One of the downsides to 5K racing during marathon training is trying to fit in long runs. Timing them right can be a bit tricky. Fortunately, 5K’s don’t leave me as sore and tired as they used to in college (or maybe I’m not running them hard enough?) and my recovery time is faster for 5K’s than in other distances I race. I’ve been working in my long runs the day after my 5K’s.
This past weekend was my last “long” run. According to my schedule I needed 17 miles. With Race for the Cure on Saturday, I decided to get it done Sunday. The weather was supposed to be in the mid 70’s Sunday afternoon and my husband needed to go to the office to work on his PhD so that left me with Sunday morning. Before church. With church starting at 8:15 I needed to be home by 7:30. Could I run 17 miles before 7:30? For some weird reason the challenge was a little enticing.
Saturday night I checked the weather and layed out my gear. At the last minute I decided to bring a little flashlight. Sunrise was not supposed to be until 7:15 so this run would be mostly in the dark. I considered running some of it on the treadmill but I really wanted to work in real roads and hills to help me focus for NYC. I knew the basic route I would run but I knew the first four miles would be the hardest.
My alarm went off at 4:50 and I knew I had to get ready quickly. I calculated an 8 minute pace and one drink/ fuel stop at Harp’s (local grocery store) would take 2 hours and 15-20 minutes. I was on a tight schedule! I had one piece of toast with peanut butter and drank some water. I put my phone in my spi belt along with two gu’s and carried my water bottle. When I got outside in my driveway to leave it was 5:12. Time to go! It was DARK. The hardest part of the run would be the first four miles because it was on the non-lit bike trail and I was carrying my flashlight in one hand and my water bottle in the other. (I planned to hide my water at the end of the trail.) I also knew I would not be listening to any music since it was dark and I wanted to be extremely aware of all my surroundings.
Mile 1- 8:07. Very thankful I had my flashlight. It was pitch black out. Should I really be out here on this dark trail by myself? The correct answer would be NO.
Mile 2- 7:33. Faster than my usual second mile but I was pretty scared. I wanted to get off the trail and into a neighborhood with street lights as quickly as possible.
Mile 3- 7:50. I can do this. I can do this.
Mile 4- 7:45. I made it! Quick 30 second water stop before I hid my water bottle behind a tree stump.
Mile 5- 7:46. Feeling much safer in a neighborhood.
Mile 6- 8:02. Big hill climb #1
Mile 7- 8:10. Big hill climb #2
Mile 8- 7:46. Am I really not even halfway done?
Mile 9- 8:08. Ok, more than halfway done now!
Mile 10- 8:03. I’m so tired. Why did I think running this far this early was a good idea?
Mile 11- 7:53. Quick pit stop at Harp’s for gu and water.
Mile 12- 7:47. Saw someone out jogging. First time seeing someone else out on the road all morning!
Mile 13- 7:48. Grabbed my water bottle behind the tree stump on my way back now.
Mile 14- 7:47. The sun is coming out! I texted John to tell him I’d be there in less than 24 minutes!
Mile 15- 7:24. The trail feels so much safer this time around.
Mile 16- 7:34. Almost done!
Mile 17- 7:32. Home by 7:35.
Total run time- 2:13:03. (7:49 avg.)
I made it home in time for a quick shower and we did make it to church on time. I did not stretch, roll, ice or have my post run protein smoothie. Does a coffee and donut in Bible class count towards recovery? I had planned to nap when Ashton napped Sunday afternoon but ended up sorting through Anthony’s closet and clothes doing his seasonal clothes change-out.
By Sunday night I was exhausted. It is now Tuesday night and I feel like I am still trying to recover from this run. Was running in the dark like that the best move? Probably not. I did not feel very safe out on the trail and I am not sure I will be doing something like this anytime soon.
I’m very thankful it’s taper week. I ran an easy 8 yesterday and today was a complete rest day. I have a few more easy runs this week and then Saturday is my last 5K! So far I am not experiencing any taper tantrums. Honestly, I am tired. I’m ready to tone down the mileage. Bring on the taper! I’m ready to go out for a run that is less than 8 miles and be ok with it.
Do you regularly run in the dark? Have you been scared on a run recently? Do you welcome taper week or does it drive you a little crazy?