Nine Miles Later…

I think it’s pretty obvious from the fact that I was cleaning and running errands all day yesterday, my scheduled long run did not happen as planned.  But that is okay, because training plans and weekend runs are meant to be flexible – as long as you make sure you don’t skip them entirely.

This morning I woke up with only RUNNING on my mind.  My new spring training schedule said that I needed to run nine miles, but ever since I made my return to running, my recovering legs have only actually run five.  Gulp.

Normally on a training schedule you wouldn’t increase from 5 miles to 9 so quickly, but I’m actually starting this training schedule 2-weeks later than I should have (16 weeks instead of 18).  Keeping in mind the fact that I have run so much in the past (and never had a running related injury), I felt confident in large step up in mileage, as long as I took it slow.

We got ready for the run by making our homemade sports drink – an absolute must-have for any long run.  This mix tastes so much better than Gatorade or other energy drinks, and I love knowing exactly what is on the simple ingredient list.

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Filled to the top of my awesome 127 hours Nalgene bottle.  If you haven’t seen this movie, GO see it.  Just be prepared to need to peek through your fingers a few times.

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When I trained for my first marathon, nothing could stop me from hitting the sidewalk for a long run.  Icy sidewalks?  I’ll run in the street!  Freezing temperatures?  I’ll just bundle up!  Not so much these days – I have become a HUGE wimp when it comes to winter running.  So much that I am willing to subject myself to long mileage on the treadmill in order to avoid being cold on a run.  With my iPod charged and my bottle full of sports drink, we headed to the gym.

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Since I haven’t done any long distance mileage in a while, I forgot to consider that might want some additional fuel for a nine mile run.  Turns out it was my lucky day – they were handing out snack packs of Craisins at the front desk of the gym – score!

It also turns out that Craisins made for PERFECT running fuel!  You will definitely be seeing these again.  The little chewy bites of almost pure sugar were exactly what I wanted mid-run. 

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I used my favorite treadmill tricks and alternated walking breaks with interval running.  One by one the miles ticked by, and honestly it wasn’t that bad. 

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To my right, Casey the speedster knocked out 12.5 miles like it was nothing.  He’s training for the National FULL Marathon at the end of March!

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Story time!  Back in 2009, I was training for the Flying Pig Marathon in May and Casey was running the Atlanta Marathon in March.  The weekend of his race, I was scheduled to run 19 miles, which I planned to do in Atlanta on a pretty trail near my brother-in-law’s house.  But the day before the race I woke up to crazy thunderstorms and monsoons of rain.  Knowing it was the only day I could do my long run, I borrowed my sister-in-law’s gym pass and headed to the local LA Fitness.  Armed with Gu, Gatorade, and only a Kelly Clarkson CD on my iPod, I banged on NINETEEN miles on the treadmill.  I don’t think I will ever forget that run.

Today’s run was much shorter and much more more bearable, and while my legs were definitely tired, I found myself doing my fastest interval at the conclusion of the 9th mile. 

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Nine miles later, I felt absolutely amazing.  I can’t believe I have come so far in such a short amount of time!

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I am also INCREDIBLY sore.  I see a soak in our giant bathtub in my future.  Immediately after showers and getting ready, we only had only one thing on our minds – LUNCH!

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Pretty sure post-run burrito bowls are going to become a weekly celebration.

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Relaxing tonight with my feet up.  I am SO sore, but so incredibly proud of the progress I have made in returning to running.  Here’s hoping that my legs and knee continue to feel great, and the mileage just keeps building. 

Now, about that bathtub…