One problem that I am having being a repeat offender marathoner is that the long runs feel so daunting. I have memories tied to certain running routes and while I haven't had horrible experiences, the thought of running someplace that takes 25 minutes by car makes me cringe knowing I have to cover the miles by foot. I usually end up procrastinating and putting off the long run for as long as I can. I hit the pavement when Chubby Hubby starts making snide comments about me putting the rest of the weekend on hold. It is funny how my perspective changes on the day of the marathon because my thoughts shift to being only 26.2 miles away from a cold beer.
This weekend brought more of the long run fretting. My goal was to run 8 on Saturday (I am making up my own schedule). I did a 3 mile run/walk on Friday and I feared that my long run would be just as awful....lets just say there was a lot more walking than running. I decided to change things up a bit and do an 8 mile by breaking it up into two 4 mile loops. I ran basically a huge figure eight around my neighborhood. The mid-point of my run was my house where I stopped and grabbed some water. I have to say it was kind of a slick way of doing things.
Minneapolis has TONS of cool running routes but as I mentioned when you do them all the time, the distance can feel daunting. Exploring my own neighborhood was more fun than I thought. I live in a cool area because there is a lot of nature reserves and we are smack dab in the middle of the city about a mile from MSP airport.....a good mix of wildlife and city. With this diverse scenery, I got to see a mother duck with her ducklings waddling next to me on a wooded trail (they were moving faster than me) and then I saw some dude dancing in droopy drawers on his front porch singing at the top of his lungs while I was waiting for an endless stop light to let me cross a busy intersection.
My eight mile run ended up being AWESOME. My changed up route paired with an amazing spring morning and a kick ass play list on my ipod made this a perfect run! I am by no means a fast runner and I covered this distance at 11:47 average pace (really fast for me)! Also, I did not stop to walk (unheard of). I needed this long run to go well because I needed the confidence booster. When I got home, my marathon confirmation card came in the mail. Normally I start dry heaving when I see it, but this time I am EXCITED!
The run set the tone for a great weekend. We officially kicked off deck season with our friends, watched the kids play baseball and hockey, and I hit up hot yoga on Sunday evening.
What do you do to make your long runs bearable?