On Saturday at 8:30am the NVRC had a scheduled long run leaving from Rec Hall that covered a significant portion of the NVHM. Marty Mazur led the slowpokes (which included me, Lee, and his son Ben) while Meira led the speedsters (about 8 of them). We ran out Curtin and straight into the tailgate madness (PSU vs. Indiana starting at noon). Strangely enough, this was the first time I have ever been close enough to any of that to smell the smells and be surrounded by all the people. Needless to say, I was glad when we passed the 1.5 mile mark and got away from all of that. In order to avoid heavy football traffic on the airport road (part of the race course) we cut through some trails that run parallel. This was not bad until the trail got really narrow and we had to start climbing over things and pushing aside branches and whatnot. I wasn't a huge fan of this "bushwhacking" section, but it was nice to mix things up a little bit. We then jumped in to the course in the hilly part around mile 8 (of the course) and covered some rolling terrain. Eventually this evened out for a nice mile or so of relatively flat and open course before we hit the last 2 miles of the course which are known to be brutal (lots of praying and walking said to occur) due to a continuous ascent. I was wanting to test my hopeful pace for this section to see what it would feel like. This meant that I deserted my group temporarily but then twice had to stop (turn off minny) and wait to get within ear shot of marty to find out which direction I was supposed to be going. I felt pretty good about the hill. Only felt like my heart was going to explode towards the very end. I think the trick will be not to look ahead. It looks much worse (especially with the increasing steepness over time) than it really was. Or at least, with 7 miles under my legs (who knows about 11) it was manageable. Somewhere along this hill we lost Lee and Ben. As we came to the final turn of the course, we once again headed into the tailgate area. This kind of busy-ness and density of people makes me want to throw elbows and sprint through. Marty seemed a little tanked at this point (in addition to being popular and people wanting him to stop and chat) and I had to hang back so as not to desert him. At this point (in the last mile and a half) our pace slowed down a bunch. Although I am trying hard to be a good joiner and team player and all that stuff, its hard for me to run slower than I know I could be running. Especially on Saturday, when this was my first 10+ mile run, I was looking forward to hitting that 10 mile mark and seeing the time I was at, so slowing down with half a mile to that point was frustrating (but I kept it in check). I did a little dance (more like a skip and a hoot) when Minny chirped mile 10 and then as our "finish line" came into site I briefly left Marty and ran it in at full speed to see what was left in my legs.
10.41 miles 1:34:15 9:03pace
We stood around for the next 15 minutes or so stretching, chatting, and waiting for the speedsters to get back from their 14 mile loop. I was feeling pretty good. No pain. Handheld worked excellently and my all-natural kiddie fruit chews made for excellent mid-run fuel (mile 5 I think I took them). After we all split up I headed to PETCO to buy toys and then to PAWS to visit with Tarzan again only to find out that since my mother's application was approved that they didn't ask the foster mom to bring him in. I visited with some of the other cats for about an hour before heading home. Didn't feel nearly as wrecked throughout the rest of the day as I have with past long runs.
Sunday I woke up from a weird dream (involving racing, and riddles, and competition with siblings, and losing one's footing) and felt down in the dumps that I wouldn't get to go on a nice Sunday long run, as I have had the pleasure of looking forward to for the past 6 weeks or so. Had trouble shaking that crappy feeling all day, even after heading to the gym for some elliptical and foam rolling (my usual Saturday workout).
Yesterday I woke up and decided that even if Monday is not a running day (I've been sticking to T, Th, Sun), that I could run on this Monday because of the Saturday long run. I planned to do a little out and back on Blue Course, with the turn around at the top of a hill around 2.5 miles in. Around 2 miles into the run I started debating with myself about changing the route to a shortened version of the long run I did a little over a week before. Having looked at that route a number of ways I had the sense that I could make it around 8 miles. So instead of turning around when I crested the hill, I followed down the back side and jumped on the bike path. This run, which had been glorious in the reverse direction was quite tough in this direction. From mile 3 on it was uphill pretty continuously for 3 miles. Having taken the long run nice and easy in terms of pace, I wanted to push this run a little more. I decided that the first four miles around 8:00 and then next four under 8:30 would be very good, given the terrain. The first four were pretty easy actually and Minny chirped at 31:xx. Having pushed mile 4 to keep the pace, the next 2 miles of hills were tough and my breathing was effortful. Those miles were 8:26 and 8:15 or so. I then got a little bit of a reprieve on College before turning back on Blue Course and home. Last 2 miles were around 8:20. I wanted to pick up the pace a little but it seems like after my turnover slows its hard to speed back up, especially when there are hills in the mix. The whole run was very windy, but the sun was nice and warm on the skin.
Overall: 8.13miles 1:06:20 8:09 pace
As soon as I got home I started to have some foot issues, deep pain in the inner ankles. It lasted most of the day but is feeling alright right now. I haven't quite been able to nail down what it is about the run after the long run that leads to this pain. My new hypothesis is that I wear these cheap faux running socks on my early week run, and the tight "support" band around the arch might be doing something funky. I don't know. Today, NVRC is doing hills. I'm going to try to join although I'm not sure how back to back runs will go.
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