Have I mentioned lately that I’m training for the Marine Corps Marathon?
I’m happy to report that, so far, it’s been going pretty well! I ran eight miles two weeks ago, 10 miles just before I left for Monterey, and something like 11 yesterday morning. The eight-miler left me feeling like I could conquer the world, with all the excitement and thrill of accomplishment a long run should carry. The 10-plus-milers were unbelievably hard in the summer heat, but hard in the right way: Other than a tiny bit of lingering soreness, my IT band has held up just fine!
I’d been so worried about my ITB, I’d forgotten that long runs are, like, hard, as illustrated by yesterday’s 11-ish-miler. This week’s kind of a crazy one, as I’m leaving on Thursday to see my parents in Florida, and I have no intention of tackling a long run down there. I’d planned to wake up early to run 12 miles before — early enough to squeeze in some work I knew I needed to do first thing in the morning. Too bad my body’s still on California time … I slept til 8, forcing me to work first, meaning I didn’t leave for my run until 9:30 a.m. It was 89 degrees in Washington yesterday morning, and felt like 94, according to Weather.com.
I sucked it up and did it anyway, running on the trails for a little more than an hour and 40 minutes. I’d like to think I went faster than 10-minute miles, but at worst, I figure I did 10 miles.
I felt tired right off the bat, and by the end of the run, I was shuffling up the considerable hills on my route. By the last mile, a long, sunny uphill on the roads to get back to my apartment from the trails, I’m not even sure you could call what I was doing “running.” But I finished, which I know to be the whole point of long runs.
I’m getting to the point that my long runs are starting to develop the sense of adventure and whimsy I remember from my last bout of marathon training in 2007. Yesterday, that meant a loud exclamation of, “Yeah!” when I came upon the water bottle I’d stashed mid-route, and laughing out loud when I came upon downhill sections of the trails. I also cackled pretty loudly when I took off my shirt to wring it out (did I mention it was 89 degrees?). There’s simply no matching the joy of closing in on the end of a long run, no matter how the run has gone.
Here’s what motivated me: Remembering how hard I’ve worked in the gym on my amped-up core routine. Also, listening to Jack Johnson to keep me in the slow-and-steady mindset. Really, he was a better fit for the trails, anyway — Eminem’s great, but Rock Creek Park ain’t no 8 Mile. “Upside Down” really did the trick on my last, sluggish uphills.
I honestly still feel a little tired today, like I’m coming down with something, or like I have a spot of heat exhaustion. Is it messed up that this makes me feel a little bit hard-core, even though I mostly feel exhausted?
Next up: a recovery ride on the stationary bike today.