One Last Long Run

That nine-day sabbatical from running that ended earlier this week left me a little worried. To run 26.2—especially after swimming 2.4 and biking 112—your body needs to be primed to go for a long time. Yes, some rest was necessary and the rest was good, but I began to fear tipping into too much rest, of getting out of my long-run comfort zone. So today I set out to do a 12-miler, aiming to give the legs (and the mind) a quick little refresher course on picking them up and putting them down for a long time. To protect myself from incurring lasting fatigue, the intention was to run slowly, as close to 9:30/mile pace as possible. That's two minutes off my standalone marathon pace, but Ironman is a whole 'nother animal; if I can manage 9:30 at CDA I will be mighty pleased.

I headed west and went through Laurelhurst Park and the Buckman neighborhood, did three loops around the Willamette, crossing at the Steel and Hawthorne bridges, then headed back pretty much the way I had gone out. I struggled not to speed up, but at least I didn't do anything crazy like going sub-8 anywhere along the way. The splits:

Mile 1: 9:07
Mile 2: 9:15
Mile 3: 9:12
Mile 4: 9:10
Mile 5: 9:39
Mile 6: 9:24
Mile 7: 9:18
Mile 8: 9:12
Mile 9: 9:26
Mile 10: 9:21
Mile 11: 9:31
Mile 12: 9:01
Mile 13: 9:05
Mile 14: 9:17
Mile 15: 8:36
Mile 16: 8:24

OK, that's 16 miles. What can I say? Running so easily, as I neared 12 miles I felt like I hadn't given myself quite the workout I wanted. Sixteen—well, 16.14 actually—was just right, I think. My average heart rate was 122 (66 percent of max) and even over the last four miles, two hours into the run, when I began picking up the pace slightly, the average HR never went above 140 for any mile split. I thought my Achilles was doing something funky late in the run as I felt a sharp pain. But that was mostly due to a blister—I forgot that the Gel-Cumulus can rub me the wrong way back there. (Why do they make that part of the shoe above the heel so high and tight? I may get out a knife and do some work on it. The shoe I mean.)

All in all, great run. Even if it wasn't exactly what my body needed (don't get me wrong, I think it was), it was surely what my confidence needed.

Apart from the blister there was a little aching in the ankle and Achilles, but nothing distressing. It's sort of a fact of life with my run right now. Ice afterward keeps things under control and, anyway, now I won't be going long until June 21. There's the 10K at the Blue Lake oly on Sunday, and I'll run pretty hard there but won't race it all-out. Then probably 6-8 miles on Tuesday, some light jogging on Thursday and Friday and that's it.

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