This week’s lesson in marathon training: check, double-check, and triple check your route and mileage before embarking on your longest run ever; failure to do so may result in an even longer longest run ever.
If you follow me on DailyMile then you already saw how my 14 mile training run turn into a 16 mile training run as a result of my inability to properly map a route and do basic arithmetic. There’s a really nice set of trails near the boyfriend’s house that I run on pretty regularly. To date, I’ve only ever run the red trail which is a 9.4 mile loop. However, since this loop connects to other trails, I decided to run these rather than doubling back on my usual loop. I thought it might be fun to see some new sights.
So Saturday night I mapped out my route, and set my plan using the handy-dandy Forest Preserve District map which I’ve included for your reference below along with some fun notes. Anyway, my plan was to start at the bottom at the beginning/ end of the 3.1 mile purple loop. I’d run the purple loop north until I hit the green trail. The green trail is a 1.7 mile trail which connects the purple loop to my usual red trail. I’d run the 9.4 mile red loop and then run back, finish the purple loop and get back in my car so I could stuff my face with homemade bagels (more on that tomorrow).
So if I add it all up…9.4 + 1.7 + 3.1 = 14.2. Perfect, right? Wrong. Does anyone else see my failure there? I certainly didn’t…
Somewhere around mile too late to actually matter I realized that I forgot to consider the 1.7 I would have to run to get back to the purple loop from the red loop. Oops. I probably would have been more upset about this fact except for the fact that about the time I realized my mistake, a coyote ran across the trail 30 feet ahead of me. I was pretty sure I was going to be eaten so I wasn’t going to see that extra 1.7 miles away. Luckily (or maybe unfortunately?) I was not eaten so I did have to run that extra 1.7 miles.
So that’s how my 14 mile run turned into my 16 mile run. Honestly, I’m kind of glad it did. I’ve been feeling pretty confident about my training and tackling these longer mileage runs, but I would be flat-out lying if I said I wasn’t scared shitless by the idea of running 16, 18, and 20 miles…I mean, 14 miles is less than a mile more than the half marathon distance which I love so that wasn’t a big deal to me. 16 miles or 18 or 20 is a different story. I could see myself freaking out the night before one of these runs. My surprise 16 miler didn’t give me a chance to freak out. And you know what, 16 miles really wasn’t that terrible. Don’t get me wrong; it was no walk in the park, and I don’t think I’ll be heading out for 16 mile runs on the regular once this marathon is over and done with. But it wasn’t nearly as terrible as I probably would have built it up to be.
Overall, I had a good run. I felt pretty good until around mile 10 when I started to get tired. (This also about the point that I started having to run into the wind which certainly didn’t help.) Around mile 13 I was starting to hurt. It wasn’t a “oh my god, I need to stop running now” kind of hurt but more of a “okay, this isn’t fun anymore am I done yet” kind of hurt. Afterward I felt like I had run 16 miles, but I wasn’t dying. My knees, ankles, and the sole/ arch of my left foot were particularly sore last night, but otherwise I felt pretty okay. I made sure to ice my knees before bed last night which helped a great deal. My quads are quite sore today, but I’m fairly sure that’s because I completely forgot to stretch them yesterday.
Also, rather than limiting (or forcing) myself to posting on Mondays, I’m going to be posting Marathon Musings whenever I damn well please.