This week’s Sunday Long Run turned into:
Super Sunday Long Run!
For the past two weeks I’ve been taking wrong turns even when running with people much smarter than I. One week we ran a little long, last week we ran a little short.
This week we had an 18.1 mile run scheduled, our longest run of the series. I did not want to go out with the fast kids and then fade near the end. Like many runners, I like to start out slow, warm up and try to have consistent splits at the pace I have planned. It doesn’t always work out that way.
The Run in the Sun
I ran the first 11 miles with Matt Kerton. Matt was going to miss our 20-miler next weekend, so he had already run a few miles. He wanted to make sure he got the 20-miler under his belt. Matt and I ran mostly 10 to 10:30 splits. It was a good pace for the longest run of the season.
We usually have smaller groups on these long runs, and this was a holiday weekend. A lot of people were running the shorter distances, other people started at 7AM, because they knew the day would be hot. As such, there weren’t a lot of people out there with us.
The air was heavy with humidity, and grew warmer with each mile. August in New England. The shade in Breakheart Reservation was welcomed, but the hills were not.
Jim designed this run to tire us early in the run and then have to finish or tired legs. The idea was to simulate marathon conditions on an 18.1 mile training run. The hills in Breakheart worked very well in tiring our legs.
I know that Jim doesn’t make up the routes willy-nilly, but I didn’t really appreciate the level of planning that he puts into these runs until listening to him explain the plan at the last water stop.
On my own
Around mile 11 Matt stopped at a store to get a bottle of water and said he’d catch up to me. Running by myself, I picked up the pace a bit, but nothing faster than a 9:25 mile. At Lake Quannapowitt I refueled at our water stop and headed out.
For some reason I thought we were supposed to loop the lake, hit the water stop again and then run down North Avenue to Main Street in Wakefield. When I got back to the parking lot, no water stop! I thought maybe I was the last guy and they took off to be at the next stop.
I had run mostly under 9 minute miles around the lake, which is a 3 mile loop. I was in need of a drink and a GU. As I ran out of the parking lot I started thinking about where I had seen water fountains around the lake. The Town of Wakefield has done a lot of work around the lake and a lot of people walk, run or bike around the lake for fitness and recreation. It’s awesome.
On the south side of the lake, on Church Street, I found the fountain! I took one of my glucose pills because it was all I had. These things are as dry as chalk, and I drank a lot of water. Did I mention that it was hot and sunny?
At this point I was around 17 miles into an 18.1 mile run. I was about 4 miles from Brueggers. Things were just not adding up. It never dawned on me that I didn’t see anyone else from the club for a good reason.
When I got to our 5th water stop on the corner of Nahant and Main in Wakefield My Garmin said something like 17.8 miles. Our fearless leader Jim was their poring drinks and dispensing advice. I asked him how this could possibly be an 18 mile run when my watch says 17.8 and I know we are at least 3 miles from home.
After telling Jim about my route he laughed, and told me we were not supposed to loop the lake, just run down North Ave. That’s how I added 3 miles to the run! My friend Thuy said I should just jump in Jim’s car and ride back to Brueggers, I was close enough to 18.1 miles. I considered it for a moment.
Then I thought about my training and how it’s been lagging a little bit. If I could get in 21 miles today, I might be able to get to 35 miles for the week. I was already at 18, so why stop now?
I joked with Thuy that just behind a building down the road is where the hill starts. About 100 yards from where we were, but out of sight. She looked at the building and knew exactly what I was talking about. We both laughed.
Even though my thighs were killing me and my calves felt like they were on fire, I took another cup of water and headed home. When I got to the hill it was just crazy. I thought to myself, “why the hell am I doing this?” I could be sitting in a car, 5 minutes from a hot bagel.
Mile 18, where I stopped for water, and had to run up the hill, was 10:18. Miles 19 & 20 were fairly flat and I managed both miles under 10. Not bad for that late in the run. I bargained with myself that I would run to mile 20, and then walk the rest. It would still count as 21 miles.
It was roasting hot, but I could feel sweat on my chin. As long as you are sweating, you are probably not dehydrated.
I walked and jogged the last 1.01 miles at a pace of 16:27. I was totally spent, it was sunny and close to 90°. A few runners past me running out main street. I had my sunglasses on so they couldn’t see my eyes. My hat was soaked with sweat, but I’m not sure if I looked like I was finishing a super long run or some pathetic guy who needs to walk home like a cup cake.
When I finished up I could see that no one was sitting in front of Brueggers. I had my Star Bucks card on me and headed in for an ice coffee. My birthday is next week so I got a free piece of coffee cake and a refill on my drink. Nice.
When I got home I took a good shower, leafed through the paper and felt exhausted. I went out to the garden to harvest my pathetic tomato crop and almost passed out twice. You know when you start to lose your balance and the world begins to look like the snow on an old TV screen? I moved slowly, finished my meager yard work and sat down to write this post.
It’s Sunday afternoon, I ran 21 miles and I have tomorrow off. How sweet is that?
Run well my friends!
© 2014 anagelin