15 miles. CHECK.
I was uber nervous about today's run for the following reasons.
A) My 7 mile run on Tuesday was killer for me. My knees haven't really ever given me trouble. Which is quite surprising judging by the family history. (I come from a line of feeble knees.) Anyways...I was in so much pain Tuesday running I thought this might be the end of it. I'd finally been taken captive by the Smith family genes. Don't worry, I don't give up too easily, so i preceded to finish out the rest of the weeks workout too much of a problem. I attribute Tuesday's trauma to over usage and tiredness. I've been kind of a maniac these past few weeks.
B) 15 miles is long. I usually like to do these runs outside so I can pick route hammer it out, and be done. It's still a little too cold for me in the morning to be able to run outside comfortably, so yep, 15 treadmill filled miles were in my future.
C) When my mileage gets up into these high miles it's necessary to replace your body's stores of carbohydrates while you're running to keep your energy up. Eating while running...you never know how the body is going to react. I like predictability.
With these qualms in mind I prepped myself for the 15 miles that were to come. I set up the rest of my workouts for the week so I could have Friday to rest, which I think really helped. My body and my knees felt really good today. I got a good nights rest, and I woke up and had a good breakfast. I always allow myself about 30 mins before I start working out to let me food settle. I went to the gym and was lucky enough to snag my favorite treadmill in the cardio cinema. (That is when you know you're spending too much time @ the gym...when you have a favorite treadmill.) Fortunately the movie had just started. How did I know this? Because unfortunately I recognized the movie instantly. The new Indiana Jones. Now don't get me wrong. I love me some Harrison Ford. But, I found this movie to be a painful, boring attempt to making Harrison look as young and vivacious as he did in the golden Indiana days. Lucky for me that movies is...oh...about 6 hours long, so I got to take in every captive moment. (Followed by the beginning of the next feature film...some heartfelt Disney Production with Ravon Simone. Lucky me eh?)
I saddled up on the treadmill and got mentally prepared. I had already decided how I was going to break it down.
6 miles, restart treadmill, walk for two mins, eat two Clif Bar Shot Bloks, water, resume running. Ipod in, 6 miles, water, walk for two mins, resume running.
3 miles, bust it out, pray, try and destract myself until finish.
It really went pretty much just like that. The first 6 miles went by SO fast. It was amazing. I felt really good. It REALLY helped me to break it down into sections. Running is SO mental for me. I have to set small goals, and those small goes add up to big accomplishments. If I look at the big chunk of mileage I feel overwhelmed. Towards the end of the three miles I started to feel it. My body was getting tired, but I felt good still. I was so happy about that.
One thing that I know helped me to soldier through was my refueling. Most runners turn to the Gu or Shot Gel for instant carbohydrates, but I'm a total texture person. I can't do it. This is something I've had to figure out through trial and error. The two things I like most are Clif Bar Shot Bloks and Jelly Belly Sports Beans.
The Shot Bloks are like giant fruitsnacks and they're really good. The Sports Beans taste just like Jelly Beans. It is definitely weird to get used to eating while running, but these are good alternatives. Many runners will skip the fancy shmancy and use hard candies or starbursts. Basically you need quick, easily digestable carbohydrates. I reccomend refueling for any exercise over one hour. Yes, you may be able to "soldier through" without it. You're tough, I get it. BUT why would you make something more difficult than it has to be? If you have the option to make your run doable, and enjoyable DO IT. It is also really important to remember to consume enough water while you're running distances. Your body needs it.
I'm glad I did it. Glad to be done for the day. Next week's long run calls for 16 miles. Let's hope all goes well. Thanks for all your support!!