Running My First 40-Mile Week

I hit a milestone with my running last week. I always try to take time – no matter what is going on in my life – to let the challenges I meet resonate with me.

I finished up week 9 of my marathon training plan with the highest mileage I have ever run. The most I had up until this point was 38.95 when I was training for Oklahoma City, and that in April.

After Saturday’s long run, I hurt from my neck down to my toes. But I took a moment to congratulate myself on the 41.2 miles I ran all week. I’ve come a long way in two and a half years.

It’s perfectly acceptable to pat yourself on the back. Make sure you take time to notice – and be proud of – the milestones you pass in runner. Whether it’s your first mile with no walking, running your first 5K, or your first 20 miler, enjoy the progress.

 

 

 

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Be Alert

I had no trouble coming up with a subject for this week’s post. As always, my life gives me plenty of writing material. While I don’t want to start off on a low note, I do think this is a topic that needs to be addressed.

For more than two years I have gone to a fairly busy city park to run. I usually park in the same parking lot which is across the street from an elementary schools. Police typically patrol the area due to the school zone, and I do my weekday runs after I drop my children off at school.

Last week I returned from a seven mile run – where I ran 1 1/2 mile loops around the park – to find my passenger side window busted in. My running backpack and my purse were gone. It was 9 a.m. Talk about messing up my post-run recovery.

Now, I don’t say this as a “Woe is me.” I can’t account for my stupidity. I am writing this for one reason:

Be Alert!

I had become complacent. My windows are tinted, and I always move my bags to the back of the car where they can’t be seen, but for some reason, this time I left them in the seat. I clearly made sure my purse was covered by the backpack. It wasn’t enough.

Even if you are not a runner, make sure you always keep your stuff stashed out of sight. The officer told me the thief was probably in and out in under a minute.

Consider this a safety reminder for the week. Stay safe out there!

Tyler Rose Half Marathon

I punctuated the first phase of my marathon training on Sunday with a half marathon in Tyler. I have been looking forward to this race for two reasons. First, I welcomed the October temperatures. Over the spring and summer I discovered long runs in heat and humidity make me nauseous toward the end. I expected the cooler temperatures along with higher mileage training could lead me to a PR. Second, it would be the race where I would complete the Four Seasons Challenge I started in January. By completing a specific half marathon in winter, spring, summer, and fall, I would receive an additional medal and technical shirt.

The weather was perfect running weather for me. It was chilly at the start, but after about two miles, I felt great. My goal was to run another sub 2:00 half. I’ve done it once before – in January – with 1:59:58. I considered running with the 2:00 pace group, but they took off too fast for me for the first mile. I stuck to my pacing plan of running the first seven miles near a steady 9:10 pace, then I kicked it up a bit.

The course was hilly, but I tackled the hills with pride. The first phase of my marathon training has had me trucking up and down hills for 6-8 miles each week. I know some people find it difficult to run hills, and try to avoid hilly courses. But the training made a distinct difference in my race. I was able to complete the course without any walking, and I knocked 31 seconds off my time.

A beautiful finish line area in the Tyler Rose Garden

I then claimed my Four Seasons medal to add to the collection.

This was my last big race before the Dallas Marathon. The Tyler Rose half marathon gave me the confidence and motivation to continue on with my training.

How to Make a Long Run Shorter

Okay, I’ll admit the title here may be a little confusing. Especially since I’m writing about my first run longer than 13.1 miles since the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon┬áin April.

There are several ways to break up the monotony of a long run. I’ve tried tips such as run a new route, or mentally break it into chunks (5k, 10k, and so on). I also make water stops at my car or refuel at a park along my route. No matter what I’ve tried, though, a training run over 12 miles for me can get boring.

Saturday, I stumbled onto something new, and it made a huge difference.

It was a rainy morning, so I wasn’t looking forward to a 14 mile soaker, but I knew I’d have a little company.┬áI’ve been running with a local group on Saturday mornings, and this has helped the miles go faster. I started earlier to knock out a few miles and have time to refuel before meeting the group.

The next leg of my run was with two other runners in the group. One only needed to run five and the other was up for “whatever.” The three of us ran five miles together, and then stopped back at the meeting place. I refueled again. The “whatever” distance runner asked me how much I still had left – about four miles – so she headed out with me to finish. She runs at a slightly faster pace than I do, so I used this as my negative split training.

By the time I finished my 3rd leg of the run, I had done about 5 miles at a warm up pace, another five at a steady conversational pace, and 4 at catch-my-breath pace. Even though I had been running about 2 1/2 hours, it sure didn’t feel like it. My legs sure felt it though, and reminded me the rest of the day and all the next.

After two years of training and completing long runs on my own, it sure was nice to have some company and different ways to make it seem shorter.

What tips do you have for making a long run feel shorter?