For those of you who are not in the running "know", when you're training for any kind of race of distance then you incorporate "long runs" into your training schedule. You don't go out and run 13 miles every time because a) that would be super boring and b) you'd do more harm than good on your body. Running long distances takes a toll on your muscle fibers, hydration level, and personally: my feet! So right now my training schedule looks kind of like this:
Tues: hill repeats 3miles
Thurs: 5 easy miles
Fri: fartleks or 4miles at 5K pace
Sun: long run
Ok, before I go on, I'm sure you're thinking "fart whats?". A fartlek is a Swedish term for "speed play"; basically sprints with no time or distance to them. Run fast from this mailbox to that tree, go back to normal pace, and repeat.
This weekend I was slated to do 9 miles. I got myself ready, geared up, and set out for my run. I was going on a similar route that I did last weekend, so I knew I just had to do a little more at the end to bump up to 9 miles. Things were going really well, until I decided that I wanted to add the extra distance in the middle of my run rather than at the end. So I got to a good place to do so, pull out my phone to check my mileage with my handy app, and noticed with dismay that it only said 2.10 miles when I knew I was right around the 4 mile point. Also, by the map, I wasn't even where I should be. Except that I knew where I was (duh, right?), so clearly my phone was wrong and had lost the GPS signal somewhere along the way.
Ok, no biggie right? I knew how to get home and all, so it's not like I was lost. But I do sure rely on that little lady in my phone to tell me what mile I'm at and my pace. At that point, I decided "ok, we'll just make this about running. Not about times, let's just run."
Luckily, I still run with my watch/fancy-pants heart rate monitor, so I knew when it was snack time. Another tidbit here: most trainers/runners/crazy athletes advise that you take in 30-60 grams of carbs after 60 minutes of exercise to refuel what you've burned. I like to eat these little energy chews around 45 minutes so I don't hit a wall of exhaustion before it's too late. I'm also wearing gloves on most runs now because it's pretty dang cold here. In my fumbling to get my gloves off and stored in my pack, then get my chews out to eat, I drop the bag of chews. Thank goodness that they didn't spill all over the place, but what a PITA to have to stop and backtrack! So, I run the two steps back to pick them up, and continue on my way.
After that, things were going pretty well until about mile 7. Nature started calling around then - pretty loudly. Now, my route is pretty rural, and on other routes I have been forced to "use the woods" so to speak. However, although this route is rural, there are still plenty of homes and people. I really didn't want my 15 minutes of fame to look like this lady. I kept going, because really, what other choice do I have? But I'm on the lookout now, when lo and behold: a McDonald's! I completely forgot that the last 2 miles brings me back into civilization and runs right behind a McDonald's. So I happily stopped to use their facilities. I always carry a couple of bucks on me just in case restrooms are for paying customers only, but they were so busy in the Sunday morning need-my-McFatty-food rush that no one noticed me. Well, no employees anyway.
The rest of my run was uneventful, thankfully, although I had to guesstimate my actual time and distance. I think I ran about a 9:10 pace, which is ok with me. It's funny how some runs can be right on and all the stars align for you, and some can be like this. Ultimately though, I did it. There's no regrets on that part.