Going the Extra Mile and Then a Few More

I did it.

On Sunday (6/23) I went out for my last long run before the marathon. I ran 26.2 with my running group, then did a quick two mile loop around downtown Missoula, stopped at The Runner’s Edge for a quick snack and visit, and ran the two miles home for a total of 30 miles.

It wasn’t my best run ever. I hadn’t slept well the night before and I went wrong somewhere with my nutrition, I think, so I was feeling less than fantastic. It was a bit of a slow slog all the way through, really. I’m so glad I had my running buddies with me to keep me going for the first 26.2. If I had been on my own I probably would have given up somewhere around mile 10.

One thing I will say is this: If you decide to do extra miles on a long training run like that, do them before your group run if possible. Prior to our final long run, I’d been getting my extra miles in by running to and from my running class. I think that made it a lot easier. Getting two extra miles after class and ending up at home is pretty easy, mentally. Getting four extra miles after class was mentally more difficult. Breaking it into two sections with a stop at Runner’s Edge helped, but it was still difficult.

I do feel really good about achieving my 30 mile goal, though. I tend to doubt myself a lot in life, but if I can decide to run 30 miles and actually pull it off, perhaps I can do other things that seem beyond me right now.

I’m also happy to report that other than a sore left shin, I didn’t have much stiffness or soreness afterward, which surprises me. Nor did I need to take a break in my running schedule. After waffling quite a bit because I assumed it would be hard and slow, I went out for my usual Tuesday run home and was surprised by how easy and good it felt. And the soreness in my left shin worked itself out on the run, too. Yesterday’s run (the 2nd since the 30 miler) was a little more taxing, but I think that was just because it was around 85 degrees.

Unlike this time last year, I feel much more secure about race day. I know I can run 26.2 miles because I’ve gone farther than that already twice this year. Now it’s just a matter of waiting until race day and taking good care of myself between now and then.

The Missoula Marathon is on July 14th and I’m ready.

One Month to Go!

The marathon is in a month.

The marathon is in a month!

I think I’m ready.

I ran my 27 miler on June 2nd and it was actually a really fantastic run. As soon as I got out onto the street that morning on my way to class, I knew it was going to be a great day. It was overcast and cool, but not cold. My preparation had paid off and I was feeling rested and energetic.

I opted to run with my pace group leader from last year using a 20s/40s split. We both had good reason to run a slow, conservative training run, so pairing up worked out really well for us. It was fantastic to get to run with him, since I haven’t had the chance much this year. We had a great time talking and laughing and catching up.

In some respects, though, the best moment of the run for me was when we got back to the Runner’s Edge. I had run 25 miles and had two more to go for my goal. I stopped and visited for a few minutes with the lovely people who had finished their runs or were waiting for others to finish. I grabbed an orange slice and a delicious chocolate coconut square and realized that I absolutely had 2 more miles worth of energy left in me. That was a really glorious realization to have. I felt strong, energetic and happy, so I filled up my water bottle and bid my friends farewell.

I took off towards home feeling pretty pleased with myself. After about 1/4 of a mile I even decided to switch my timer back to 30s/30s. My last two miles was more quiet and contemplative, but still fantastic.

When I got home I started into “recovery mode” right away. I scarfed down a chocolate yogurt and put my legs up the wall. Once my legs felt ready to go, I made myself a big bowl of gluten free pasta and enjoyed some well deserved (I thought) butt-time in front of the television.

The following day I was mildly stiff but not bad at all, and by Tuesday I was pretty much back to normal.

This week we’re still in recovery mode. Our class has a 6 mile run scheduled for Sunday, so I may go as far as 10. Then I start gearing up for my 30 miler, which will be on June 23rd and is our last long run before the marathon. I’m going to prep for it exactly the same way as I prepped for the 27, which I describe here except for one thing I left out. I read in Runner’s World a while back about the anti-inflammation properties of blueberries, so I’ve been trying to incorporate blueberries into at least one meal every day before a long run. I can’t be certain, but I really do think I’m feeling a benefit from it in terms of less soreness and quicker recovery.

And for the record, I am still loving my new shoes.

I’ve got more to blog about in the hopefully near future, so check back.

In the mean time, keep running happy!