This morning was my return to long runs after last week's glorious step back week where I ran no further than eight miles. To get back into it I went 16 miles.
Rather than hit the roads around the homestead I went back out to the NCR trail, where, during my last 16 mile run there, I ran into bodily function issues around mile 10 that forced me to stop and then made me lose my mojo. I wound up struggling to 13 or so miles on that run after I started back up but walked/ran the last few miles. It was miserable, and since long-distance running is so incredibly mental I had to go and right that perceived wrong.
Interestingly, I was cruising right along until I got to the point where I had to stop last time when my stomach gurgled like it knew where it was. But it was just speaking up and not forcing me to stop. Onward I went.
I made it running all 16 miles at an average pace of 9:22/mile. I got it as low as 9:20 according to ye olde Garmin, but my legs started to get a little heavy during the last couple of miles so I guess I lost a few seconds on the homestretch.
Also -- and I hate to admit this -- I got passed. Some dude wearing the t-shirt of a local running club zipped past me when I was about 14 miles in. I was hoping to see him when I stopped, thinking he'd have been cooling down and stretching and stuff when I got there, but he either went to the parking lot before mine, after mine, or was long gone by the time I got there. First, I wanted to ask him how far he went. If he said anything less than 16 miles it wouldn't have made me feel bad about being passed. But I also wanted to ask about the running club. Oh, well. One of these days a running club and I will find each other. And big deal for getting passed. I'm sure we're running for different reasons. That's what I tell myself, at least.
Anyway, analyzing my two 16-milers, the one from today and the other from July 27, I see I played it much better today. In the first 10 miles of my last run my fastest mile was 8:48 and the slowest was 9:19. Today, the fastest mile was 9:08 and the slowest 9:24. However, seven of the 10 were in the 9:15-9:18 range. Additionally, the last 16 miler at the NCR trail saw miles 14, 15 and 16 with times of 10:53, 14:56 and 12:46 respectively. This time I went 9:20, 9:29 and 9:26. So even though I was about 10 seconds off my more or less average pace of the first 10 miles, it was still in the ball park, unlike during the last miles of the first run.
Most curiously, the last run, in which I ran at or below 9:00 in five of the 16 miles, I clocked a time of 2:40. Today's run, in which I ran no mile faster than 9:08, took me 2:29. If that's not a lesson in slow and steady winning the race I don't know what is.
So overall I feel really good about today's long run. The Real Test comes next Sunday, when I give 20 miles another crack. The first time I ran that distance I bonked at about 17.5 miles and slowly dragged myself along for the last 2.5 miles. I plan on running the same route next week and plan on keeping my pace right around 10:00/mile. As happy as I was last week to run eight miles under an 8:30 pace, that's how happy I'll be to make it a full 20 miles of slow, slow steadiness.
Still, can't wait to see how demoralized I get over that run regardless of my planning and effort. Wheee!