154 Days – Long Sunday Solo Run

I had to fight hard to get outdoors this morning. When I checked the weather and it said 17 degrees but it felt like 2 degrees I knew right away it was going to be tough to get out and run. It is like forcing a little dog to go outside and poop when the snow is 16 inches deep – they know it is just not going to be a pleasurable experience.

I could have ran with John and Rick, but to be honest I did not feel like waking up early and Le Claire just did not have a good ring to it last night(sorry guys, hope you had a great run). I have been very tired this week so I decided to sleep in. I am grateful that Amanda is so great at letting me get my run in later in the morning which means she has to try and herd the cattle being outnumbered 3:1.

About 9:20 I made my way outdoors. It was great to run in the sunshine. I don’t usually see the sun as I run when it is dark and while at school I don’t see outdoors much. I was curious how the run was going to go.

– I was very sore from TRX, cycling, and just getting back to a regular week of training
-My knee is feeling better, but I sure have put it through a lot the last few days
-I have not ran long in quite some time

I have started the process of laying out my actual training plans and looking at short term and long term checkpoints. Being about 30 weeks out from my race I was able to figure out that I needed a good 10 mile run. I have hopes of racing well in 30 weeks. I have already decided that I don’t just want to finish, but I want to push my body to see what I am made of. Reading up on several plans and analyzing my fitness and so forth I dialed my long run to be at 10 miles. It does not seem that long ago I was running 19 miles. I know that would not be wise with everything I have been dealing with.

I started out and the first thing I noticed was the wind. I put a few layers on, but not too much because I know how hot I get. I was cold at first. I started off strong with a 8:19 for the first mile. I was not paying attention to my watch or time, just focusing on my stride and making sure the run felt easy for me. I had no intended course so as the miles went on I started to read my watch more and more to make decisions about which roads to take. I did not want to run more than planned.

I kept a pretty good pace running the first 5 miles in 42:26 I believe. My goal was to run a negative split. I had a rough start to the back 5 as I had to tackle the monster hill of Middle Road. This about killed me.You can on mile 6 how much my time dropped mile pace wise. Running up the hill took it out of me and I had to really regather myself after the hill to keep running.

I read somewhere a while back that it is good to mix up the pace while running long. I have tried to run faster when I think I am getting tired. This seems to work for me. I picked up the pace after starting to have the negative thoughts enter my brain. I started to doubt running 10 miles and whether I could. I started focusing on the cold weather. I focused on this lady flying down the sidewalk in front of me. I had to dig deep at one point and decide to just run faster. I did just that and you can my miles splits from that point on really look good. I was able to run sub 8 minutes the final mile and it actually felt easy for me.

My knee hurt off and on during the run. Nothing real painful, but it was there from time to time. I also started to have pain on my right foot where I had issues training for a marathon last fall. I finally was able to find out it was tendinitis. I think these aches and pains were more from the cold weather than anything. I finished the 10 mile run 1:23 so I ran a negative split by knocking off about 90 seconds. I was happy with that results.

In many ways this was my hardest run in a while. I forgot about how hard it can be to run long while going at it solo. You don’t have the company to distract you with conversation. You don’t have a group to help push through the tough times. All you  have is yourself. As much as I did not want to run solo I am glad I did. I need to make sure I add some more solo runs into my training every couple weeks just to work on training my mind. While I race at Racine, I am going to have a long time with just  myself and my thoughts. I need to train my mind as much as my body. I could tell how weak I was mentally today when I was pondering quitting after only 5 miles and one hill in front of me. I have focused so much lately on the physical aspects of training, but my mind is going to be the key to everything – learning to block out pain, learning to dig deeper, learning to turn the brain off and go with my heart, learning to eliminate the negative banter, learning to GETTING IT DONE! when I am all alone on the bike course or run course. This was a very important run today for many reasons. I am glad things worked out the way they did because it will only help me with structuring my training to get me ready for my goal in 154 days.

Weekly totals coming soon as well my plans for training this week in case anyone wants to join. Have a great rest of the day.

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One thought on “154 Days – Long Sunday Solo Run

  1. Aaron,
    No problem. Of course we missed having you join us but I can relate on the sleep thing – plus it was freezing cold earlier in the morning! LeClaire was beautiful so you missed out – but there will be times in the future to get in on this one. I haven’t done too many solo runs and they are tough but I think you are right – they are good for you – mentally to get tougher and to also appreciate it when you do have good buddies to train with.