that this was a bad run. Not all tough runs are bad runs. Running is often about challenging your stamina and physical abilities, and while it may be a struggle, overcoming that challenge is often the reward. And that’s how I felt about this run. I may not have run as fast as I would have liked- about an 11:15 minute pace- and I may not have experienced the total euphoria I usually feel with most of my long runs. But it was the longest I had ever run, and 12 miles is far! Most people in my life, including my soccer-superstar and fitness fanatic Dad, can’t fathom running that far. So it should be challenging, but I did it. It has given me the confidence that if the Rock ‘n’ Roll is more of a slog than a free-flowing run, I have the mental toughness to keep going.
So, while not the best, I still chalk this up to a good run. The weather was beautiful- I’ve sure chosen the right ‘winter’ to train for my first half- and the new parts of the Mount Vernon Trail that I explored were spectacular. That’s a good run in my book.
Now I begin winding down. I was in a bit of a fitness funk last week due to the jumbled schedule and some sleep issues. I’m determined to get back on my game this week . So aside from today, which will be a total rest day to give the muscles some relief- the hammies and glutes are still sore despite stretching and foam rolling yesterday and this morning, although much better than before either session- I’m going to really work on cross training, strength training, yoga and some easy, hopefully pleasant runs to get me in the right mindset for two weeks from now.
Planned Workout Schedule:
Monday: Rest (aside from dog walk)
Tuesday: Morning spin class, afternoon core and arms strength training
Wednesday: Four mile morning run, afternoon lower body strength training
Thursday: Morning Power Hour Yoga, afternoon core and arms strength training
Friday: Afternoon mall run, or if it rains lower body strength training
Saturday: Morning spin class
Sunday: Longish run (distance TBD, but I’m thinking 6-7 miles), evening yoga class