My previous distance record was 17.2 miles. Today, I made it to the big 20! I feel so PROUD! Well, I feel achy and throbby but aside from that, I feel very, very proud. It's not very often I have a "first" these days and this was a good one. It was quite challenging, I definitely struggled in a few areas, but I kept plugging along until I got to the end.
The end was a dive mini-mart by the International District light rail station where I bought my chocolate milk and gushed to the cashier what I had just done. He seemed genuinely impressed. I drank the milk outside the store, soaking up the sun on our first day of the year over 60 degrees. Then, I hobbled across the street to catch the light rail home. Ahhhhh!
I walked the 0.4 mi home from the train station and remembered that I had my music with me. I sang LOUD on my walk, so happy (or high) that I had completed my run and was going to live to blog about it. Tom Petty (Won't back down) and Michael Jackson (PYT) brought me big smiles. I pretty much headed straight for the ice bath and it felt like heaven. Thanks to Elizabeth's Ice Bath 101, my privates & I managed much better this time. I'm definitely going to take another icy after the ice maker fills back up.
To prepare for the Seattle RNR, I thought I'd cover as much of the course as possible given a start from my house. I headed straight for the lake and picked up at RNR mile 9 where the course heads east over the I-90 floating bridge. This is my mock RNR course miles 9 through 26 (with some extra in there to hit 20 miles total).
|Courtesy of USATF.org|
That's why I wanted to train on the course. I need strength and confidence.
I did this run alone and I didn't listen to any music until I was done. I just spent a lot of time in my head and since I was running in the city, I had to keep my ears alert so I could avoid cars and crazy people.
Throughout my run, I was agreeing with Elizabeth when she said the Seattle RNR course sucks because it's all highway. That might be a little bit harsh because while you're on the highways/busy streets you do get some pretty incredible views (if it's clear - mountain ranges, volcanoes, lots of water, boats, etc) BUT there is no mistaking that this is a very urban run. It was LOUD and a bit frantic. One upshot is that for the race, some of the areas will be closed to cars, so that will help with the noise and pollution.
I'm glad I did this chunk of the course, because it will be the most challenging portion and now I know what to expect. I don't feel a need to do this route again until race day though. I will just plan on incorporating hills into my tempo and long runs. If I do anything else course-related, I may run the first portion, miles 1 - 9, to see what they're like.
By mile 15, my feet were screaming. I tuned them out but I did take advantage of any soft shoulder I could find. My next long run is three weeks from now (22 miles) and I'm fairly resolved to return to the Lake Sammamish trail so I can spare my feet and joints some pounding.
At mile 17, my body started to stiffen up. Makes sense since that was my previous distance limit. I really slowed the pace down and since I was on the waterfront, I enjoyed (savored, even!) my last few miles of my "longest run ever." Plus, slowing down is good, according to Sally who is a veteran TNT marathoner and mentor. She ran most of my 17-miler with me and during our run, she said that spending TIME on your feet is good training - regardless of distance. She thinks it's good practice to be plugging along and getting your feet used to being hammered.
I didn't stop for pictures because once I stop, I have a hard time moving again. But I did snap a couple:
|Looking west over Fremont Bridge, from Aurora Bridge. Olympic Mts. in distance.|
|Elliot Bay - Myrtle Edwards Park. Olympic Mts. in distance. I saw a seal here!|
Lessons learned for next long run:
- Find a route with mixed hard and soft terrain. = Feet are throbbing right now.
- Plan water stops ahead, need to refill bottles 2x = I went through 40 oz. today (1 refill) but could have used another 10 oz or so. Thankfully, when I was most desperate for a refill, I passed a swanky restaurant (Canlis, for you locals) that had their garden hose hooked up and hiding behind a bush. I spotted it and raced over to refill. This is where I used my half-NUUN that I had wrapped & stuck under my bra strap.
- Wear sunglasses! = I was squinting the whole time - a nice problem to have.
- Bring more NUUN. = I took half before I started and the other half @ mile 13. I probably should have taken one earlier and then squeezed in another half-dose around mile 15. Maybe this would have helped with the stiffening I had at mile 17?