It was nearly the perfect weekend to do it as the temperatures were above freezing both days, and I didn't caught in any rain, despite setting records this weekend. I was grateful I had the opportunity to run — and for the lessons I learned along the way.
1. Running a point-to-point course is fun. As in, you don't ever see the same stuff twice and there's no chance to bail. If you are 4 miles from a vehicle, you have to run 4 miles. Period.
Our long run took us from a local university and along the course for the city's Thanksgiving day 15K. It was a bit hilly in the beginning as we ran through a historic cemetery but it flattened out as we headed west toward the industrial park where we would finish. Part of the path was quite familiar from other long runs but the cemetery was unfamiliar grounds, and it was eerily nice to run through it.
Not my friends and me but a shot of the cemetery where we ran.
2. Running a point-to-point course is less fun if you are running straight into a headwind the entire time. Winds on Saturday were 16 mph, and I know there were some gusts in there. It was bearable at times and others, it was downright miserable. I needed some big, hulky dudes to run with — not the two petite, beautiful women with whom I was keeping company.
3. 9.5 miles is significantly farther than the 8-mile long runs I've been doing the past two weeks. I was ready to be done at 8 and though I knew I'd finish the run, I didn't know how much of a slogfest it would be. I nearly hugged my friend in delight when she asked to walk up a hill just shy of the 9-mile mark. YES!
4. The post-long run hunger is no joke now. Not that it ever was, I guess, but it has reached insane levels. I was so ravenous by the time I got home Saturday afternoon that I brought a yogurt and granola bar to eat while I took a bath. Yes, I could have eaten and then drawn the water but I was cold and needed a soak. There was no way I could choose between eating and getting warm — I had to do both.
5. Denali is not as out of shape as I had expected. I decided to split up my Sunday run, taking Denali for the first part and then finishing up on my own. I told Mark that I would probably do 2 miles with the dog but no more. My running math is always bad, especially when combined with a GPS that was off, and the first loop was 3.5 miles. To my surprise, Denali was happy and strong the entire time. I'm kicking myself for not doing this type of run earlier as the weather, lately, on weekdays has not been conducive to getting out of bed or running safely.
6. A sports bra is not an appropriate place to store a cell phone nor is it wise, especially if the case is not snapped on appropriately. OUCH! The upside, if there is one to a pinched and chafed nipple, is I got a good half hour further in the "Wild," which I borrowed on audiobook from the library. I had a looming return date and the run helped me finish it in time. Verdict? Loved it. I wonder if I can go hike the PCT. Like, now.
7. I think I might be on the verge of dropping my mileage a bit. I was telling my midwife that I wasn't feeling as good as I had. However, I do want to give it a week or two to see whether it was just a bad run or my body letting me know I need to scale back. I also want to, if I can safely, hit 10 miles one more time in a farewell long run.