Sweet success! This morning’s run was fantastic. 12.3 miles in 1hr: 47min: 26sec. That works out to an 8:43 pace, quite a bit faster than I’d planned (32 seconds a mile), but Marc and I just fed off of each other and kept going. In fact, we beat my Crim 10 mile time by more than two minutes. Our slowest mile was the first, at 9:15 and our fastest was mile eight at 8:17. Calories burned: 1,442 which I am currently replacing with a tall glass of chocolate milk (thanks Christos), and a bowl of Grateful Jim’s awesome venison and bean chili with a couple servings of crumbled tortilla chips thrown in.
I really paid attention to my body during this run so that I could make it through and then have something to write about this afternoon – it’s kind of funny what writing your own blog will do – and this run gave me a lot. First of all, before I left, I had my doubts. This was the farthest I’d run in about a year and a half. I figured all of the riding would help, and it did, but I had that little nag in the back of my head that would pop up and try to convince me that I had a lot to worry about. I kept it in perspective though and was fairly fired up to just get going. This was a really big deal for my hopes in completing that half IM in September. I figured that if I start with the longer miles now, then when spring hits I’ll be used to the run enough that throwing in a 30 mile ride on top shouldn’t be too bad. Then when summer kicks in, it’s just a matter of doing what I normally do and swimming across the lake and back a few times before going out for the run. This will radically change my initial plan, but it makes a lot more sense because I can get started now, rather than waiting until spring. If I haven’t articulated this well enough yet, my goal is to run across the finish line strong in September, not crawl – I want to be able to cherish all six hours of that race.
With that said, we couldn’t have picked a better day to start out my big miles. All I had to wear was a running shirt, my jacket, my gloves and a hat. For the lower half, I had a pair of compression shorts and running tights (rules be damned). The hat came off in the first mile and stored nicely in the back pocket of my jacket (thank you cycling jacket for your many awesome pockets). The gloves were off a few miles later and went in the other back pocket.
Let’s get to the meat, shall we? I was a little nervous about our second and third mile pace being too fast (8:23 and 8:29) and mentioned something to Marc about it so we slowed it down to 8:45-9:10 over the next four miles. That felt great so we just kept going. I was in Zone 3 for most of the first six miles with the exception of some ugly hills where I got into zone 4 to push up them, that is right where I want to be for a long haul. I ran quite well up until about the seventh mile. My right hamstring started tightening just a little bit. Normally I would try to suffer through until I can’t run anymore, but because I want to share as much helpful info on this blog as I can, I decided to try to figure out what was going on. I did. My right leg, as I started tiring a little, began to supinate or flatten at the arch – I could feel it and it put some undue pressure on my knee too, so I’d concentrate on riding the outside rail of my foot and keeping it straight through my stride. Remember in the first paragraph when I mentioned my fastest mile? Mile Eight. Everything loosened right up and we cruised. Also, I figured out a neat way to monitor the little pains that come with running long distances. If, say, my knee started hurting a little (not much, just enough to make me notice), I’d try to figure out what part of that leg I was clenching a little and see if I could loosen up just a little. Say you run with your hands clenched into fists. This is not wise, because that tightness will travel up your arms to your shoulders as the miles add up, so you would naturally release your clenched hands, well I thought of my feet and legs in the same way and it really helped. It turns out, I have a tendency to clench my feet (if you will), so I concentrated on letting them go with the flow – and the pain would quickly fade away. It was actually quite awesome betwixt the supinating right foot and not running loosely in the legs. Today will go a long way to getting me to the finish line in September with a smile on my face. Now that I know I can handle the distance, it’s just a matter of getting used to it. Tomorrow, I’ll take a very leisurely spin on the fat-tire bike to loosen everything up (I’d do it today, but my wife’s got plans so I’ve got the kids). I can’t believe I just ran a twelve in February… First time I’ve hit ten before June…and Marc said after we were done that this is the best he’s ever seen me run. Thank you cross training, I can feel it.
It was a fantastic day at the running club. I don’t know what I’d do without those guys (and you Laura) we spent a half hour before the run pumping each other up about the coming season. What an awesome day.
Triathlon fever, baby. I got it.
Now it’s time for a nap.