Seems like only yesterday that I was doing my week 6 update! (It WAS late, so I guess it kind of makes sense).
Here was my plan for week 7:
- Tuesday: 3 miles
- Wednesday: 6 miles
- Thursday: 3 miles
- Saturday: 12 miles
So here’s what really happened:
I decided to run 6 miles on this day so I could sync up my carpooling schedule with one of my fellow runners/colleagues. I wound up running 6.2 miles (aka 10 K) and at some point I decided to try for a personal best 10K run on the treadmill. I failed to take into account my 2 minute slow walk and jog that I did for a warm up and tried to make up for it at the end by really pushing the last mile.
It took me about 56 min 30 secs to run the 10K, which is at least 1 min 10 sec slower than my personal best and it’s actually a bit slower than the second 10K race that I ran in November… the one with the great big hill. So, I probably pushed myself needlessly and didn’t meet that spontaneous goal. Oh well, chalk it up to
stupidity inexperience experience. I need to stick to my training plan so no more of this.
Wednesday and Thursday
Three miles on the treadmill each day, pace between 11 and 12 min per mile. That’s how fast I should be running these particular runs. Felt a little more tired than normal. Probably not stretching enough after but still trying to focus on some of the key leg muscles.
So today was my first ever 12 mile run… the furthest I had run in the past was a bit over 11 miles.
My plan was to split it into three loops, here’s what happened on each loop:
Loop 1 – the standard three mile/5K loop that my running club uses:
Basically, the three mile loop forms a shield shape. The first mile is mainly downhill, especially the first half. At the halfway point the route levels out, stays that way for half a mile, then it gradually starts going uphill. The last half mile is somewhere between a 4% – 5% grade, although it levels out during the last 150 yards.
I ran this first loop with a couple of members of my running club, no faster than 11 min 30 sec. per mile. The sidewalks were mostly plowed after the most recent storm except for some humps of snow that were the result of snowplows filling in small sections at the beginning of some of the sidewalks. There was probably still a one inch layer of snow on the sidewalks in most places.
Not too big of a deal but some sections had a bit more snow in places and tiny bits of exposed ice in others, so it was a little tricky in spots, slowing me down even more. Still, I felt good during the first loop. I said goodbye to my running companions, drank some water, put a sports gel in my mouth, and kept shambling along.
The next loop was a six mile loop which covered the same territory as the first loop plus an extra three miles:
So the second 6 miles started OK but I definitely starting feeling tired around mile 7. Maneuvering on some of the sidewalks was getting tricky in spots and my ankles, shins and left knee felt sore. Had to slow down a bit on the last mile again due to the grade but I kept going. Drank some water a couple of times during this loop. This took me to mile 9.
I was definitely feeling the run by this point. I had another gel and more water and kept on going. Actually, I think I popped two gels that time and at the 3 mile point as well, come to think of it. [Mental note: I don’t really care for that particular gel, don’t bother with it again.]
Loop three, miles 10 – 12, was a repeat of the first loop that I’d done. To be honest, it was tough. I was tired, my feet and legs were getting sore all over due to the extra stabilizing work that the snowy sidewalks were making me do, and I was starting to get hungry.
I had to do a fair amount of mental pep talk to keep going. I had to keep reminding myself that I had much longer training runs to come, so I needed to finish the run in order to keep on the plan. To be honest, it was still around -20 C, which provided its own motivation to keep going.
Finally I came to the last half uphill half mile… I really really really wanted to stop. I did slow down a lot (I think I even had to stop for a minute and tie one of my sneakers… or maybe it was on the prior loop, I’m not sure) so that my pace was down to 15 minutes per mile, even a bit slower. I just kept up with the mental pep talk, breaking the run into smaller sections to keep encouraging myself.
The last 100 yards was the worst segment, it seemed to stretch on forever. When I finally hit the 12 mile mark I had crested the top of the hill and settled into a level stretch of sidewalk again. I managed to keep going another 150 yards or so then slowed down to a walk – fortunately the car wasn’t too far away.
I was so glad that there wasn’t much wind during the run – it would have made it that much harder. As it was, it was tough enough, but I felt happy that I had finished. It was my longest run to date and it took about 2 hrs. 24 minutes to do. As I said in my Twitter post:
So this week I’m not going to mess around with my runs, going to stick to a reasonable pace for my goals. On March 1, I’m going to attempt to run a half-marathon distance (13.1 miles) at the pace at which I plan to run my full marathon – about 10 min 24 sec per mile. Should be another big challenge, my new “longest run yet” is approaching!