Saturday, August 13, 2005

My Longest Long Run to Date

This morning was my longest training long run to date. My goal was 34K/21M or time-wise about 3:30:00 to 3:40:00. I left the house about 6:15 a.m., after a small breakfast and a quick warm-up. My CamelBak was full of diluted sports drink, I had a couple sports bars with me, long sleeve running shirt - forgot my cell phone.

I first took the 11K straight asphalt-covered trail to the neighboring city of Karlsruhe. By the end of this first stretch my legs were already complaining about the hard asphalt surface. I took a right off this trail, ran a couple hundred meters than took another right and started heading back towards my town on a parallel trail. I could tell that I had been putting in some serious mileage this week (41K/26M not counting this run) – and my 16K/10M run Wednesday was over the hilly route!

By the 20K/12.5M point my legs were already begging for mercy, they were sore! My average pace up to this point was about 5:43/K (9:13/M), about 15-30 seconds faster than most of my long runs. I ignored my whining legs and dug in, I knew this was not going to be an easy day!!

I ran on, heading off the asphalt onto gravel & dirt trails around the 22K/13.6M point. After a couple more kilometers my legs stopped throbbing at least – they were just tired and sore. I wound my way over the Graben (neighboring town) Running Clubs trails. This was mentally the hardest part of the run today, I was unsure exactly how fast I was running, so was equally unsure of my distance. My legs were forcing me to slow down, I just wasn’t sure how much.

After 2 hours and 55 minutes I finally headed over the railroad bridge and onto my familiar 14K running trail. As I came to the first intersection I knew that straight ahead was about 5.5K until the house or left was 8.5K. Looking at my watch I knew I needed to go the long route and grudgingly did just that.

Having established my own landmarks to mark the kilometers along this route, I could then at least control my speed. I was still managing a 6:05-6:10 pace per kilometer (9:40-9:55/M). The sun was out in full force, my long sleeve shirt was getting too warm. I ran out of liquid in my CamelBak about 4K’s from home – not serious – almost home. I really had to fight to keep moving, my legs were feeling like wood, I was really stiff – must of looked funny :-)

Three kilometers from home the trail switched back to asphalt as I headed along the edge of our neighboring town of Spoeck. At this point the asphalt was almost an advantage – I couldn’t lift my legs so high anymore. I struggled on, one foot in front of the other one, past the school, onto the trail out of town – I could see the church steeple near my house – 2K to go! At some point along here I got an adrenalin rush, finished this kilometer in 5:30!

As I crossed the bridge over the highway and the last kilometer point I could feel my legs slowing again, I fought on. Almost home. Past the Boy Scout club, 500 meters...the mill, 300 meters...the church, there’s my house...gosh my legs hurt, whoever thought up this crazy idea to run so far...home!

Stop running, ouch-ouch, my legs hurt…walk it out. I walked for 7-8 minutes. I haven’t had such pain after a run since the marathon. So back in the house, stretched, cooled-down – laid on the floor and propped my legs up on a stool for awhile. The pain eventually subsided somewhat.

I ran 3 hours 34 minutes and 22 seconds, no breaks other than a short pee break. I’m pretty confident that I ran at least 34K/21M – as this is an average pace of 6:18/K (10:09/M) it was probably more than that :-O

In any case I feel like I brought my body very close to the edge of my limit, hopefully without doing any major damage, e.g. where a longer recovery is necessary. Tomorrow I am declaring a rest day. I may juggle my weight training and runs around next week to where I don’t run so far on Monday either. We’ll see.

In any case I ran at least 75K/46.6M this week! Wow, that’s a new record for me! I feel it today, believe me. I wanted to go out and do some work in the garden this afternoon, but my legs just told me “I don’t think so Jack!” Maybe in a few hours, wish I had my mom’s walker...

Wow! That's an impressive run, and an impressive week! You totally gutted it out - good for you!
Awesome Jack! You are so marathon ready!!
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