Since today was long run day, I hit the road for a 19 mile run. It seems like an odd distance to me, you hear a lot about “the 20 mile long run” and even the 18, but rarely (if ever) have I seen someone talk about the 19 they ran. Also, I’ve seen a lot of training plans that jump directly from 18 miles to 20 miles. What’s up with that? Are other people not running 19. I’ve basically made up the long run mileages of my training plan, so I’m curious what other people do.
Anyways, my run went pretty well. My legs seemed to be on board with the whole thing pretty much right from the start, and I continue to be elated with the mild temperatures this summer. My glutes (or something nearby) and hamstrings have been feeling pretty tired all week, and that’s how they felt this morning, too. Aside from that all was well. It’s pretty exciting to think how good my legs are going to feel for the first part of the marathon when they’ve been nicely tapered. (That sounds weird. Like I’m getting my legs surgically modified to fit perfectly in tapered jeans.)
I spent the first 6(ish) miles getting into a groove. I was searching for some stragglers on my scavenger hunt list and listening to an audiobook (Dark Places by Gillian Flynn), so I was pretty well entertained. I reached the top of my steepest hill right before 6 miles and the downhill that follows is where I tend to really start feeling good. The next 7 miles flew by, bringing me to 13.1 miles at around 2 hr 25 min.
After I reach 13 miles, my brain tends to get a little fuzzy. I have an extraordinarily difficult time keeping track of how many miles I have left to run, and simple subtraction (19 – 13 = 6) can easily get messed up. Today I missed a turn that I take on a regular basis. And not just any turn, this street I forgot to turn down is one of my favorite parts of the run. I ran a quarter mile passed (past? which is it?) it before I realized…oops! My thoughts were something like “Wow…I’m feeling really good for 13.5 miles, and I’m still pretty sharp, I can even do math – I have 5.5 miles left….wait a second…..I’m not supposed to be here…”
I turned around so I could run down Pickman & Neptune Streets (my two favorites), and by the time I was back to some louder, more difficult streets I’d reached 15 miles. The point where things start to hurt a little. Like a switch turns on.
The next 4 miles were pretty much just a countdown. I still felt pretty good for a while, but it was getting hot, and I was excited to finish up. While my legs were still hanging on at 16 miles, my brain had completely checked out.
My inner dialogue:
- 15.85 miles: “Sweet! Almost at 16, and then only 2 short miles to hit 19…no, 3 short miles.”
- 16 miles: “Woo! only 2 miles until 19! No, 3 miles, 3 miles…”
- 16.2 miles: “2 miles, 2 miles….Seriously, brain?! It’s 3, come on. Just stop looking at the watch.”
At that point, I started focusing on the ground so I wouldn’t hit any uneven spots and trip, and that task kept me sufficiently occupied until well past the 17 mile mark.
I had purposefully sent myself out on a run that I knew would end with me crossing the bridge to Salem, and pretty much immediately turning around to cross back over. Even though I knew it was coming it was still a very, very sad thing to actually have to do that. The timing ended up working out so that I got a walk break immediately upon reaching the top of the bridge. The walk break then ended as soon as I had finished the downhill portion. No fair! It was difficult having to start running again only to turn around after a tenth of a mile and climb back over, but I know (hope?) it’ll be good training for late hills in the marathon.
Despite my pitiful face in the picture above, it was really a great run. I can’t believe that with step back weeks and tapering, I only have 3 more long runs before the race. I mean, it isn’t until October 26th for goodness sake!
Next week is a step back week, so I’ll probably go for 10 miles. I’m going to try to keep my pace in check because these last two long runs have really done a number on my legs. I suspect I’m running them too fast (11:14/mile average pace, around 9:50ish on the running portions), but it’s not easy to slow down when I’m having such a good time.
Have you or do you plan to run a 19 miler? Anyone else have huge brain farts towards the end of long runs? And what are your tricks for keeping the “S” in LSD? (LSD being Long Slow Distance)