Last run of the year = longest run of the year.
Word. That’s how I do.
Seriously, though. I haven’t run eight miles in over fourteen months, and my body and mind didn’t hesitate to remind me of that fact during the majority of this run today. But let’s start at the beginning, and I’ll break it down for you:
- The run started out fabulously. It was unseasonably warm this morning (in the mid-50s), sunny, and slightly breezy. I couldn’t have asked for better running weather.
- My first mile was perfection. My legs felt light and loose, I was keeping a steady pace (even going up hills), and my head felt clear for the first time in days. It’s been a pretty tense and stressful week here on the home and family front, and I haven’t been sleeping or eating well at all (both of which are unusual for me). But for that first mile, I was in another world, dominating this run, and enjoying my music.
- By mile two, I was already overheating. Note to self: actually check the weather before you leave for your long run. You do not need long pants, two shirts, and gloves when it is in the mid-50s. I stripped off a top layer as soon as I completed my first loop around the lake. It helped, but I was still wishing I had been smart enough to wear cropped pants or a tee shirt. Eh. Live and learn, right?
- Miles 3-8 were uneventful. They were also slow. Like, really slow. All that mojo I started out with petered out before I even hit the 5K mark, and I spent the last five miles just trudging along. I took several walking breaks (mainly going up hills) and a couple of stretching breaks with the intention of keeping my legs as loose as possible.
- I’d love to say that I was mentally in the game today, but the truth is, I wasn’t at all. I found myself flipping back and forth between almost throwing in the towel (“Why am I running this race? Why am I training again? This sucks. I’m exhausted. How am I going to push out an additional five miles on race day?”) and psyching myself up (“I’m awesome. I’ve done this before. Every mile that goes by proves that I’m stronger than I think I am”). This is no different than when I was training for the Baltimore half, but I was hoping that, having run a half marathon before, the mental issues would finally fall by the wayside. Not the case, but I’m doing what I can do deal with it and turn it around.
- As per usual, as soon as I hit mile 7.5, I felt like a freaking rock star and nearly sprinted the final half a mile to my car. Oh, energy that I feel at the tail-end of a run, where are you for the other 3/4 of it?!
That’s probably way more information than you needed to know about my training today, but it helps me to write it out and process how I feel I’m progressing. I still have about ten weeks of training left, so if I can get a handle on my progress now, I think I’ll be better off on race day. Hell, maybe all of my runs in 2012 will be a little faster and a little more positive!
And with that, I wish you guys a very, very Happy New Year! See you in 2012!