Monday, January 25, 2016

Am I Marathon-Training?

Elizabeth's original goal, once she started running with me more frequently, was to run 10 miles. Then, she learned her brother had once run a half, so then her goal became 13.1. But she actually wants to run longer than her brother, so she's revised the goal to 15...because 14 isn't good enough.
She'd like to run fifteen miles...just because. (I'm still trying to convince her to run a race with me.) I tried to explain to her that running such a long distance without a reason is crazy.

But then I went out and ran twenty miles today and I haven't really decided if I have a reason, so who am I to talk?

This week, after suffering some ankle, shin, and quad cramps last week, I only did two weekday runs and I kept them shorter. The weather has been gorgeous - cold and dry (when it's not storming...I mean, maybe not dry, but not humid!) - so my paces have been picking up, but this week felt like a rest week. I knew I had a possible 20-miler on my schedule, but I literally played it by ear until I woke up Sunday morning and realized I was going to really do it.
Spoiler alert: I did 20. Also, this is my highest-mileage January ever.
This was new for me. For all my previous very-long-runs, I mentally prepared all week. Training builds me up to the distance so that I'm flirting with the idea of 20 for ages before it happens. Not this time; this time, I barely thought about my weekend run until Montana made it to town Saturday evening and sealed the deal.

I had to actually breakout cold-weather gear for this run: gloves, capris, long sleeves to layer, and a hat. For the first ten miles, all that was absolutely perfect. I ditched my top layer after that point and was able to take off my gloves and hat by mile 15. I was sure it was in the 70s by the end, but it was only 52! Funny how our bodies warm up and play tricks on us.
Mile 6.5 - chilly and loving it!
Anyway, the run went well. Montana and I kept a steady pace (we aimed for 12:15 but both felt comfortable in the 11s) for the first half and only took brief walk breaks to fuel. I actually didn't eat or drink anything in the first eight miles. I tried UCAN for the first time this morning and it worked very well; I had steady energy the entire run and never felt like my hunger got out of control or distracting.
Okay, this stuff is THICK and not the tastiest, but it's not bad. And most importantly, it seems to do what it says: provides sustained energy without any crashes. I didn't crave a Coke at the end of this run because I didn't need the sugar!
I also fueled with Glukos blocks and gels this time around because Gu has been giving me heartburn. I liked the results!
I didn't use "auto-pause" this time, so bathroom and fuel breaks show up (mile 6 specifically). I like the honesty.
At mile 10, Montana traded places with Elizabeth. She and I continued on. At mile 11 or so, Kristin came out to greet us, but despite being dressed to run, she bowed out. Too cold!
Montana and I at mile 10. Does anyone look good in a beanie?!
We had to pause at mile 15 for a bathroom break; I didn't stop my GPS so that mile's split is an outlier, but at least it's honest. At this point, I was developing a pain in my left arch/outer foot. I decided to press on because we'd already turned around and there was nowhere to go but back to the car anyway.
Another extended stop at mile 15; you can see I was struggling at the end. It was all about my foot - my energy felt fine. PS: even without auto-pause turned on, this was my fastest 20 yet.
Around 16 we began taking short walk breaks every .75 or so. My foot was killing me and my hips weren't happy either. Maybe I jumped up to 20 too quickly, but now I'm tapering - or something - so I have time to let it all heal.
Success!
Of course, no long run is complete without a fantastic breakfast. Montana and I went to Skillets afterward; I had chocolate milk, coffee, a GF chocolate-chip and blueberry waffle, cheesy eggs, and bacon.
Now that I've done another 20 (which, if I'm being honest, I had my doubts that I would actually do), I can make a better decision about A1A; the choice won't be made for me by lack of training, anyway. So now I'm tapering for a marathon, or I'm continuing training for a half. For me, that boils down to six-of-one, half-dozen-of-the-other.

My mind is there for a marathon, and my body feels like it can do it, although there was pain today, but I'm not sure if my heart is there yet. Part of me is scared. I don't want a repeat of BDR. Part of me just realizes that marathons hurt and I'm not sure how badly I want to go through that again so soon.

There's no rush to decide, but now that this long run is done, I have a feeling I'll be thinking it over. A lot.

Any tips for treating soft tissue pain on the outside of my foot? It feels bruised and hurts to walk.
Do you need to mentally prep for long runs?
When you're not training for something, do you still run long-long (not just long)?

