Today I head out to the Swamp Rabbit Trail to tackle my first truly long run. (Since my first marathon training cycle anything less than a half marathon no longer seems long.)
I’d planned this run even before I decided to switch to the New River Marathon. It took on a whole other feel after it became a marathon training run.
Another factor that made this run feel very similar to marathon long runs, the camelbak.
(Yes, this is a bit out of order. Also, please excuse the rat’s nest aka my hair. Can you believe it looked even worse 4 miles earlier? Trust me. It did.)
I wasn’t sure last night whether I would wear the camelbak. I haven’t worn it on my recent half marathons and this run was only .9 miles longer. Ultimately, the 70-90% humidity sealed the deal.
When I started running this morning all the old, familiar doubts filled my head. I had settled into my stride quickly and easily but it felt so slow. I doubted my decision to run the New River Marathon. I also felt strongly tempted to look at my Garmin and confirm my lack of speed. I didn’t.
I knew that if I saw my slower speed the doubts would become even stronger. Instead I started thinking about whether I liked speed or distance better. I’ll save you the debate that occupied my mind for a mile or two but this did the trick. I distracted myself and managed to block out the negative thoughts.
The next challenge came in the form of the hills in Falls Park. After running through Falls Park a couple times on long runs I tried to avoid it if possible. I didn’t do myself any favors. The hills on the Spinx course did a number on my legs. I don’t want to make the same mistake again.
When I got down I saw some of the St. Patty’s Day 5k runners but this time I didn’t feel any race envy. I’d considered running this race but as soon as I decided to run the marathon all long runs became crucial.
Those “hills”? Sure they were there but I felt a lot stronger powering up them this time than last fall.
The rest of the run was a breeze, including my brief detour into the Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery. (I think this place is awesome…I just wish they opened a little earlier.)
I finished, sweaty and happy. I knew my pace was much slower than last week’s half marathon but with all thing’s considered that didn’t matter. I had already decided against comparing marathon long runs to my winter long runs. Instead, I decided to compare the long runs of this cycle to the ones from last fall.
Take a look at this:
I would consider that a rousing success. 😀
Up next? Greenwood Half Marathon (yay!)