For some reason, I was dreading my run this morning, which is not like me at all. I suspect there were several factors in play: I was up at 2 am cleaning up vomit on the carpet from my sick kiddo (he panics and instead of trying to get to the bathroom, he pukes where he is) and then I wasn't able to fall asleep. Since graduating from Ju-ju's 10k plan mid-November I've been building up my distances using a similar structure to her 10k plan. This week, I was reviewing some notes I made on how to build my distances safely, and came across something I had forgotten - the long run is supposed to be less than 50% of your total weekly mileage. I forgot this part, so my other runs this week only added up to 11.8km and I was hoping to run 14.5 km today. I was holed up inside over the Christmas break due to extreme cold and only got a couple runs in on the treadmill (although I did manage to do 8 and 13k somehow on it). My right knee felt weak once I got to finally run outside so I wasn't sure how it would hold up so I found and started some knee strengthening exercises last night. I got my on-call schedule last week and my next weekend on call is sooner than anticipated (next weekend ☹️), messing up planned increases in run distance (I was planning on running 16k next weekend). We've built a new clinic and are supposed to be moving in the following weekend. I also got an email about a great seminar that is scheduled for the Sunday in a city 3 hours away. How can I fit everything in and still get 3 runs in. I don't think 3 weekly runs are possible on the next 2 weeks. All of these thoughts had me questioning my decision to enter a virtual HM in March and was bringing me some undue stress. I mentioned to my wonderful hubby this morning my concerns about attempting 14.5 k this morning. He said to go give it a try, and who knows, maybe once I got going, everything would feel better since it usually does and if not, just do what felt good.
So, I got my gear on, filled up my water bottle for my running belt with my new electrolyte solution (I got quite whoozy after my 12k run, so on misswobbles advice, I ordered some Tailwind), threw a couple mars bars bites in a baggie in case the solution wasn't enough and drove to my favourite path to use for an out and back long run.
I had made a new playlist on Spotify filled with songs from my youth (good ol' 70's and 80's rock and pop songs). I wasn't sure how the battery from my phone would hold out for a longer run streaming Spotify and Runkeeper at the same time since I usually run with a playlist that is downloaded on my phone but it held out just fine, barely using up any battery despite being out for an hour and 40 minutes. The path looked frosty but didn't seem too slippery so I put my slip on spikes in my pockets just in case it got worse. I tried to start out slow but quickly found myself falling into my comfortable 5k pace. I tried to will myself to slow down but had planned to walk every 2-3 k to take a sip of fuel (I haven't mastered running and drinking) so figured the pace would fall into place as it usually does. I was loving the new tunes - I will survive by Gloria Gaynor came on at 5k, I would've preferred it at 12k but that's ok. Nazareth's Love Hurts followed by Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven kept me going to where I thought my turn around point would be. I had changed my garmin to show pace and distance instead of time and distance and I had misread it a few times so when I reached the bottom of a crazy hill at the end of the pathway I was only at 6.5k. Although I'm looking forward to trying some "back stitch" hill repeats Sandyscroll mentioned earlier this week on this hill in the spring, I didn't want it to be today. I saw a pedestrian bridge leading onto the golf course that had lots of foot prints so I followed it but quickly found myself slogging through crusty snow. Way too hard going when attempting a new long distance. Needless to say, I backtracked and got back to the pathway. Legs still felt ok, Only you from Yaz came on which was a favourite during high school and I probably haven't listened to since then. I started belting out lyrics, and completely forgot that I just finished slogging through snow. Forever young by Alphaville kept me going even further. Before I knew it, I was at 12k. A-ha's Take on me came on - although I usually can run and ignore the beat of the music, I couldn't with this one. I looked at my watch and was running 6:15! Yikes Allie, slow it down! But I can't. I feel so good!!!! Needless to say, I finished the 14.5k, never felt like I was breathing heavily ever (sang out loud often, said hello to all the dog walkers enjoying the pathway today as well), legs felt surprisingly good, and actually felt like I could've ran further (but was smart and stopped!). When following the mantra of Slow and Steady, it really is hard to believe how quickly the lungs and legs can adjust to longer distances. If you're just starting or just finishing Ju ju's 10k plan or have just moved over here from the Couch to 5k forum, yes, it does get easier. And slow and steady really does makes it happen.
Happy Running everyone. And yes, everything that was weighing on my mind pre-run is no longer a big deal. I once again feel good about my HM in March.