Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Successful long run ... check

Pre-workout fuel: Arnold sandwich thin with a smear of peanut butter, sliced banana and a dash of cinnamon
Workout (Sunday, July 4): Ran 12.16 miles in 2 hours and 36 seconds; average pace, 9:55.

I stepped onto the Shaker Trail path at Miami Whitewater Forest with a plan. A plan for a successful long run so that I wouldn't hit a wall at mile 9 and didn't want to die at mile 10. I would start out slow, much slower than I like, and run slow for the first half of the run. At the half-way point, I would take a Gu and see where my legs would take me. That's it. And you know what? It worked.

The Shaker Trace Trail at Miami Whitewater Forest, a park west of Cincinnati and about 20 minutes from my grandma's house, has an outer loop and inner loop. The inner loop is about 1.2 miles and the outer is about 7.8. The trail, which features multiple drinking fountains (including one for dogs!) and a couple honey buckets, is paved and winds through prairies, wetlands, creekbeds and farmland.

The scenery is just beautiful, and the early miles seemed to just tick away. I made sure to not go faster than a 10 minute/mile pace but tried to not go slower than 10:30. It seemed to be a lot of work, and I was slightly embarrassed as other runners seemed to zip by me. I reminded myself that there is no shame in a 10:30 mile and that it would pay off in the end.

I was feeling really good at the half-way point (6 miles) when I stopped to take my Lemon Sublime Gu. The Gu was a departure from previous long runs when I was eating half a Larabar mid-way through. Though the Larabar provided enough sustenance, it didn't replenish the electrolytes that I was losing in the heat. I gobbled it up, took a sip or two of water and decided to turn around rather than complete the loop.*

*I'm always afraid that I'll just cut a run short if I get too close to home or to my vehicle.

This was the point where I started to kick it up. I allowed myself to run between 9:30 and 10:00 but tried not to focus on good ol' Miles Davis the way I had in the first half. I made a mental note at mile 9 that I was feeling great and at mile 10 when I still had energy. There were a few uphills toward the end, and I made an effort to surge ahead as to not let them beat me.

I was able to keep an eye on distance sans Garmin as the trail was clearly marked, and I kicked it into high gear for the last half mile ... and then some. I believe mile 12 came in at 9:20 if that's any indication.

I walked back to my car (OK, the bathroom) - glowing with sweat and pride at a long run done well.