About 7 months ago I had a lofty goal of running a Long Run of at least 21k every month. At the time I had already completed two Half Marathons and was training for my third. My reasoning was that I have worked hard to be able to run this distance and I don’t want to lose that level of fitness. So far in 2016 I had run this distance 6 times, including the Hypothermic Half and the Fundy International Half. The other 4 times I have just gone out on my own and done it, which has been a good experiment in fuel, recovery, hydration, etc.
This month for the first time I didn’t plan ahead. I had been on vacation for a week and decided on a whim to run 21k on my last day before returning to work. When one of my running buddies learned that I was doing a long run she offered to join me but we disagree on the definition of Long Run. She wanted 12k, I wanted 21k.. in the end we compromised and ran 15k together and then I ran the final 6k alone. It was fantastic. We started at 7 am before it got too hot. There was a lovely cooling fog surrounding us for the first several kilometers before the sun burned through it and unleashed it’s heat on us. During the last half of the run we took a lot of walk breaks because it was so hot. In spite of this she got a 15k PB which was pretty sweet.
This should have been a horrible run for me because I did a lot of things wrong. During my vacation I ate a lot of crap with no regard for healthy eating. I hadn’t been drinking much water, favoring sugary soft drinks instead. The only thing that I carried for fuel was Mio (water enhancer). To my surprise I didn’t require anything else, and I tolerated it quite well. It’s definitely worth trying again. Because of my vacation I was well rested going in this run. Sitting on a beach all day will do that for ya. Tapering was accidental but it was about right. . I hadn’t run further than 5k for over a week, and often it was only 2k. It was very hot by the time we were done and I normally don’t perform well in the heat. In spite of all of this I finished with my third fastest HM time, and only 2 minutes from my fastest. Imagine how well I could have done if I had been trying, eh?
Summary. I guess if you keep doing something it eventually becomes easier. This wasn’t effortless but I didn’t feel like i was pushing myself either. It was a comfortable pace and I recovered quickly. My legs were a little stiff the next day but I was able to return to work the next day without much discomfort.
I’ve come a long way, baby!