Yesterday was my first double digit run of this training cycle - 10 miles! Marc had skiing on the schedule so I arranged to run with long time running buddy, Janet. We are pretty evenly matched at the moment, although my training has probably been a bit more consistent and my longest runs a bit longer. Marc has been singing the praises of run/walk and I've used that method too in the past with some success. I prefer straight running, but while ramping up the miles this time, I've decided to complete all my long road runs using run/walk. Whether I use it in the marathon or continue on remains to be decided. And certainly on trails, I'll just run as the trail and my condition dictates.
Janet and I have been running together since approximately 2003, but we haven't done long runs together in quite a while. I had gravitated towards trails and if I was running long on roads, it was usually on a route by the waterfront, mainly on bike paths. However yesterday we chose a route that we've done before that took us through the streets of southeast Portland. Traffic was light and we stuck to mainly sides streets, but I still didn't enjoy running with cars. We ran 4 minutes and walked 1 minute, which was perfect. It had been raining all the previous night, but we managed to hit a clear window for most of the run. I was dressed for rain, but after the first mile I had to take off my coat and gloves. It started raining the last 30 minutes, but by that time I was warmed enough that I didn't need to put them back on. I carried two handhelds, mainly for the practice. In the past I was fine with one, but two seemed to bother me. But they were not a problem at all. I guess some of strength training and upper body work from water aerobics is paying off.
When we were near our homes at about 8 miles, Janet decided to walk and sent me on my way. I carried on and completed just over 10 miles at a 10:50ish pace. I felt great! My legs were a tiny bit sore, but as the day went on I actually felt better. I think I was experiencing that endorphin rush that has eluded me the past 2 years. What a great feeling! Call me crazy, but when I'm in that state I dream of crossing finish lines and doing back to back runs. I wonder how many other 45 year old women get giddy thinking about those kind of things?
Today was supposed to be a short 3 miler but Marc and I extended it to 4+. I didn't get a chance to stretch or do my post-run exercises because immediately after I walked in the door my gut seized up. I'll spare you the gory details because, actually, there aren't any. But the feeling wasn't pleasant. After 4 hours of rest in a fetal position I feel fine. It must have been some weird muscle spasm. And despite the lack of my post-run routine, my legs/hips/back feel perfectly fine right now.
Next week is another cut-back week where my overall mileage stays about the same (low 20's) but my "long" run is only 8 miles. Then I start moving up again. I can't wait.