Sunday, January 29, 2006

Trail Note: I Think I Can, I Think I Can

Yesterday the reality set in as to why most people run marathons in the fall after training all summer. It's daunting enough to set out on a long run (the longest you've ever done, perhaps, or at least the longest you've done since the last time you were foolish enough to train for a marathon) on a nice sunny summer morning. Setting out on that run when it's raining and 43 degrees tests the limits of dedication. But, I've got 26.2 miles to run on April 17th, and since I'd like to be able to enjoy those miles and not just suffer through them, I'd have to get going on those 16 this weekend. And at least it's not snowy or icy or below freezing.

I've been worried about this run all week. Since October, I'd only run 3 runs longer than 8 miles (two 10-milers and one 14). I was starting to fear that I was ramping up way too quickly and that I'd be injured in no time. How could I be ready to run 16 miles when 10 was so hard for me last weekend? Enough procrastinating; time to get to the run.

So, I finally got started, heading down the usual route to the Burke Gilman trail. I didn't feel bad, actually. I tried to keep the pace slow and easy, aiming for 9 minute miles. I was just feeling warmed up and good when I'd passed the 3 mile point in the U-district and the drizzle was gradually increasing into a real hard rain. I smiled, glad that I'd made the decision to bring my student ID along with me rather than my drivers liscense. After all, while the drivers liscense has my address on it (in case something horrible happens while running and I'm not able to tell someone who I am and where I live), my student ID has my bus pass on the back (more realistic that I'll have to stop running becuase I'm tired or hurt and want to take the bus home). It also lets me into the student gym, which happens to be right off the trail. So as the rain picked up, I jumped on a treadmill for a couple of miles until the rain let up (and I got too sweaty and bored to continue). The rest of the run was wonderfully uneventful and pain free. At one point near the end, I started feeling leg muscles in a way that I hadn't felt since last summer, which was good. It was like they were telling me how much they'd missed these long runs and were anxious to be used a little more.

Some benefits to long runs in the winter:
- No worries about getting up early to beat the heat
- You don't get as dehydrated
- Gel gets really hard and chewy, which is a sticky mess, but kinda yummy, like candy
- Your water/gatoraid stays cold
- The hot shower at the end feels really good


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