Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Swimmin' Seven

So! The first long run of my marathon training: seven sweet miles in my hometown on the west coast of Michigan

Glen Lake seen from the Dunes Trail.
Rosy Mound Trail
This lovely view posted above was the half way point on my run. Needless to say, I decided the extra half mile was worth it and ran down to the water for a little halfway swim. I think the secret to pain-free long runs may be immersing your legs in the chilly but clear waters of Lake Michigan for a little while in the middle of your run. The 2 miles surrounding this gorgeous halfway point were really hilly, but fun and the rest of the run was super flat.

Since I’m running more for time on my feet than speed work, 7.6 miles took me about an hour and forty minutes (including the swim!) I didn’t wear a watch because I wanted to enjoy the run and not play mind games with myself. I took about five walking breaks of about two minutes each to drink water plus the swimming break, which probably took up about 10 minutes if not 15. It takes a long time to get sand off of your feet, especially if you don’t want blisters on the 4 miles home.
I re-filled my bottle twice on this run and fueled on dried cherries while I was floating in the water. Lots of people say that you don’t need to fuel on runs shorter than 10 miles. They are probably right. I didn’t feel like I needed the cherries, but they definitely gave me a boost of energy that was welcome as I plowed back up the sand dunes. I’m going to try a goo packet or sports drink mix on my next long run (9 miles, WOOT!) and see how that goes.
I'm running with one of these guys now.... So far, so great! I really like having a place besides my shorts to stow my keys, snacks and bandaids
So, it was a fantastic run and I definitely finished strong with a huge grin on my face. I’m looking forward to my next mileage jump this weekend. It was great to start out so well, because it really made me feel like 26.2 is attainable by October and might even be fun!
Sadly, my buzz was killed this morning on a really crappy and painful 3 mile run. I ran my usual Rock Creek Park 5K loop and was just in awful pain the whole time. I can usually kill that course in 27 or 28 minutes, but today I did a sluggish 36:34. Then I limped upstairs and cried in the kitchen while I made my smoothie and grabbed an ice pack. Slow morning runs are the worst, because they make me late all day long.
This is what I see at the half way point of my 5K loop. I do not run through the tunnel, but I always want to...
photo by tomfs on Flickr
 I did a 4 mile tempo run yesterday on the treadmill, and I must have broken down some new muscles. The pain this morning was concentrated in my calves, shins and hips, so I’ve decided to add a weekly treadmill tempo run to try to stabilize whatever is causing the problem. I will report back, but tomorrow may well be an un-planned yoga/rest day while I push my long run back to Sunday. I definitely could not do another three miles like this morning any time soon.
Another potential culprit is the fact that I did my run at noon yesterday (since my flight got in well after midnight and I wanted SLEEP in the AM) and then ran again at 6:00 am this morning. It's just possible that I didn't have enough recovery time, but I'm doubtful that fatigue is the full explaination.
It’s been a rough week for training in general since I’ve been traveling and have lots of evening events with friends and am hosting my friend Jess all weekend. I think we are definitely getting into the pre-wedding/move busy stretch where finding time for yoga and a run every day won’t be happening. I’m going to try to fit yoga in over lunch starting next week. I hate showering twice a day, but I think it’s going to be necessary.


  1. I'm a big fan of shotbloks, and any clif products really. They taste less chemically (which is not a word) than other similar products. Honey stingers are good too.

    Experimenting on with fuel/hydration on "shorter" runs is good for figuring out what works before you get into double-digits.

    Where do you go to yoga? I need to find a place to drop in occasionally. I always feel like it stretches me out and loosens me up and I've been a bit stiff lately.

  2. Excellent! shotbloks it is for this week! Thanks for the emphasis on "shorter"... I can't believe 7 miles will soon seem "short" to me!

    I go to yoga at Yoga District. They have studios all over the city, but the ones that are closest to us/work are 14th and T, Dupont (Connecticut and R), and I and 19th. The full schedule is at, let me know if you want to go sometime!It's $10/class but they also offer a new student 3 class pass for $10 if it's your first time there.