Training, being rational, getting it done.

I have been long running since 2010, you’d think after three years I’d be pretty good at it by now. I’m not bad at it, but it still surprises me when I hobble away from a long run with lessons learned. It’s a good thing, I think. What would be the fun of all of this if I stopped learning?

On Saturday I ventured out for an 18 mile run around the Lake Loop, which used to be the hardest route in the world for me. It was feeling effortless, even with 15 mph wind. I’d get to the top of a hill and think “Wow! I didn’t even notice I was going up a hill!”  I was feeling happy about how far I’ve come with the Lake Loop.

I made a pit stop at home on mile 12; use the potty, get more water, eat an energy bar, and take the hubster out for the last 6 miles. We were running, chatting, I began to whine, “This is starting to feel hard. I’m going to slow down. Nothing hurts. This is hard. Wait, I forgot to hit start on my Garmin after that last stop light. Crap, it was about a half a mile ago, right?”

Mile 15, bonnnnnnnnnnk.  Bonkity-bonk-bonk-bonk, full on walk for a half a mile. Start shuffling again at snail’s pace, stop to walk, shuffle, walk, whine, repeat until Garmin says 17.50 miles.

My years of long run experience helped me be more rational while I hypothesized what went wrong. Here’s what I came up with:

  • I started out too fast. The first 12 miles were a 9:20 average, and when you factor in the strong wind I was pushing myself too hard for a training run.
  • The energy bar I had at mile 12 was a new-to-me chia seed bar. It didn’t deliver. Back to the drawing board for fuel options.
  • This was at the end of a peak week. I ran more, my legs were tired.

After the run, it wasn’t adding up in my head that I seemingly took ten minutes longer to do 18 miles than it did two weeks ago. Turns out, when I forgot to hit “start” on my Garmin after a stop light, it was a mile and a half later. Whoops, 19 miles!

Even though I bonked hard on this run, I’m glad it happened. I feel good about the long training sessions ahead of me this summer for Ironman. There will be some tough rides and runs, but I’m pretty sure I’ll react rationally and get it done.

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