Today was my first long run since the marathon. I guess I classify "long" as more than 6 miles or so. Today, I planned to run 7-8 miles or so. The part that I didn't anticipate was the struggle of it all. I was ready for a decently paced long(ish) run that wouldn't be too bad. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.
I brought a bunch of stuff with me in preparation for today. I had two Gu gels, a bottle of water (small enough to fit in my hand), and my running belt that I use during races. It was a handful. I wish it was easy to run with a small backpack, because I'd be able to carry everything that I needed. I know that such bags to exist and maybe I should invest in one if I want to spend more time running this year (as is the goal). I plan to take many more long runs, so maybe a small bag would be something to invest in, I don't know. Maybe I could get more running pants that have pockets or something, I'm not sure. I think I'd rather carry a bag than have extra pockets in my pants.
Anyways, now that I'm off of that tangent, back to my run for today. I planned on going on a long run, and got all my stuff together and ran out the door. I ran a lap around my apartment complex once before I went down the trail that I usually do. That initial lap wasn't too bad, but it did end up being tough after a few miles. Today, the trail was much busier than it generally is during the week. I haven't had the opportunity to go for a lengthy run on a Saturday in a long time, thanks to my job. It was really nice to see all of the families walking and biking on the trail.
Every time I make eye contact with a fellow runner, I generally feel a connection with them. I feel like there's an unspoken bond between runners. (or maybe sometimes a spoken bond... but only when there is closeness. ha.) It's nice to see other runners out there with the same drive that is within myself. It's nice to know that, in such an individual sport, I'm not really alone.
I was actually passed several times by this guy who looked about my age, but way more fit than me. Sometimes, I get really jealous and frustrated by people who are more in shape than I am. I understand that I have come a long way in my running, but that doesn't make it any easier to be so slow. I have this drive inside me to always want to better myself, to always want improvement. I definitely have improved since I first started caring about myself, my fitness, but there is still a long way to go. I definitely get really impatient from time to time when I'm out there and I'm not at the pace that I'd like to be at. Frustrating.
Anyways, by the time I got to mile 4, I was doing pretty well on pace, but was really struggling to get through it. (I almost thought about sitting down and waiting for Katherine to get off of work so she could pick me up. But that would have been more than an hour, so I didn't...) Instead, I used one of my Gu gels at around that time to try to push through and then ended up running out of water at mile 5. I was just continuously getting frustrated. However, a little after 5, I started to feel a lot better and more energized. Maybe I should have used my Gu earlier. I actually should buy more of them, I think.. I'm almost out. My last two(ish) miles were definitely the best ones. I should have gone further, because at the end I was doing well. Oh well. Next time.
When I got back to my apartment complex, I still felt pretty good and was at about 6.91 miles, so I figured I'd do an extra lap around my apartment complex in order to push myself a little over 7 miles. I ended up running 7.28 miles at a little over a 15 minute pace. I really wish that my pacing was faster by a lot, but it is what it is. I need to put more effort out there than I have and I really need to work on speed.. a lot.
Any effort is better than no effort. Someday, I'll run a great 7.28 and it won't be too bad at all. That's the goal.
So far: 75.89 miles / 21 days
To go: 921.11 / 345 days