This week’s recap: The training schedule called for 30 miles. I abided by the two rest days, did a slightly longer than planned long run, and came out to 31.1 miles.
Sunday morning I had 15 miles on the schedule but was mentally shooting for 16 miles. I started panicking a little the night before because I realized I had never done more than 9 miles all alone on my own. There’s a reason I’m a self-described “serial half marathoner”. What a great way to keep a strong base of a 13 mile long run than going to fun races! And because of this, I just hadn’t really had to do that kind of distance in a solo training run before.
I didn’t set out with a definite route but instead picked a place to park my car and picked another place to stash some water and Gatorade in the bushes and thought I’d just figure it out as I went.
Let me add that I am a runner who does not do music on their runs. For me personally, I find it a big safety issue for the following reasons:
1) I often run at night
2) I often run on city-paved hike-and-bike trails. Bike-pedestrian accidents can be fatal!
3) I’m often on secluded trails that aren’t terribly busy, so while my city has a low crime rate, I don’t want to bump that up as a lack of awareness leads to a potentially dangerous situation.
I do feel running with music is a personal choice, so I don’t judge other individuals decision on the topic.
The first few miles weren’t too bad, but by mile 6 I already wanted to take a sharp object to my throat. This seemed ridiculous to me because I can do weekend after weekend of 13.1 mile races, but 6 on my own felt so boring. I think this feeling also hit sooner because I was really being smart about my pacing and had slowed it down about 30 seconds per mile from my typical comfortable half marathon time right now. Too many runners do their long runs too fast, but I can see why because it’s definitely more exciting.
About 6.5 miles in, I started tweeting at routine intervals of every couple miles to pass the time and track my progress. It was a great way to vent 140 characters of what I was feeling.
By mile 12 I was begging for it to be over but had outwitted myself purposely by traveling out 3 miles from my car starting at mile 9, so I had no choice but to run the 3 miles back to hit a minimum of 15 miles.
I finally finished the 16.05 miles in 3 hours and 40 minutes. A lot of my Twitter friends were telling me how much this is mental training as well as physical in doing that kind of distance. Many also insisted a) that it would get easier, and b) that doing it solo and without music is definitely tough.
So while I’m dreading 12 more weeks of long runs in some ways, I’m also rationally thinking through this. The way today felt about 16 miles is how a 10K used to feel, and then how a 15K felt, and then how the very very long 13.1 miles felt. It’s all relative, and as I adapt to the distance, I’m sure my feelings about it will also change.
Also, there’s something to be said about the beautiful race day weather San Francisco will afford versus the heat we’re already having in Texas for this run. And the adrenaline of 24,999 of my new best friends all striving for the half or full marathon achievement at the same time with thousands of spectators to keep us pumped up to the finish.
I can’t wait to see that finish line!
What’s Next? 34 miles next week which will be a new all-time high weekly mileage for me! Eek! Long run of 16 miles included in that over the Easter weekend.
Libby Jones has been running for 5 years, is a self-described “serial half-marathoner”, but has never attempted the marathon distance. She is also an active part of the Dallas-Fort Worth running community. She is the Founder and Race Director of the New Year’s Day Half Marathon in Allen, Texas; the Executive Race Director for Heels and Hills, a non-profit geared towards getting women fit and active; the North Texas State Representative for the Road Runners Club of America; past Dallas Running Club President & 2008 RRCA Scott Hamilton National Outstanding Club President Award Winner; and an RRCA-certified running coach. She’s also a wife to Steve and a mother to Marissa (3 yrs) and Sophie (3 1/2 months). Read her blog “The Active Joe” and follow her on Twitter @libbyruns