Sunday, March 1, 2009

You MUST respect the long run.

I had one of the worst runs EVER yesterday. I had one run last year that was the worst of the season, and I think yesterday may have been harder than that.
But there is good news. I think I learned a few lessons:

1) Don't run long runs too fast! Even though I seemed to have a stitch in my side from around mile 2, my breathing never felt right and I never got into a good rhythm, I ran most of the miles around a 9:30 pace*. Even in my last few miles when I walked part of the time, I still averaged under an 11-minute mile. I need to learn to let Laura go on ahead (I did at mile 11 when I didn't have a choice but to slow down). There was no reason to push it yesterday.

I still don't get the breathing thing. I felt out of breath most of the run. By the last three miles, my chest felt really, really tight. I felt like I could never get enough air. I think it is what it might feel like to have mild asthma. It sucked. Laura, who is a nurse, thought that it is possible that I might have some inflammation from the cold I had a week or so ago. I hope there is an explanation. I really hope it is temporary.

2) Treat long runs like a race and fuel and hydrate the day before. Yesterday I was thirsty during the first mile. Luckily, I had my fuel belt and was able to refill it during the run. I don't know how Laura does it. I think she is part camel. She only drank at the water fountain at mile five and mile nine.
I didn't really think about fueling my body yesterday. I just ate as usual, maybe even a little less than usual. Dinner wasn't particularly carb friendly either. I doubt my glycogen stores were up much at all. For breakfast, all I had was a Luna Bar. It is time to start trying out long run breakfast options.

I ran out of energy yesterday. For the first time ever, I completely bonked. I had to negotiate with myself to keep going. I was saying things like, "if I run to that light post, I can walk for a while." Once I said that I would walk until the Garmin lap pace showed eleven minutes and then I would run to get it back into the tens. Those are internal conversations during a LONG run, not fourteen miles! I forced myself to run the last half mile.

3) Don't do a double workout the day before a long run. Saturday morning, I taught a Stroller Strides class. No biggie, but I did happen to focus on lower body (squats, hip abductions, inner thigh lifts etc.). I had a group of moms who ran between stations, so I needed to run to keep up with them. It wasn't exactly a "rest" day. Why again did I volunteer to cover the Saturday classes?

Then I had an instructor meeting for Stroller Strides. We always workout during these meetings, which is great because you get to learn more exercises etc. This time they gave us each a muscle group to work. Imagine approximately 30 instructors all trying to impress each other with a different exercise with no break. Holy cow... what a workout! I am still sore.

I didn't exactly exactly prepare for a long run. I guess I wasn't really thinking of it as a long run. I've been running eight to twelve miles every week. I don't even think about it much. It wasn't the fact that it was fourteen miles. I was hurting by eleven miles and knew early on that it wasn't a good run for me.

4) Sleep is important! I have not been sleeping well lately. I am staying up later than I should and waking up early. This morning I woke up just after 5 a.m. for no particular reason. I suppose stress does that to you.

5) Running by the Pacific Ocean can't be beat! The best part of the run for me was running along Sunset Cliffs. We were literally steps from the ocean. In fact, the walkway ended and we ran on sandstone for a while. It was a bit slippery and we had to watch our steps, but I was grinnning ear to ear the entire time. If it wasn't for that stretch, I would have had an even harder time. That was mile six and I really thought it was going to feel great for the rest of the run...

Here are some pictures. I feel a little bad posting these knowing that some of you ran in horrible, horrible weather this weekend.

6) When the forecast calls for mid-70's, we need to start our run earlier. For the past week, the forecast has been off, on the low side, by at least five degrees. If it says the high is 76, you know it will be 81. Starting around 8 a.m. on a day like this wasn't the best choice. It was really hot, which didn't help me at all. I think it was over 80 degrees when we finished.

7) I really do hate Accelerade. I got used to it last year. We trained with it since that is what they served during the marathon. But yesterday it made me nearly gag every time I drank it. At the very end, when I was feeling dehydrated and my water was gone, sipping on that Accelerade made things worse. Does powdered Accelerade go bad? I don't think so. But I think I am going to throw it away anyway. I really need to go buy some Ultima or even some good ol' fashioned powdered Gatorade. I received a packet of the lemon-lime Gatorade Endurance Formula in a race goody bag and really liked it.
So if I take heed of these lessons, yesterday's run definitely wasn't a bust. I need to really respect the long run, no matter if it is fourteen or twenty miles. I need to start approaching these runs better. We have our first of three twenty-milers in a few weeks. I need to work out the kinks before that!
*My splits:
mile 1- 9:25
mile 2- 9:21
mile 3- 9:26
mile 4- 9:29
mile 5- 9:26
mile 6- 10:47 (this is where we ran on the sandstone along the water)
mile 7- 9:41
mile 8- 9:22
mile 9- 9:31
mile 10- 9:28
mile 11- 9:19 (Laura had eaten a Gu around 9.5 miles. I think it kicked in)
mile 12- 9:18
mile 13- 10:24
mile 14-10:28


Irish Cream said...

I hate days like those--where you just KNOW going into your run that it will not go well. But great job toughing it out and getting through it!

And also? I am SERIOUSLY jealous of your beautiful weather . . . especially after the pummeling we've received over the last couple days. But the pics of y'all sporting tanks and shorts are helping me to remember what I have to look forward to some day in the (hopefully) not too distant future :)

Alissa said...

I wonder if you started the run dehydrated and that was source of your problems. I'm betting the humidity was pretty high right there on coast, so you were probably sweating out more than you could drink. Dehydration can make you prematurely fatigued and I wouldn't be surprised if that affected your breathing.

Don't worry, runs like that don't happen often. Just don't let one bad run keep you from going again. It was hot here yesterday too.. nearly 90!

AKA Alice said...

Yeah...everyone has sucky runs. It was pretty warm this weekend. We ran at the Strand and I felt the effects of the heat more than I have for awhile.

I use Vitalite. It's hard to come by, but they carry it at Movin' Shoes. It reminds me a little of old-school Gatorade, before they made it all sugary-sweet.

MCM Mama said...

OY, I hate runs like that. Really sucky long runs for me are usually either a result of not enough food or water leading up or overtraining.

I'm so jealous of the warm weather (although I'll be whining about running in the heat soon enough LOL)

RunnerMom said...

I've had a few of those. What is good is that you are mature enough in your running that you don't let the bad runs shake your confidence in your running. For me, they always raise the spectre of self-doubt. You just carefully analyzed what went wrong and you will learn from it!

tgorourke said...

Ok, yes, I am jealous of you for being able to run in such gorgeous surroundings, but I don't begrudge you. I thank you for posting the pictures, because it reminds me our good weather is coming, it just has to get here (preferably sooner rather than later, of course.)

Could you carry your own stuff, like I did last year in my camelbak, so that you don't have to drink the crappy Accelerade? I know, it does get heavy at one point though.


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