Today I overdid it.
This was one of my “days off work just to run” days. The original aim was to run in new places, but today and the last of these runs have been local and on the same path (the D & R Canal towpath) – last time this was because I wanted to run long and this seemed like a good place to do it. Today, it was because of the weather prediction. If the snow really came down, I didn’t want to be driving back, exhausted, along treacherous roads.
My aim today was to do at least 24 miles, although I secretly hoped I could actually push myself to do a little more and get an unofficial marathon done. When I woke up it still hadn’t started snowing, and my plan was to try to get the run done early to avoid as much of the snow as possible. I ate a POWERBAR Harvest Bar Double Chocolate Crisp bar, got dressed and headed out.
I knew I would probably need my wind/rain jacket but initially I was concerned at first because it was warmer than I expected. I decided not to stop and take it off (for the first time I was using a Geigerrig hydration backpack I’d picked up on a deal site, so it would have meant stopping to take that off).
I felt good and because of this I think I went out way too fast. I passed 10 miles still feeling great and mentally better than my last run on the same stretch so I had a plan to keep running to 13.1 miles before turning round, hoping to get that magic distance done. It’s a good path to run, but there are still a few spots where you have to stop to cross fairly busy roads (especially because it was rush hour when I hit these on the way out). As it turns out there is work being done on a section of the path near Colonial Park, and it was blocked off by a 6′ high fence, and there were people working just the other side, so I had not option but to turn around at just a little bit more than 12.5 (turns out this was probably a good thing).
I reached the “half” mark at a little over 1 hour 48 mins, and was still feeling good, but by about 15 miles I started to struggle. I wasn’t quite expecting that by the way I had felt before but I had no choice but to push on. After a while I decided I needed to stop for a short while, my calf muscles were really tight so I did some stretching and massaged them as best I could. It seems to do some good as I was able to do an 8:25 mile soon after that, but the mile times slowed again after that. By this point the snow was coming down pretty hard and my shades were getting covered (I knew that taking them off would mean snow in my eyes though which wouldn’t have been fun).
By the time I got to 22 miles I was really struggling, but I pushed myself to try to keep running, desperate to get the 24 miles I’d promised myself. I did it, but I was still just over a mile from home. I turned off the timer and walked. I was cursing (out loud – good thing there was no one around to hear) the whole way home, stopping to try to loosed up my muscles, and even occasionally breaking into a very slow jog. I was freezing by the time I got home as the snow was coming down pretty hard (it definitely felt a lot colder than when I started) and it took a while after getting home for me to stop shivering (even after a shower).
Still, it was a good run, and I’m proud I did 24 miles in about 3.5 hours (full details here).
As a side note, because of the predicted snow I ran in my Vivobarefoot Neo Trail shoes and they did the job reasonably well but weren’t the most comfortable for the run (I felt like my left ankle was pulling a little on the inside, and they were rubbing the bottom of my feet making me concerned about blisters, although I didn’t actually get any).
I’ve been trying different shoes for long distances, but for some reason have been neglecting my old favorite, the Merrell Trail Glove. Mine are really worn (it’s been about a year since I got them and I used them for every long run last year). I finally decided that I would get a new pair – there’s a new version, and I’ve heard they are even better, so I can’t wait to try them out.