I had been looking forward to today's long run- 17 miles- all week for a few reasons. I was excited to run with my friend, Felice, again because we seem to run a good pace together and the miles fly by. I was also looking forward to running longer since my race last week was so spot on pace-wise, I wanted to see how I would hold up over 17 miles. And even though they were predicting slightly colder weather and some snow showers this weekend I thought it would still be better than our last long run weather-wise.
Backtrack to Thursday- after good runs all week, my Thursday run sucked. My legs felt tired and I never got into a groove. Even though my pace was right where I wanted it to be I just felt blah. I decided Friday needed to be a rest day since I had the long run planned for today.
Friday, the weather forecasters start talking about 50-60 mph wind gusts for late Friday night into Saturday! WTF?!!! It's like the weather gods wanted to test our toughness. All night I laid in bed listening to the wind gusts hoping they would die down by morning...
This morning, I met Felice at the bike path we ran on last time. It was chilly but not quite as bad as I thought it would be. As we started out, I realized I had too many layers on. The wind gusts were strong but again not as bad as I expected. On our way out we passed three running friends that were finishing up their run. My legs felt pretty heavy and it took a while to get into a groove but before I knew it we had our first 6 mile leg done and were back at the cars. We made a quick stop and shed some layers and took back off. The next leg we did was 8 miles, my legs were still heavy but we seemed to get into a groove and were running a steady pace. After that leg, we did another quick stop at the cars for more water. I think that stop, while it was quick, may have been my downfall. About a mile into our last leg, my hamstrings which were tight throughout the run seized up. I told Felice to go on ahead because I needed to walk, plus Felice needed to go a little further since she was doing 18. My last 2 miles were basically run a little, walk a little.
All in all I finished the run at a 9:58 pace, which is right about where my training plan says I should be for my long runs. I would have liked to have been faster, and of course I wish my legs felt better. I was frustrated, but I knew it was better this was happening now, than during the marathon. Plus I have plenty of long runs ahead of me before marathon day. Two lousy miles of an otherwise decent long run are not going to keep my from hitting my goal on marathon day.
After the run, I had a massage scheduled, thanks to my awesome mother in law who gave me some gift certificates for Christmas and was also watching Mia for me today. The massage was exactly what my tight legs needed. While my legs are still sore, they feel a lot looser. What a nice way to recover from a long run!
I guess this run taught me a few things. I need to spend even more time stretching my hamstrings and foam rolling. I also need to try to get to more yoga classes. I notice that the weeks I take yoga my legs are much looser on my long runs. I've also been slacking a little on my distance in my midweek runs. I need to up my miles slightly during the week which means more early morning runs. Oh and that Felice and I are totally badass running in such crappy conditions:)
Well, another long run in the training plan is in the books so that means its time to enjoy the weekend!