Last long run of 2012…maybe.

Winter arrives tomorrow. At least according to all the weather models, it does. In my former life I was a meteorologist, and this is one of the skills you kind of learn for a lifetime…like riding a bike. As much as I didn’t think I should have run today, I decided it was probably my last chance to go long in the foreseeable future. So I went for it.

The initial run I mapped out for myself was 17.7 miles. The thermometer said 41° when I stepped out the door, but that wind was pretty brutal and insisted on making that “feel like” temperature just a wee bit colder. The sun was shining though, which was a plus. But it decidedly made me take a different route. Plus, I wanted to stay closer to home in case I changed my mind. Still, I ran a new route, which I will likely not repeat, since one of the roads was a bit dicey, with no decent shoulder to escape to. 
Today, I did come prepared with 20 oz of liquid, and 2 GU Gel packs. My thought was to take half a gel pack every 3 miles, plus a few sips of fluid. It worked out quite well, and now I know how I’ll refuel for that marathon I haven’t committed to yet. I do have to add “nose blowing” to that list. So for this run today, I slowed down to a walk every three miles to ingest half a gel pack, take a few swigs of an electrolyte replacement fluid, and blow my nose…in that order. I was off a bit at mile 9, and I skipped mile 12, because I figured I was pretty close to home at that point. I should have taken the last dose, though. I think it would have helped me finish strong.
Cardiovascularly, I have no issues. But at mile 11, it is amazing how my legs start to get super tight. Perhaps running longer distances will help alleviate this issue. It may even be the colder temperatures causing it. I’m not quite sure if it is physical, psychological, or just normal. Maybe someone who does long distances on a regular basis can chime in. But it is for sure an issue I am facing regularly. Then I’m afraid to push my pace because I don’t want to pull something. I certainly couldn’t imagine running another 13 miles at the pace I just ran the first 13 miles because of the tight leg muscles. Hmmmm. So much more to learn!
I did try some new gear today. I got this cute shirt/jacket by Brooks from Sierra Trading Post. It was on clearance and I had a coupon code to get it at 30% off. It was the ponytail hole in the hood that sold me. Plus, I liked the pink color. Today seemed like a good test day because of the temperature, but I’m glad I wore a long sleeved base layer underneath. It would not have been warm enough otherwise.
I’m not sure it was because there was a hole for the ponytail, or the way the jacket is made, but the hood stayed up the whole run! This is a plus, because it was pretty windy today, and I hate losing my hood in the wind. Plus, it kept my neck warm without having to double up on the balaclava and the hat.
The first half of the run, as usual, was nothing. I was feeling so good at mile 6, I just decided to keep going. But once I hit the wind, I started to rethink what the hell I was doing. The last half was just brutal. Somehow, though, I have escaped the mentality of “I cannot do this”. It has turned into “Let’s get this the hell over with.” For certain, that is how I finish these runs.
Since the snow will start flying tomorrow, I’m glad I got this run in. My next real challenge with be the Polar Dash on January 1st. I’m praying for a somewhat moderate weather day…and am now very happy I only signed up for the 10k. They’ll be plenty of time to train for that marathon that I haven’t even signed up for when March rolls around.

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