I ran 14 miles this morning - a distance I haven't reached since running the Disney World Marathon in January. Must be marathon training time! :-)
I wasn't sure how today's run would go. For one thing, I ran 7 miles yesterday - my first go at running Sat and Sun with Saturday's run half of the long run distance. For the last two weeks I have run on Sat, but only 4 miles - and both times - very tough runs. Yesterday's run went very well and I concluded that: a) I have reacclimated to the heat and humidity and b) I run much better when I finish before 8 am.
Today my goal was to take it nice and easy - targeting a lower heart rate for most of the run. The lower I can keep my heart rate - the better my endurance. For me, I am optimal with a heart rate lower than 155 bpm. The longer I can keep it below 150 bpm, the better. When I am tired, my heart rate rises quickly - but today was yet another good day.
I knew I was looking at about 3 hours on the road. I had to balance my desire to finish before 8 am with running in the dark for too long. I don't like to run when it is really dark....people who drive through my neighborhood sometimes think that breaking bottles on the sidewalks must be cool. Darkness makes it hard to see hazards on the sidewalk. Fortunately, the city of Oviedo and/or my homeowner's association have seen fit to fix the street lights so that they were well lit. Add to that the fact that they have stopped running the sprinklers during my morning runs and running early isn't so bad.
I decided I would target getting out on the road around 5:30 am. I would run 8 miles, then stop at the house to refill my water bottles before doing another 6 miles. I should finish in about 3 hours.
The alarm went off at 5:10 am. I am NOT a morning person and had just gotten up yesterday at 5:45 am. However, I needed to get an early start - so I got up and got ready. By 5:30 am I was outside waiting for my Garmin to catch the satellites. It was quite dark but the skies were clear and there were lots of stars to decorate the sky. It was probably around 74 deg F and the humidity was high, as was usual for morning runs.
At 5:33 am I was on my way. My starting heart rate was in the 70's - a good starting rate. As I made my way through the dark through my first couple of miles I felt pretty good....heart rate was comfortably in the mid 140's. I cranked up the latest Phedip episode and plugged on.
One thing I DO like about the early runs is watching the sky begin to lighten and eventually the sun to rise. By 6:15 am, it was light outside - making me feel a little safer running through my neighborhood. By 7:15 am, as I was running by the elementary school about a mile from my house and my water stop, a bright orange ball of a sun was coming up on the horizon - the heat was about to really get going.
At 1 hour 43 min - 7.9 miles into my run I was at my house, refilling my water and Gatorade with a quick pit stop. Hard to believe I had to pee, but I guess I was hydrating well. I headed back out for the last 6 miles.
Things were warming up but I still felt pretty good. I didn't start to "feel" it until sometime after mile 10. My body was now letting me know this run thing was getting a bit long. I pressed on. This last 6 miles was an out and back, and I was due to make my turn at about mile 12.
At 11.99 miles, I turned around and started heading back. I kept wanting to speed up but held back a bit....about 2.5 miles from the house I gave myself permission to pick up the pace if I wanted...allowing my heart rate to rise out of my nice aerobic pace. I kept my AHR below 160 for the first 11 miles or so....really good!
About the time I was to hit 12 miles I looked at the Garmin....it said 10.59 miles!!!! Hey, how could I DECREASE in miles. Somewhere during mile 11 (probably right when I turned) I lost 1.5 miles on the Garmin. I knew how far I was going, so I figured I would calculate the correct pace later.
The last couple of miles were pretty hard - as they should be on the really long runs. I tried to maintain a decent pace, and actually finished my last mile just 1 second slower than my fastest mile on the run at 12:46 min. I wanted to try to finish in under 3 hours but didn't have the gas to do it. I finished the 14 miles in 3 hours 3 min and 34 sec. My final average pace was 13:07 min/mi - faster than the pace for last week's 12 miler! :-) This a good pace given the heat and humidity. The temp at my finish was 78 deg, but felt like 82 deg with the 74% humidity.
As much as I tried to prepare for chafing, I got a pretty good burn where my heart rate monitor strap runs across my chest (just in the middle). Body Glide is not working for that spot. Otherwise, I survived the run pretty unscathed and extremely hungry! Last night I didn't have much of a dinner - this morning after the run I had to have some calories: ham and egg omelet, bowl of fruit and english muffin along with a cup of hot tea. Mmmmmm...much better than Clif Shots!
A long - long run story - but a happy ending.
3:03:34 / 13:07 min/mile
AHR 152, MHR 177 (last then of mile)
2129 calories burned (according to Garmin)
5 Cliff shots, 40 oz of water and 18 oz of G2 Gatorade
2 - 8 hour Tylenol before the run (for foot pain and possibly legs)
Off to take the kids to the pool!