Itâs been almost two months since my last post. One of my last posts was something along the lines of wanting to write more. Well . . .
Actually, Iâve been working a lot the past few months and in my spare time Iâm doing a lot of running. I finally got through the London Marathon ballot this year, so Iâm trying to take that pretty seriously.
Last week, I did two 9-mile runs during the week before work (and three mile runs on the other days). On Sunday, I ran 21.8 miles. The marathon is two months away, but I wanted to see if I could run that far. My distances have been gradually increasing each week, so Iâm confident I should be okay on marathon dayâat least, if i keep from injuring myself.
My long run on Sunday was the farthest Iâve ever run without stopping to walk. I ran a marathon when I was 22, but after 18 miles I started to walk and did a half-run, half-walk, for the rest of the race. They say the important thing is being able to finish, but Iâve always been disappointed in myself for walking. This time, for my second marathon 18 years later, I will do a lot better.
Iâm enjoying the really long runs. A short run (and I consider the 9-mile run to be short these days) are usually over tried-and-true paths which Iâm very familiar with. But the long run has become like a trip. A few weeks ago, I ran to the next big town over. This week, I followed a bike path that went through several villages in the area that I would probably never drive through. It was nice. It took me 3 hours and 8 minutes.
I started experimenting with different things while running. I tried those sport gels for energy, and they worked pretty well âbut they cost a pound a pop. The first week I tried to eat some of the gel I thought I was going to be sick, but the next week I knew what to expect and, after an hour and a half of running, thought it was tastiest thing Iâd ever eaten. This last week, I shoved a hot-cross bun in the pocket of my running jacket and ate that after an hour. I never would have thought I could eat and run and the same time, but if someone couldâit would be me.
While on the long run the other day, I passed an older guy running. I thought my pace was slow, but I passed this guy really quickly. It was in the middle of no-where (no towns nearby), so I assumed he was going a good distance. I said good morning to him as I passed, but then became very worried about my pace. I thought I must be going too fast and I would be stuck miles from home limping back. But it was fineâI completed the whole distance.
I listen to a lot of podcasts and audio books when I run. The biggest problem with marathon training is keeping your mind occupied. When you get into a rhythm and stop thinking about the running, it gets almost like a long car trip. If you can stop from thinking about your legs or how tired you are, youâre fine. But when you do focus on the pain, itâs difficult to continue. Music is nice for the shorter runs, but the long distances need something a bit more engaging.
One thing I noticed about these long Sunday runs (I only passed 10 miles about 6 weeks ago), is that once I stop, my legs seize up. Iâm fine while running, but as soon as I finish, within 5 minutes my calves will tighten to where itâs difficult to stand. Usually, a hot bath seems to loosen them up just fine though.
The half-marathon is a month away. The London Marathon is two months away. If I can keep from injuring myself, I should be okay.