This weekend was the 3rd long run in my “maybe I’m going to run a marathon” training plan. And, it went great! The first two (8 and 9.5 miles) were very difficult, but this one was awesome. Don’t get me wrong; it was still exhausting, but this 11 miles somehow felt much much easier than the 8 mile run I did two weeks ago. There were only a couple of sections at the end of the run when I wished I was done, but I didn’t stop even when I had to run past my front door in order to bring my final total up to 11 miles.

2014-06-22 09.05.39

View from the top of the bridge.

I’ve been running portions of my long run route from marathon training last summer – starting out the same way, but cutting off miles at the end according to the distance I need for that day. Last summer I thought it was really fun to add on sections to the run every week and see how the route changed over the summer. So far, I’m liking doing that again, but I’m in a bit of a tough spot.

My route has 3 different sections, and right now I run the entire first section and am increasing the distance I run on the second. Here’s where the problem comes in: this second section starts with a “giant” bridge. It’s not an exceptionally steep or long climb when I look at my Garmin elevation profile (the liar!), but it is always a challenge for me. And right now, I am crossing the bridge at the end of my run. Last week, I crossed the bridge, turned around and came right back – ugh! This week was a little better – I had about a mile before I ended up crossing back over. But, both times, getting up and over the bridge was SO HARD.

I know that I could change around my route so the bridge is earlier in the run or not in it at all yet, but part of me thinks that the giant hill in the final mile of my run is probably good for me. And, it’s only going to get better with time. As I add more and more miles, the bridge will eventually be closer to the middle of the run than the end. And I’ll have more miles after crossing it before I have to make the return trip.

2014-04-03 18.21.46

Can you see the bridge in the distance? That’s the bridge I’m talking about.

I’ve been run/walking my long runs these past few weeks. For the 8 and 9.5 mile runs, I would run a song, walk a minute, repeat. Very precise, I imagine. But this week for the 11 miler, I ran for 0.9 miles and then walked 0.1 mile. And I LOVED it. I did this for two reasons – I ran with an audiobook instead of music, and I wanted longer sections of uninterrupted running. I was a little nervous about how I’d feel at the end of the run, but I ended up averaging a faster pace and feeling less tired than I did on the first two runs. (Just to be clear, I don’t think this change in run/walk strategy contributed to me feeling better, but at least it didn’t have a negative effect).

The new strategy, mentally, was a huge boost. I was able to get into a better running grove on the run sections, and I averaged an overall faster pace than the previous two runs – which made me happy. Also, I kind of inadvertently started thinking of the run as an interval run, and counting down the running portions gave me a little boost.


From the bridge, at night.

I have one more little bit of news before I wrap this up: I SIGNED UP FOR A RACE! It’s called The Bridge & Back 10k. There was no map on the website, so I don’t know the exact route, but I know where it starts and I know that at some point we run across the bridge – the one I’ve been yammering on about – and then eventually we run back. Hooray!

I tend to shy away from summer races (heat makes me slow, then I do bad and get disappointed), but I made an exception for this one. It’s right by my house, and my friend is running it! And, it’s her first, I think, 10k!! And we’re going to have a sleepover the night before. How awesome is that?! Also, it’ll be my first race as a 30 year old! Great things all around.

Note: I didn’t start out with the intention of putting all bridge pictures in this post, but once I realized it, I couldn’t help myself. Foreshadowing! 🙂


Anyone else love running races on roads you train on? Isn’t it funny how an 11 mile run can feel easier than 8 mile run? Do you run/walk/ride across any bridges? 


8 thoughts on “Eleven

  1. Woohoo! Glad it went well. I did 12 this weekend and ran a lake trail…I “let” myself have a slower pace, and I really think it made all the difference. It’s weird to get back into training where pace is not the most important aspect! I am actually signed up for a race in November (run by the Boston Marathon race director) called 10K Across the Bay and almost the entirety of the race is across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. It’s the weekend after NYCM, though, so I may not actually do it…we’ll see!

    • That sounds like a neat 10k. “My” bridge isn’t long enough to be the majority of a 10k, so I’m interested to find out where else we’ll be running. There’s no map online though, so I guess it’ll be a surprise!

  2. Nice! I’m glad it went better than the last few 🙂 That bridge looks pretty intense, especially when seen from a distance… lovely view though! I *love* running races on roads/trails where I train; it makes me feel more confident because I know what’s coming. My run club is hosting a series of fun runs along the trail I usually run, and I’m pumped 🙂

    • Knowing what’s coming is definitely my favorite part about racing where I train! I also love being surrounded by lots of other people and taking over the roads/not having to stop at lights and street crossings.

  3. I love that you’re planning a sleepover before the race–that will be so much fun! I still haven’t raced a 10k, but I’m planning to do a virtual one soon, since there aren’t many happening near me. It sounds like your training is going well–keep it up!

    • It’s funny to me how few 10k races there are. It seems like there are a ton of 5ks and a ton of half marathons, but I don’t see quite as many at distances between those two. I’ve been searching for a 5 mile race to do, and I can’t find one of those either (at least that’s not on a Thursday night.)

  4. So glad to hear you’re having better runs! I think a run walk strategy is a great mental booster… Breaking big things down into small segments makes them seem so much tolerable.
    Looking forward to reading about your 10k! I try to stick to trail races in the summer because it’s usually cooler in the woods, but if there’s ever a race really close to me, I usually can’t resist!

    • I’ve never run a trail race before. I’m not a very “woodsy” person, but that does sound like a great way to get a racing fix in the hot summer months. I may have to make some changes and become a “woodsy” person. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s