13.1 -- that's how many miles I ran this morning.
No, I didn't run in an official half marathon, although I am registered to run my first one on May 3rd. Today was just a trial run to see if I could actually do it. I was going to follow a more gradual lead-up to the 13.1 mile mark, but I changed my mind for a few reasons:
Reason #1: I felt really good in the 6-7 mile range, and I just decided to see how far I could take it. By the time I got to 12.1 miles, I was already a third of a mile away from my starting point, so I decided I may as well finish it.
Reason #2: In the week since I registered for the Volcano half, I have done quite a bit of research on how to prepare for the race. All of the running websites and blogs say, "Never try anything new on race day!"; so why would I want to run 13.1 miles for the very first time *on* race day? #logic
Reason #3: Many running articles also talk about "hitting the wall" during a distance race, so I went searching for it. Again, why would I want to hit the wall for the very first time on race day? At first I wasn't sure that I had found it, but after looking at a graph of my pace, I think maybe it reared its ugly head right around mile 11, which would be where I had to do some stopping and going due of heavier street traffic, which caused my legs to start feeling a bit crampy -- which meant I had to slow my pace and shorten my stride to keep going. Here's the graph from my RunKeeper app:
I was able to keep a steady pace between 9:51 and 9:54 per mile for most of my run, but hitting the wall quickly pulled me back to a final average of 9:59, which is about what I expected. I would hope to better that in the race with some real carbo loading, but would definitely happy to hit this pace again. I finished this morning in a total time of 2:10:58, and I burned a total of 1824 calories, according to RunKeeper. This explains why I have been hungry all afternoon, despite my constant eating.
Now the plan is to back off a little on my once a week longer run distances, and keep working shorter runs during the week -- 6-7 mile runs on Tuesdays, and shorter / faster paced runs on Thursdays. I may even take a few days to rest about 2 weeks before the race -- that seemed to do well for me the first two weeks of March. My foot seems to be holding up fairly well considering the mileage I have put on the last two weeks (22.2 last week, 24.3 this week), but I think it could use a break in there somewhere.
Speaking of running through pain, one of my favorite running blogs that I stumbled across, Shut Up and Run (aka SUAR), just did a blog entry that says it better than I ever could. I don't know who she is, but I love her straight-forward writing style. Here's the article on running through pain: Running Hurts Like Hell, But Why?
The first SUAR blog post that I came across was one that really made me want to read more of her writing -- the honesty in this post is so refreshing! How To Not Crap Yourself On the Run. I'm happy to report no close calls in this department today.
And now I am really tired... no more running until Tuesday!