Saturday, May 8, 2010

Super Duper Extra Long Run

2 hours 2 mins.
~17.25 miles

Saturday promised to be everything I could hope for in a weekend: brunch at Flying Biscuit, a relaxing afternoon with Jordan and my parents and a graduation party with all my OCOMM cohorts in the evening. Unfortunately there was a teeny tiny detail standing in the way of all that: my long run. Not just any long run, but a super duper extra long run. I'd have to consult the blog archives to say for sure, but I'm pretty sure I haven't run 17 miles in close to two years. I know for a fact that my longest run since last summer has been 13. Not only did Simmons prescribe this ambitious distance, but he also wanted the last three miles to be "uptempo." For me, I was pretty sure "uptempo" would mean "not passing out."

Fortunately, I had some reinforcements. Perhaps feeling guilty about skipping my graduation last night, Jordan offered to forego his scheduled speed developm
ent session and instead wake up early and accompany me on my run. I'd also enlisted Pezz to join us for the second half, and scheduling our 8am meetup at Old Bell ensured that I would hold myself accountable for a 7am start time. So despite getting less than six hour of sleep, Jordan and I were up and at 'em just after 6am. It's mornings like this that make me (and all my sane friends) question why I do this silly running thing in the first place, but there was little time for contemplation as we dressed quietly in the dark and headed out the door.

Once we arrived at McAlpine, the first half of the run passed without incident. It was quiet on the trail and still relatively cool, as the sun wouldn't start peeking out over the horizon until almost 8. Jordan and I took an unfamiliar (for me) route, opting to cross over the bridge at the .5 mile marker of t
he Footlocker course and continue on the bike path. (I believe it runs parallel to Independence?) The only thing of note during this section was my unsettled stomach. Perhaps a dinner of wine and spinach dip wasn't the best prerun meal after all. We made a quick detour on the way back to Old Bell and then I was good to go.

Although I was happy to pick up Pezz, the next four miles after meeting up with her were my worst of the morning. The heat and humidity were rising along with the sun, and I started to question my heavy legs and the reality of actually making the full 17 miles. Despite my hesitation, the pace naturally began to drop a bit, and by the time we reached the Footlocker course again we were clicking off sub-7's. I found my second wind somewhere around 13 miles and for the first time started to believe I could finish the run faster than I'd started. With 2.5 to go it was now or never, and I made a conscious effort to pick up the pace. Jordan and Pezz were great, offering encouragement and feedback the entire time, and though my breathing grew ragged I could feel my confidence coming back. After a disastrous workout on Thursday I needed some absolution, and this was whe
re it would happen. I closed out the final 2.5 with splits of 6:38, 6:14, 3:00 and felt strong doing it.

I wouldn't have made it through the program without the lovely,
the sassy, the exquisite Dr. Kim Gregory!

With this albatross out of the way, the rest of the day was as fun and relaxing as I'd hoped. The highlight was definitely watching a group of grown adults, including but not limited to one of my professors and the mother of the party's hostess, throwing down a mean game of flip cup in the garage of our swanky Southpark party house. I knew there was a reason why I liked these people so much.

All spiffed up with my fellow OCOMMers