Today I took advantage of the day off of work and set out for my longest training run ever… 24 miles.
I had plans to meet up with my friends for a nice chunk of miles, but really didn’t have any plans after that, I was just going to “run around” until I got to my total. I had some ideas to get me there, but they were pending on how much I got in first.
It was pitch black and 34 degrees when I met up with the morning crew to head off running into the darkness and watch the sun rise. We stuck to the paved trail, with one hill and wound our way around town. I wasn’t feeling that great and expressed concern that today might not be a 24 mile day and knew that I could always add on to my second long run tomorrow.
Around mile 8 I said bye to Kristin and Sima and it felt like I had already been running forever. I continued on with C and we ran a different direction that had a couple miles with some trails and hills. Around mile 13 I said bye to her and continued on my way alone.
At this point I was already tired and just kind of in a funk. My stomach was hurting so I stopped to go to the bathroom twice, but kept on running after each stop even though I thought about stopping after the second pit stop.
I started getting a blister on my pinky toe that was really annoying. I again thought it might be a sign that today wasn’t for 24 miles, but I kept on running.
Around mile 17 my legs were starting to get really tired. I easily could have turned around and called it a day at mile 18, but I just kept running.
I told myself that on April 7th, I will probably get at least one stomach ache and I will probably get at least one blister. I know my legs will be way more tired than I can imagine right now, but I know I will keep on running… so that’s what I did today too.
At this point, I decided to run to where I knew I would be the happiest.
The trails definitely lightened my spirits and energy. I also have been doing the combo pavement/trail runs on purpose since AR50 goes from pavement for 26 miles to trails for the remainder. I want my legs to know what it feels like to switch terrain.
Trails are so much easier to me when I start on trails, then I am in that mindset and my legs are used to it. But when I start on pavement, I get in that road mindset and when I hit the trails I tend to get a little sloppy, rocks hurt a little more, and my legs lose some spring.
Today I focused on shifting my mental focus to running on the trails and made sure my mind was in the run. I climbed some hills, enjoyed the perfect running weather and listened to my music while taking in everything around me. It was such a beautiful day.
After a couple miles I turned around and headed back to my car. I was anxious to be done at this point, but was also very excited that I didn’t give in and quit the run early.
24 miles later I was back at my car, tired and very happy.
Today had some pavement, some flat, some hills, some trails, some lows, some highs, and everything else in between… I definitely got a good combination of everything in today.
A lot went on physically and mentally over 24 miles today, I can’t imagine how much will go on over 50 miles.
Now to eat, pack and go to bed so I can do it again (although not as long) tomorrow!