Hilly 11-Miler in the Bag

Here’s a bit of an overdue update that I wrote on Sunday but never got around to posting until now:

After having a great 5-mile run on Tuesday and a not-so-great 1.5 miles to PT then 3.5 miles home from PT on Friday morning, I was dreading my long run on Sunday. I decided to set myself up for as much success as possible.

On Friday night, I met my old Dana-Farber homegirl Cathleen out for dinner & drinks. Over the course of 4+ hours, I had 2 cocktails and 1 beer, plus an insanely good sea scallop carbonara. I put myself to bed as soon as I got home, and “slept in” until 8am. I actually first woke up at 6am, but knew I had nowhere to be until 11am so I rolled over and ended up falling back to sleep for another 2 hours. It was glorious. Ever since I rearranged my bedroom last weekend, I’ve slept SO much better. Even though the head of my bed is now up against my double windows that look out onto the parking lot and rear balconies of the trashy apartment building next-door, whose residents are always smoking and loud, I guess the combination of a new sleeping arrangement and working my tail off means I’m passing out as soon as my head hits the pillow and – more importantly – staying asleep.

I went to my free barre3 class at the New Balance HQ – my third free class there in 8 days. The previous 2 were small and intimate – limited to maybe 20/25 people. I think there were 100 people at this one. It was insane! I really enjoyed this class and felt it right away, and was so wobbly walking around the grocery store afterward that I was nervous about my long run the next morning.

I spent the rest of the day relaxing and drinking lots of water. I made myself a pasta dinner and had one glass of wine, but otherwise stuck to water. I did all my PT homework plus some additional stretching and strengthening exercises.

When I woke up on Sunday, I remembered that the clocks had changed so it was only 6am but felt like 7am, so I was raring to go. I knew I had a long day ahead of me, so I stayed in bed for almost another hour but didn’t really sleep much more. After walking Chip, I made breakfast (you know it – pb&j on an English muffin!) and coffee, I sat on a heating pad to loosen up my hamstrings, which have been very unhappy lately. Then I wrapped each shin in the heating pad for about 10 minutes each, then switched to my calves. Everything still hurt but as least they were warmed up. I was unsure of how to dress – it was 50 but overcast and windy – but capris and a t-shirt were the right call. I also taped my arch all the way up my posterior tibial tendon instead of only taping up to my ankle bone.

Stampyc_1509900982298As soon as I got going, the pain was there. But as I got further into my run, it seemed like the arch pain got less noticeable. It never really went away, and every now and then it would hurt so bad for a split second that it took my breath away. And my left hamstring pain is back as bad as it’s ever been, likely caused by overcompensation – right foot hurts, favor it, use more of left side, so now left hamstring hurts. But otherwise I felt really freaking good. I had planned to run down the Newton Hills, essentially miles 22-17 of the Boston Marathon in reverse, but turn around after 4.5 miles because my training plan called for 9 miles. I felt so good after 4.5 miles that I wanted to keep going to the iconic Newton Firehouse that I passed so many times during marathon training. I also passed the Johnny Kelley statue twice, both landmarks I hadn’t actually seen on a run since April 17 – the marathon! I saw lots of other runners on my way out, but not many on my way back. One lady stopped to ask me how far I was going around Mile 4, and she did the whole “good for you” thing, but this time it was because she was just one runner impressed by another runner’s planned mileage. She told me she was running the Philadelphia Marathon in 2 weeks but had only done 3 long runs, including 20 miles on Saturday. She was going for a BQ but wasn’t sure it’d be in the cards for her with such little training. Imagine what it must be like to barely train for a marathon and still hope you might be able to BQ (running about a 9-minute pace if you’re in your 50s like I’m guessing she was)!

I knew the second half of my run would be the hardest. As soon as I started my run that morning, I switched my watch settings around so that all I saw was my heart rate. I also set up an alarm so that when my heart rate reached its maximum zone, it beeped at me. Every time it did this, I backed off a little. It only happened on inclines and straightaways, and mostly the former. I never walked, but would be running so slowly uphill to get my heart rate back under control that a power walker probably would’ve passed me. So I expected a lot of beeping during the second half of my run, when I was running uphill most of the time. I was pleasantly surprised at A. how good I felt and B. how easy the hills felt compared to, oh I don’t know, any other time I’ve ever run them in my life. I think cross training is finally paying off!

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