Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday Running Special

I figured that Thanksgiving dinner was as good a time as any to carb load for a long run, and so I planned my first fifteen miler for Friday. We were in South Carolina for the holiday, and it would be almost a sure bet that the weather would be perfect for running.  My folks live in a planned community situated on a peninsula with plenty of wide residential roads and a few paved trails.

                                                              View from the peninsula

After feasting on the usual Thanksgiving fare the night before, I hit the hay early that night. It took a while to fall asleep, as I was somewhat excited about my run the next day. I don't normally get 'excited' for runs, but this would be the first time I had run 15 miles in one shot. My last long run was 14.07 miles.

The morning came with the expected Carolina sunshine. After a cup of coffee, a bowl of cereal, and a bread roll, I perused the internet for about an hour. The new sites were already buzzing about shoppers heading out at midnight to score some deals. "Crazy!" I thought, as I grabbed a granola bar, a bottle of water, Gatorade, my mp3 player, Garmin GPS, sunglasses, and sunscreen and headed out the door.

It had the makings of a perfect run. The morning was young, the sun was shining, and it was almost 50 degrees, and expected to warm up to 60 by the projected end of the run. The first 5 miles went by quickly. I had only a little concern that I ran them about as fast as I had a couple of days ago during a tempo type workout. I felt good.

I underestimated the hills. They were constant. As soon as I shuffled up and down one, there was another. Most of the short side roads that I had planned on running the full lengths of started out flat, then quickly took a nosedive downhill. I quickly gave up the idea of running to the end of them, and turned around when the slope started changing too dramatically.

By mile 8, I wanted to be done. My legs were throbbing, and I didn't think I could take on another downhill/uphill combo. I went another mile back to my stash of Gatorade and water. I stopped my Garmin and walked for about 15 minutes (looking for another place to put my stash). It was very difficult to start running again.

I knew the hills were part of it, but I was surprised at how much more difficult this run was compared to my previous 14 miler. Part of it I think was due to me starting out faster than I should have.

The rest of the run was tough. It was important to me to hit the goal I had set for the day, though. Albeit very slowly at times, I finished the 15 miles. Despite the discomfort and exhaustion, I have to admit--it felt pretty darn good. Although I didn't have a flatscreen TV for $299 to show for it, I think it was a few hours well spent.

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