It's been a few days, but alas, here I am on a cold Sunday afternoon on the couch. It's cloudy and cold and I finally have an excuse to wear my favorite Moosejaw pants and a hoodie in my apartment. Fall, oh how I love thee!
Thursday was an added rest day for me because my right knee was not feeling too great and I figured with the impending new mileage record on Saturday I should probably take it easy. Not to mention, I actually ran a bit faster last weekend at the Spirit of Survival than I had planned so my body needed the break. I think it was an excellent decision because by the time Saturday morning rolled around my knee felt 100x better and I was ready to hit the ground running.
Friday night was a pretty easy night for me. I went and had some dinner with some friends and called it a night really early. I was in bed before 10 PM which was just what the doctor ordered. The rise and shine alarm woke me up about 5:45 on Saturday morning and I prepped myself for the 15 mile trek that was awaiting me. I had originally planned to run from Lake Hefner towards downtown, but due to the fact that I was a little slow getting around, I decided Lake Hefner trails would be a much safer bet, plus I could make a pit stop at mile 10 after I made a full loop. I wasn't exactly sure how the body was going to react so this provided me a way to cut the run short too.
The biggest dilemma of the morning was trying to decide what to wear. I absolutely hate running in wind pants and I haven't invested in any cold-weather running pants/tights yet. To that end, I opted for the trusty Brooks shorts and figured the run would warm me up enough to keep me from being miserable. I also donned the Brooks Vapor Dry jacket and my Brooks headband and gloves for added warmth. It was my first cold run of the training session so it was good to get the body acclimated to the weather and prepare for what may come down the road.
I was surprised by the number of people out on the trails. I guess I shouldn't be that shocked with all of the upcoming fall marathons, but it still is pretty amazing to see the number of people out training in the cold on an early Saturday morning. It's always encouraging to know you have some friends on the trails if you ever need anything.
As far as the run goes, I actually paced myself accordingly and it paid off big dividends in the end. I think this may be the first long run that I effectively maintained a 9:30ish pace throughout and managed to properly gel and hydrate throughout my run. I took 2 GU packets with me and loaded my fuel belt with two 8 oz bottles of water and two 8 oz bottles of Gatorade Endurance Formula for hydration. The start of the run was pretty chilly, but I warmed up nicely after a few miles and the fog began to burn off so the sun helped too. I was lucky enough to not have much wind on this run, which is always a welcome weather phenomenon in Oklahoma. I will take a non-windy day whenever I can get it. The pacing definitely helped me work my way into this run and I never really felt sluggish until late in my run when I started to hit the mileage record. Around mile 10 or 11, I started to feel my legs get a little heavy so I popped my last gel and swigged some water to push me through the final few miles. I could tell my stride was starting to become a little sluggish as I wasn't lifting my legs very high, but it was effective and I wasn't experiencing much pain. I just felt really heavy. About mile 14, I began to feel the beginning twinges of a cramp in my right hamstring and right calf, but I luckily made it back to my car without any real negative wear and tear on my body. I will admit that I was more than ready to be finished, but I don't feel like 26.2 miles is out of reach. After this run though, I am beginning to understand what the last 10 miles or so is going to feel like. I know as I add more mileage, that feeling of fatigue will become even more real, but this was a good test and a precursor of what lies ahead. It is definitely going to be a test and I am ready to accept that challenge.
I am very pleased with my new mileage record and can't wait to push it to the next level. This is a step-back week for me which comes at a great time. The schedule only calls for 3 mi, 7 mi, 4 mi, and a 10 mile run this coming weekend. It will be nice to "rest" the body and get ready to step up the mileage chart again the next week. This weekend is also the OSU homecoming game against Mizzou. I am taking a day of vacation on Friday and heading to Stillwater Thursday night to go out with the college kids and relive my youth. It should be an interesting 3-day weekend and one that will make my 10 mile run tougher than it probably should be at this point. Oh well, it's worth it and hopefully we come away with a win.
Time to watch my other Cowboys and cheer them on to victory. Go Dallas, beat KC!
Saturday, Oct 10th - 15.0 miles in 2:23:22 (9:33 pace)