Thursday, October 4, 2012

Long Run High

I was nervous for this 20 miler. After my last, awful 20 miler, I didn't really know what to expect yesterday. I woke up to a gorgeous Seattle morning. It was nice and cool, clear skies and I was hopeful and excited to get 20 miles out of my system. I'm not sure how we got so lucky weather-wise the last month or two, but this Seattle-ite is LOVING it!

As I was standing outside waiting for my Garmin to wake up and smell the satellites, I looked down at my legs and just had to lough out loud. The bruising has only gotten worse the past few days. My knees and upper thighs look like Tanya Harding took a baseball bat to them Nancy Kerrigan-style.

I even mentioned to my classes on Tuesday night not to judge my epic bruises. I am trying to wear them with pride! =D These pictures don't even do them justice, but you're welcome for ugly pictures of my legs!

I thought about driving somewhere to run for a change of scenery, but ultimately decided to just head out from my apartment down the Burke Gilman Trail. I had my Camelbak filled with water, lots of fuel, my cell phone and the excitement of a prized bull!

Unfortunately, as soon as I took off running, my left knee started experiencing a sharp pain. I'd felt a tweak in that knee when I was teaching the night before, but didn't think much of it. Every once in awhile my knees will get sore, and I'll ice them and a few days later they feel great again. And usually, when they hurt while I'm running, it takes about half a mile until they loosen up and the pain goes away.

It wasn't exactly happening like that this particular morning. About .5 miles in, I had to stop because the pain was so sharp. I couldn't figure out what was going on, but it only hurt when I was going downhill. I told myself to get to the bottom of the hill I was on, wait until the road flattened out, and then make the decision of whether or not to reschedule my run.

Luckily, when the road evened-out, my knee felt fine and continued to feel fine the rest of the run. Yiipppeee!!

I haven't really been a big fan of the Burke Gilman Trail here in Seattle. So many people rave about it and love running on it, but I just feel like there are too many people and its just...blach. (wow, way to use my words) Anyways, I discovered that once you get past the University District, the trail is much less populated and has some beautiful woods surrounding it! Almost like trail running, but on a road. Moral of the story: run farther, Allison.

I didn't notice it, but the entire way out I was running slightly uphill. After finding a bathroom 10 miles in (emergency! emergency!), I turned around and headed back the way I came. After holding 8:30-8:50 minute miles thus far, I was excited to be feeling awesome all of a sudden and started hitting some 8 minute miles!

I felt like I was flying! I couldn't believe I felt so great in the middle of a long run and that I was able to turn my legs over and push my pace a little. Usually some of my shorter runs give me the crazy runners high and I feel like running is all puppy dogs and butterflies. Long runs are typically much more challenging, but not this one! Miles 10-16 felt like a breeze! I can only hope I feel this good during the marathon.

By the time I hit mile 18, I was still running with relative ease, but was ready to finish up. As I was running, a girl with her dog cut on to the trail about 10 yards in front of me. I gained on her and just as I was passing, I noticed it was my co-worked Andrea! I was so excited to see her and her dog, Cooper. She provided a much needed distraction and just the boost I needed to finish up two more miles.

I finished a very happy girl! 20 miles of relative ease!

If I can keep this pace during the marathon, I will definitely hit my goal of breaking 4 hours, which will be about 30 minutes faster than last year.

I stopped by the grocery store on my way home to pick up ice and Kombucha, which is becoming my favorite post long run treat. It is so refreshing and I feel like it has some substance in it since I don't always feel like eating right after a long run. The drawback is they are super expensive, so I try to only buy one as a treat.

As usual, I took an ice bath. I can truly say I have them down to a science now. Unfortunately, I didn't have Kali here to keep me company this time, so I was left to dwell on the coooollllddd water all alone. So obviously, I made faces.

One more 22 miler next week before taper time! I've been loving this marathon training cycle, which is probably why I've gotten a little trigger happy and added 2 more marathons to my schedule in the next 7 months. Hopefully NYC Marathon goes as well as I'm hoping!

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