Attempting the 10-mile run

photo-90I am (allegedly) running a half-marathon in a week and a half. My training has been a wee bit underwhelming and haphazard. I aimed to run 1000 miles this year, and I know that won’t be happening. But I don’t even know how badly I’m off, because I’ve stopped logging my miles.

Unlike a full marathon, a half-marathon is a fairly forgiving distance for a regular runner. I figure I need to do at least one 10-mile training run before a half, and that’s doable in under 2 hours. In other words, you can fit it into your normal life, whereas a 20-mile training run is much harder to fit. Not only for the time, but because most people are kind of, you know, tired afterwards. Ten miles is far more doable.

So this should seem manageable. Yet I kept coming up short. First, I got sick in early October with a rather nasty bug that didn’t even let me keep water down. Needless to say, this put a crimp in my running.

Then, once I recovered, I had a stellar week of running 3 miles every day. I biked 15 miles on the Saturday, did a 7.5-mile run with a friend on Sunday and then immediately after ran 1.5 on my own to get me to 9. Then I promptly injured myself (neck and shoulder — not obviously running related). I could barely turn my head. So I couldn’t run for a week.

Then, last week, I got home from the PA Conference for Women at 3:15 on Friday. I got my running gear on, and went to grab my GPS watch, only to find it wasn’t charged. I set out anyway, but miscalculated without a watch, and only did 95 minutes — which comes out to about 8.5-9 miles. The problem is that that was a long enough run that I couldn’t do another long run over the weekend, but 2 weeks out from a half is about as close as you should do for your longest run.

So, what to do? I traveled to Indiana on Monday and Tuesday, and unlike Martha Stewart, I didn’t feel like exercising in the hotel gym (though that would have been fun to run next to her!) I looked at my calendar and realized today was it. It was the only open slot I had, and the weather looked more promising than later this week.

So after working for two hours this morning, I took off at 10:10, watch in tow this time. It was a beautiful day — blue sky, 60 degrees, gorgeous leaves — and it was one of those magical runs where you feel like you can go forever. I pulled into my driveway at noon. A 110-minute run definitely gives me 10 miles. And I didn’t feel tired at all. I’ve gone up and down the stairs multiple times with no ill effects, and indeed, played the stroller roller coaster game in the driveway a few times, where I push a kid up in the stroller, then we race down the driveway yelling “whee!”

So I’m feeling pretty good about the half-marathon now, except that part of me looks at a run like today’s and realizes that I’m not pushing myself nearly as hard as I could. If I put more time into training, I could not only run 10 miles easily, I could run it fast. Maybe I could someday get to my dream of doing a sub-2-hour half. But I also realize that it’s not a priority right now in the way that putting extra time into books and playing Star Wars Lego planes with the kids right now is. I can just be happy that I carved out 1 hour and 50 minutes today for a perfect run. Hopefully that will lead to 2 hours and 20 minutes of perfect running in 10 days.

Photo of runners from the Seattle Rock n Roll marathon — the last half I did in June

4 thoughts on “Attempting the 10-mile run

  1. I trained poorly for the last race I did- a triathlon. I trained on all flats and the course was all hills (except the swim… though that felt uphill too). Basically I just gutted it out and it was terrible. Unlike you, there was no leftover “wheee!” experience to be had afterward… I devoted just barely enough time to do it, but not enough to do it well, you know? But other parts of life took precedence.

    Good luck with your race!

  2. Good luck at the race. I love the 1/2 marathon distance (and 10k’s, too) because it’s long enough to be challenging on both the speed and endurance levels but short enough that you can improve with reasonable training. I’m looking forward to doing my second one of the year on Sunday – should have been my third but I had to miss the one I was registered for 2 weeks ago due to a similar nasty stomach bug.

  3. Glad you got your 10 miles in! I’ve been thinking a lot about running and training, and how it doesn’t take long at all for each run marked on my calendar to become an absolute necessity, something I just cannot let myself shrug off, and trying to figure out how to transfer that same attitude to other areas of my life. Of course, on the other hand, as soon as my race is over, my training falls apart unless I have another goal lined up. Personal project deadlines just don’t have the same significance, since there’s no real accountability, and I want to train myself to see them differently. Otherwise, that novel that’s 85% finished will never see the triumphant words, “The. END.”

    I hope you love your race!

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