Sometimes, you need to be flexible when it comes to running. For me, that usually means going really early in the morning, and getting home before anyone else in the house is even awake. Or going at lunch.
Those two things mean I almost never have lunch with a friend and I almost always fall asleep around 9 p.m. But that’s fine. Philip is more of a night owl, so sometimes I think it works well for us. He gets a few hours alone at night, and I get mine at 4:30 a.m.
But this week, to get another long run in before the 50K next month, I had to do it after work. But I also run a book club and that met Thursday night. Somehow, Chris was willing to go long, really long, at 8 p.m.
Philip took over all kid duty — dinner, soccer practice, snack, bath and bedtime. “Bye mom,” Jack said. “We’ll miss you!”
Philip joked, “See you Monday.”
Clearly he thinks we’re insane.
And we probably are.
So with a headlamp for Chris, a Nathan backpack for me and $5 just in case (though really, what does $5 buy you anymore?), we set out. I really wish Erica had been with us — she also enjoys a good bad idea when it comes to running.
We ran to the bike path, and decided to ride it all the way around. It can be kind of boring if you do it all the time, but in the dark it was a little better. Plus we were able to just completely zone out and not worry about cars or curbs or streets. I did jump when a moth flew in the headlamp light.
Which tells you just how out of it we were. Or I was.
I noticed a clear difference pretty early on running this far on pavement. I can’t believe I used to do it all the time. No more. Gravel all the way. I finish a gravel-road long run and feel sleepy but not sore at all. This time, my feet started hurting around mile 10, and for some odd reason I blistered every toe. This hasn’t happened to me in years.
I blame the pavement.
We ran a pretty relaxed pace, stopping every 4-5 miles for water or a gel. The goal was to go farther than we had on Saturday (22 miles).
We wound around the entire bike path, and then retraced part of it to Falls Park again. We walked over the bridge at the falls, trying to determine where to go next. We ended up cutting through downtown and finishing at a gas station — where that $5 went to buying chocolate milk. We ran back toward my house carrying it, and then allowed ourselves about a half mile cooldown walk.
We ended up running 24.5 mile in 3:39, for an average pace of 8:56. (My Strava is off because I never stopped it when we stopped. But then I did end it at 24.)
And walking another half mile — on the verge of cramping, to be honest.
I think overall it went pretty well. I’m loving the Nathan pack — I just wish I could sort of figure out the right way to drink out of it. I feel like I can’t gulp, and I wanted to.
Today my toes are really cranky, and I’m just not sure why that’s happening. Can I blame pavement?
Mentally I felt pretty good the entire time. There’s something kind of otherworldly about running in the dark, and I dig it. Though I am confident we looked (and smelled) horrible at the gas station. Sorry, clerk!
I did feel like I was going to vomit around mile 22. I think it was a combo of all the gels. I need to figure something else out to eat on the course. Even this morning, I haven’t been able to eat any food at all.
When I got home, I laid in bed (after a glorious shower), and felt my calves pulse and twitch. And for the second time now, the bridge of my nose went numb. What does that mean? And for about an hour I laid there, determining if I was going to get sick or not. I didn’t, thank goodness, but I almost did on the drive to work this morning.
I don’t know why I had those issues, which I’ve never had in or after an actual marathon, generally run a fair amount faster.
My mileage the past six days totals 62 miles. I haven’t gone over 60 miles a week since 2009. So that feels amazing.
Next week we plan to run at least 25 miles. But almost all of it will be on gravel.
I’m grateful for having friends as idiotic as me, and a husband who is fine with it.
And I’m really, really grateful for this cup of coffee. Super grateful. Hello, lover.