Here's how my run broke down:
The first few miles were pretty easy. There are a few hills along the way, but I was feeling ok. This run follows a paved trail along the highway, then brings me into a little town. I run through the town, pick up the paved trail on the other side of town, then turn around and backtrack to my car. Once I hit the town, I was starting to feel tired. That's right around mile 5, where you can see my pace slowed.
I ate some energy chews and gave myself a little pep talk. Mile 6 is also in town, then back to the trail. There were multiple times in the first 4 miles where I looked at my watch and thought "Alison, slow down, you don't need to go so fast!" But for some reason, I have a hard time slowing myself down. It's like I only have one gear in any particular run. Honestly, there's also a little bit of pride involved. There's a little voice at the back of my head that says "hey, if you're feeling good at this pace now, maybe you can just keep it up."
Well, I'll tell you what: those last 4 miles were like slow torture. Somehow I kept a sub-9 min/mile pace, even though it was not intentional. I felt like I was running at a slug's pace. My legs were on fire for a short time, and I kept debating whether I should take a walking break or not. But then I'd think that walking would only mean it would take longer to finish, so I should just keep trudging along.
That last mile was rough. I literally counted down every .10th of a mile. The only reason I finished it was by giving myself a pep-talk, gritting my teeth and just doing it. But it was not fun.
I'm not sure what really happened, given that my last long run was 10 miles and a lot easier that this one. I think there are several factors leading up to this poor run: I skipped a long run last weekend because I ran a 5K instead, I maybe didn't fuel properly the day before, and I may not be using the right kind of fuel during my runs.
Every training material I've read says that you should have a "rest" week where you run a little less. I thought doing the 5K would be a good "rest" week, and didn't really want to do 4 days of running in a row. That may have been a bad decision. I also may not have eaten enough carbs the day before running; this is something I'm still playing with. Too many carbs: digestive upset, too few and I don't have enough energy. I'm also going to start looking into different options to eat while I'm running, maybe something with a little more salt.
Also, it just could have been a bad day, or I could have just been running too fast. Who knows, but I'm glad it's behind me!
Have you had a run like this? Did you change anything up to make the next one better?