I have weekend plans that will prevent me from completing my 18 mile LR this Sunday. So, last night, I set out to knock them out a couple days early which lead to....a reality check.
Maybe it was the heat.
Maybe it was the after effects of Saturday's trail race.
Maybe it was just too much after a full day of work.
Or maybe it was something else.
Last evening's 18 mile run was about as tough of a training run as I've ever had. After 13 miles, my legs were dead. My hamstrings were throbbing. My energy was zapped. I felt an obligation to trudge on and "get the miles in" though.
My legs have felt heavy lately on every run.
I haven't lost my enthusiasm for running. I'm still as passionate as ever and look forward to my upcoming races and goals. After some consideration, I think what's going on here is a couple of things. First, there is no doubt that the heat of this summer is starting to catch up with me. I expect it's affecting everyone to some degree. And with the Chicago Marathon approaching, and the correlating increase in weekly mileage, this is a potent combination.
I think, however, I've become a little too cocky. Not in the I'm-such-a-great-runner kind of way. That's not true at all and I remain humbled before this sport. I think I'm getting comfortable running long distances (which I'll describe as 12+ miles). I'm no longer nervous or fearful or excited by a run of 18 miles. Just like I wasn't anxious at all before my 10 mile trail run - and that kicked my butt. I step out the door to run 15,16,17,18 miles, whatever, without a second thought. Previously, I would mentally (and physically) prepare myself for this time of run. I'd psyche myself up for an 18 miler. I'd consider my diet and physical activities in the hours preceding a run of this distance.
Lately, I've just been lacing up the shoes and running out the door. No preparation. No concerns.
And it has made for some tough runs.
No matter how many times now I've run half marathon or greater distances, it is still a demanding distance. It requires some mental and physical preparation. I need to remind myself of that and get back to being a wee bit fearful. Or one of these times I'll pay the price.
I'll be better off in the long run.
On a side note, Good Luck to Mike and Lisa as they tackle their Night 20! We should establish a southeast-south central Michigan running club. Steers Running Club perhaps? Run with the Steers, maybe? A little take off the running of the bulls in Pamplona? White shirts....red ties...just a thought. (I'll let Mike explain someday the derivation of the Steers being a founding member and all).
Last night: 18 miles @ 7:24 pace.