I wish I could say I had one of those confidence-boosting long runs today that makes me remember why I keep doing this whole running thing. Sadly, if I said that it would be a lie. I had 11 miles on the schedule and I spent all 11 miles on the struggle bus.
It started with the water situation. Since it has gotten cooler, I haven't been drinking as much water on my runs. I decided to experiment and just take my 20 ounce handheld instead of filling up my 50 ounce hydration pack. I filled up my water bottle and left it laying on the counter while I put on my shoes and found my gloves. Apparently I didn't have the top screwed on very well because when I came back the fabric pouch where you slide your hand in to hold the bottle was wet. If it had been warm out that wouldn't have been a big deal, but the weather app on my phone said it was 28 degrees fahrenheit. I was planning to wear gloves on my run, but they weren't waterproof and the pouch was so wet that I knew it would soak through my gloves and make my hands freezing cold for my entire run. I still didn't want to run with my hydration pack so I grabbed my 10 ounce handheld bottle and decided to use it instead.
I was fine for the first 4 miles or so, but then I started to notice that the cold air was working like a refrigerator and making the water in my bottle get colder as I ran. It was miserable. I had the bottle in my left hand and it felt like I was carrying an ice pack. I wound up just drinking the rest of the water so that my hand could warm up, but then I started to get thirsty a couple of miles later. I definitely regretted not wearing the hydration pack.
The next problem was with the route I mapped out before I left. I came up with what I thought would be a perfect out and back route. I even arranged it where I would get to run in a new park for a while. If it had worked out it would have been a great route, but when I got to this one street on the route it seemed really isolated and it made me feel anxious and uncomfortable running there alone. I wound up turning back and running along a busier street instead, but my improvised route was extremely hilly. I started to see signs saying that I was actually on one of the city's greenways, which was nice, but it was definitely a greenway I would rather walk than run. When my Garmin beeped at mile 4 I had just made it to the top of a really steep hill and there was another hill in front of me. I had planned to run out 5.5 miles and back 5.5 miles to make it to 11, but I could not stand the idea of running up more hills to get to 5.5 miles and then have to face those same hills on the way back. I turned around at mile 4 and started running home. I told myself that I could stop at home, use the bathroom, get some more water, and go finish my run after that. Here are the splits for the first 8 miles:
When I got back to my house I was tired and freezing. The heat felt amazing and I just could not bear the thought of going back out in the cold after being inside. I took a very hot shower instead. After lunch I took a nap under a pile of blankets. It took a while, but eventually I started to feel warm again. Unfortunately, my new found comfort brought guilt along with it. The running schedule said I was supposed to run 11 miles today and I had only run 8. I regretted not finishing my run, so I peeled myself out of bed, put on a fresh set of running clothes, and headed back out to run 3 more miles.
Making myself run 3 more miles was one of the harder things I've done lately. It was a lot warmer out than it was this morning, but my hips were already sore from my morning 8 miler and I just didn't want to run again. I had planned to tailor my route to be less hilly than usual, but it turns out that half the streets I had planned to run on were blocked off for an event. Pedestrians were still allowed to go down the streets, but there were so many people around for the event that I felt like a spectacle going about my interval run in front of them. For the second time today I had to change my route unexpectedly. The change meant facing even more hills. I managed to finish the 3 miles in spite of the terrain, though. Here are the rest of my splits:
I'm actually really glad I finished the last 3 miles of my run. Not only do I think it's important for building stamina, but my second run of the day wound up working like a recovery run. I felt less sore after I finished those 3 miles. It was pleasant and unexpected. I wish I had done all 11 miles at once, but I had such bad running luck today that I'm just happy I finished 11 miles. Here's hoping for a better long run next week.