ABK

19 comments:

  1. I always run long on Sundays whether I'm training or not. I feel like it's habitual, and I like that sort of routine. I don't run crazy long when I'm not really training. Some long runs, like the first 20 milers of a training plan, I obsess over all week, but others I just go out and do them. I lay things out the night before so I'm not too late and head out. When I don't stress about them they seem to go better than planned. ;)

    I definitely had to convert 52 degrees F to Celsius to see. I can't believe it was that chilly for you guys! I'd love that right now though!

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    1. Okay, so I have a followup question! If you're not training for a marathon, what do you consider a long run? You're a more experienced runner than I am, so it's probably longer than I go! When I'm not training, my long run is 10 miles or so! haha

      This is normal Florida winter...it's our best-kept secret. We have beautiful, chilly weather in the winter!

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  2. That's awesome that you ran 20 miles, and your pace was so so good! I hope your foot feels better though, so frustrating! I may have run a 10 mile or so run when I wasn't training, but no more than that!

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    1. It's feeling a bit better today already, so I'm hopeful that it was just a little strain.

      I'm the same - when I'm not training, my long runs hover around 10 miles.

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  3. Wow... 52 is pretty cold for Florida. I'm hoping we get a nice cool day for A1A and low humidity. That 20-miler seems pretty great! It's always nice to have friends to run with on a long run. When I'm not training, I try to keep my long runs around 10 miles, since I feel like that is long enough for maintenance, but not so long that it takes over my weekend.

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    1. It seems like 10 miles is the perfect "not really training but still running long" distance! I agree - I keep my long runs at 10 when I'm not training, too.

      This is a nice, typical winter for us. It just came a little late! I hope it lasts!

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  4. Awesome job running your 20 miler...and that you had a couple friends to keep you company! I cannot imagine running that distance....EVER! LOL

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    1. You might surprise yourself someday!

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  5. I do need to mentally prepare for a long run! Right now I'm trying to mentally prepare for 8 on the treadmill because that is LONG for me right now. :)

    Soft tissue issue on outside of foot... rest. :( But hey you need to taper anyway, right!?

    You are a beast preparing for this marathon you may not even run! I am proud of you. I am sure you will make the right decision.

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    1. My foot already feels significantly better today...like 70%. It needs rest but I hope it's not serious!

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    2. GOOD! If it feels that much better already that is a great sign! You know that weird feeling I had on the side of my foot before BDR? The straining I can feel only when I bend over and flex my foot? It's still kind of there!! Hasn't gotten worse, got a little bit better. Can still only feel it during that one singular movement!

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  6. Awesome job! I don't run long when I'm not training for anything. Maybe 8 or 10 but nothing above that. I see long runs as a necessity for training, and I really don't enjoy them, so if I'm not training, they're the first thing to go. I will do speed work in the off season, because I actually like that, but no way I run more miles than I have to. So I admire your ability to run 20 MILES! Good luck making a decision on the marathon. I'm sure you'll make the right one. Just go with your gut :)

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    1. I think long runs are enjoyable up to a point...I'd agree that 9 or 10 is enough for when we're not training :)

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  7. Nice work! I usually have my training planned weeks in advance, so I anticipate the long-long runs ahead of time. Every once in awhile I have more spontaneously run longer distances (10+ for me) and I have to admit, it feels great! It has always been a huge confidence boost for me.

    Good luck making your decision. It can't be easy, but try to trust your gut instinct. :)

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    1. I have no idea how I kind of shoved the idea of 20 miles into the back of my brain and ignored it this time around! I usually see it looming for weeks haha. I do like planning to do 10 or so and going longer just because it feels good, but that happens rarely for me!

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  8. I always mentally prep for long runs but it felt so much better running together! I didn't think about it as much and it worked out nicely. The weather was awesome! And no, no one really looks good in beanies. Except celebrities- but they are photo shopped!

    For the foot pain try freezing a bottle of water and rolling your foot on it once it's frozen. The cold will feel good and you'll get a light massage with the rolling. Worked for me when I bruised my arch really bad at Savage race last year.

    Good luck making your decision! I'll be waiting to hear what it is!

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    1. Rolling my foot on my massage ball has been helping a bit, but I should do a frozen bottle! Thanks for the reminder!

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  9. I'm going to need to come run Cape Coral again next year because I really want to try Skillets! Mmm!

    Way to go on that 20 miler. Even if you don't decide to do the full marathon next month, it's still really cool to say you completed another 20 miler!

    When I'm not training for a race I like to keep my long run between 8 and 10 miles. I just like the routine of getting out one day a week for an extended period of time to think or daydream.

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    1. YES, you should definitely come up again so we can do Skillets. It's totally worth it. I've never had a bad meal.

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