I think that was the best long run I have ever been on. It wasn’t because I ran faster or had perfect form or was breathing perfectly. It was just a completely enjoyable experience.
The first time I ran this distance was on a hot day. It wasn’t a terrible run but I was a little intimidated by the distance and was pretty tired when I got home. The second time I ran it, I ran the same route but I ran it with my sister. She runs faster than me and I think she pushed the pace a little too much for me. I also carried a water bottle the whole time (cramps). And with a mile or two left I completely crashed and ended up walking the rest. Not the greatest way to end.
This time I picked a brand new route. I started at my house but I went down roads that I have never even driven on before (weird since I have lived in the same house since I was born). I left my house and went down a road that is part of my usual loop. At the end of that road, I turned left instead of going right. Following that road, I crossed into the next town, which is also in the next state. I ran in two states today!
As I crossed into NY, I hit the roads I’ve never even driven on. A little further in and the road wasn’t even paved. It was such a quiet area that a rabbit hopped across the road in front of me! All the houses looked like old farm houses and it felt so secluded and peaceful. While I was in that area, only one or two cars drove by. I will definitely be running around here more regularly.
As I kept running I felt my stomach grumble the tiniest bit. If I didn’t do anything about it I knew it would mean trouble. Well, for the first time ever, I brought something along to fuel me up! I didn’t have time to go pick up a legit sports fuel for running so I brought a fun-sized bag of Skittles. After that first grumble, I decided it was time to open the bag. I popped two in my mouth at a time over maybe a mile. At first I was still on the downhill slide towards feeling crappy for the rest of the run.
But then it started kicking in!!!! The last leg of the loop last week is where I really fell apart. The last leg of the loop this week (which happened to be the exact same stretch of road) was where I got the oomph to finish strong. I ran the entire rest of the way home. I even ran a little faster for that last part! When I got home, I didn’t feel like I needed to collapse on the couch that instant and stay there for the rest of the day! With this extra energy I was even able to make sure I stretched properly (for once!).
The other part of this run that made it so enjoyable was that it felt productive. I didn’t put any pressure on myself to finish within a certain time. With that mindset, I could go as fast or slow as I wanted with no worries. Throughout the run I was able to take the time to focus on a couple different things. I would focus on one thing for a little bit, just run a little, focus on something else, and so on. I worked on breathing a little and my arms a little. I noticed myself fall into a slouch as I got tired, so I took the extra focus to correct that.
When I got home, I saw that my pace was slower than usual. But it really didn’t faze me like it did last week. Knowing I had made some steps in other areas felt pretty darn good.
How did your long run go this week? Try anything different on it?