Today's post is brought to you by the number 9.
I had an insane week of training. Speed work, spin class, and probably not as much sleep as I wanted/needed. Since I slept in last weekend and skipped my long run, I wasn't going to let myself do that this morning. My longest long run was 17 miles three weeks ago. I figured today I would see what everyone else was doing at my group run and tag along with someone going 15 or so.
Surprise! No one was going that far. I usually run with Allan, but he is out of town this weekend. One of the runners, Dawn, was going 12, but I knew I needed more. I kept telling myself to go 15, because for some reason that sounded like a good distance. Inside, I wanted 18 to get me to my longest distance.
Since I was on my own, I ran completely based on feel. Usually Allan pushes me pace wise since I always want to slow down in the heat. I had no stopwatch to time my walk breaks, so I ran for about two songs, walked for a little, then ran two more songs.
I've always read race recaps where people split up the race into miles (1-4, 5-9, etc.) and I never understood why. After today, I get it. This run felt like it was 4 runs combined in one.
Segment 1 (Start till Mile 3.7)
I felt like complete crap for the start. I ran out to UNF, and since I've done this route so many times, I was boooooored. Nothing is more boring than running the same route over and over, since I knew exactly how far I was going. I stopped at the bathroom at Mile 3.7 and felt completely defeated. While I was in the bathroom I glanced down at my wristband and something clicked inside of me. I was really annoyed at myself and felt determined to get it done.
Segment 2 (3.7 - 12.75)
This segment felt awesome. I changed my route and ran up to Beach Boulevard (about a mile each way), then I ran part of UNF in reverse. It felt refreshing and there were some miles where I didn't feel the need to walk. Plus, most of my route was in the shade. I took a gel at mile 6 and then again at about mile 12.
Segment 3 (12.75-14.75)
When I stopped by the bathroom/water fountain to refill my bottles, the heat started to hit me. It was about 77 when we started (6:40 AM) with no sun, and by now it was almost 9:00 and the sun was coming up. I didn't hydrate well at all before the run, and it was making me feel awful. Instead of running on Gate Parkway in the direct sun, I told myself to go the Touchton loop so at least I'd have some shade. When I hit the "Cow Tunnel" I had to stop because the darkness messed with my eyes and made me really dizzy.
Segment 4 (14.75-Finish)
At mile 14.75 I hit the water stop that JRC sets up on Gate Parkway. I had some Gatorade and was standing around when Jackie (the one who "runs" this group run) drove up to collect the cooler. She and one of the other girls offered me a ride back to the store and I thanked them, but told them I would feel even worse if I gave up so close to the finish. Jackie told me exactly what I needed to hear - Suck it up. It felt awful and hot, but I toughed out the last bit and finished at 18.2 miles for the day - my longest long run ever.
After the run, my glutes were on fire. I kept walking around, grabbed some water, and then stretched for a bit before I went home. Now I've got a really sore left foot. It's been bothering me a little since the Tijuana Flats Beach Run. Someone on Twitter said it could be from my shoes/lacing because it's only in my left foot. I'm headed to JRC (en route to my pizza!) to see if they have any suggestions.
I'm Jenn! I'm a baker, blogger, sorta-runner, and writer living in Jacksonville, Florida!