Saturday, February 09, 2008


Another Saturday, another group run. I was going to get on here last week and whine about how the runs aren't getting easier. They were for a while, but then I started to feel like I was back at square one.

So that's why I was shooting for the beginner's mileage of 6.5 miles this morning and was nervous about it. Our coach told us to bring a booster, so I grabbed some Accel Gel from my pantry of power (what I call my stash) and headed to meet my group.

It wasn't horribly windy/cold when I left my apartment, so I felt good in my long-sleeve tee and tights. Besides, after some of the temperatures I've run in, 45 degrees sounded tropical. But we were starting our run at LP Field, and for anyone (cough me) who hasn't figured it out yet - it's always colder/windier by the river. Write that down.

Anyway, so they passed out the papers with the run route. Immediately, I noticed two things: not only was this run one hilly little b****, but it was taking me almost to my house (read: FAR). But at the same time I was "excited" because a lot of it was actually race course, including the part right by my office and once again - almost to my house.

But it was a hard route right out of the gate. We had to go out of the parking lot, and up the Gateway Bridge. Not the pedestrian bridge, or as I call it, the Bridge From Hell (I will blog about why later). But to get onto a bridge, you have to go up, so we had a hill at basically one-tenth of a mile.

I powered through, got to downtown and headed up Broadway. It was fun to run through downtown, even if it was all uphill. Then the route turned and I ran right by my office, up to the roundabout and to our water stop, where I whipped out my Accel Gel to try, and I mean literally whipped it out (I am too ashamed to admit where I stashed it, so if anyone wants to let me borrow a fanny pack, I'd be grateful). It felt like lukewarm yogurt. Not horrible. I downed it with some water and took off again shortly.

Here's how these group runs work: let's say your goal is 6 miles. They have you run out 3, then run back, equaling 6 miles. This is very smart, because if you're like me and get lost a lot, then you have to just suck it up and run back (or wait for the sweeper car to get you). So yet again, I miss the street at which I was supposed to turn around for my 6.5 miles, and stayed with the group until we realized we'd gone too far. So we turned around and headed back (but not after I suggested we all go take a nap at my place, which was a mile away).

At the risk of tooting my horn, I have to be honest - I ended up running the return by myself and did great! My Accel Gel had kicked in and several times my head was saying "Walk!" but my legs/body were saying "Go!" and didn't let me stop. My gluteus maximum and hamstrings started to hurt, but that's a good thing because they were working hard! And a lot of the return was downhillish, so that made it better. Just where it was starting to get hard (that final mile - knowing it was bridge time), I saw my coach running to meet me. She was running intervals: meeting people to running the hard part with them, then turning around to go meet more people and re-run that hard part. So she ran most of the bridge with me, and before I knew it, I was back to my car.

So - are you ready for this? I ran 8.2 stinking miles this morning. 8.2... 8.2... 8.2... my goal was 6.5 and I was nervous about it. I ran 8.2 and felt great. And while my coach was running with me, I was telling her how the runs stopped being easy. Guess what she told me? When you start running long distances, your body warms up slower. So a 3 mile run could be harder than a 10 mile run. That made me feel better - my body is getting stronger! Progress!

So. 8.2. I did it. Farthest run ever. And honestly, I felt better when it was over than I felt this week after a measly 3 miler. Which I think has to do with a lot of things, including getting into a groove of staying in on Friday, eating a ton of pasta, hydrating and then dipping into my pantry of power on Saturday before the run. That Accel Gel was amazing (Strawberry Kiwi flavor, in case the "Easter Bunny" or "Cupid" is reading this). I think I've found my formula!

Thanks to Sam and Allison for donating to my online campaign. This half-marathon stuff is NOT easy, but it does get easier, thanks to long runs (8.2!!!!) and your support.

Friday night never looked so good!

1 comment:

  1. friday night with jim, pam, and spaghetti does look really great. your run is 7.2 more miles than i can run.


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