one is the loneliest number (during a 32-mile run)

Whew! Finally got my long training run in on the course. Begrudgingly woke up to my alarm at 5:45 this morning and was out on the trail by 6:30. My main worries for the day were heat (with an expected high of 95)  and resulting hydration issues. Luckily, even though I ended up finishing somewhere around 12:30, I really didn’t notice the heat or humidity… because, I suspect, I was (a) out all day, so the change was gradual, and (b) the trails are shady. So the heat wasn’t an issue. I was only a little concerned about staying hydrated during the second loop, when I started drinking a lot more; I only drank about a liter during the first loop, then downed about 20 oz. at my “aid station” (a plastic bag of water, gatorade, and peanuts sitting on a picnic table near where I parked) before setting off on the second loop. Immediately – within the first 4 miles or so – I knew I’d be drinking a lot more this time around, and I did end up drinking almost the entire 2L during the second loop.

An unforeseen issue that I encountered was the fact that my right shoe is, I think, too narrow throughout the midfoot. I noticed it a little during the first loop and loosened the laces a little (alliteration!), but it really started hindering me around mile 13 or so. Then, during the second loop, it got pretty bad – it felt like a squeezing, burning sensation on the bottom and side of my pinky toe ball-of-foot area (sorry for the terrible description). Eventually, I pretty much fixed the problem by really loosening the laces up there, but even that didn’t totally resolve it.

Technical details aside, the run pretty much reminded me that running that far does, in fact, hurt. Even though you think, “Oh, ok, I’ll just go out and do a long training run,” it leaves its mark. By the time I got to 2 miles to go, I had reached the point of a kind of painful-joint-shuffle… it didn’t help that I was running alone. (I’ve decided that once you get over around 18-22 miles, company is very, very nice.) As I came down the final long, uphill, unshaded dirt road stretch, I found myself singing, “One is the loneliest number…”

Nevertheless, it’s been a while since I spent a solid 6 hours on the trails, and it was nice. Even though I was alone and didn’t see a single solitary other runner the entire time I was out there. I ache-ily drove home and proceeded to eat everything I could reach from my spot on the kitchen floor (dark chocolate oven-roasted almonds and whole wheat pita chips) before taking a blissful hot shower and eating more food. And now I’m going to sleep.

peace love and zzzzzz

PS. Quick story: I was four hours into my run, on one of the awful sunny dirt road stretches, when two old bearded men passed me in their golf cart, smoking cigars. “This is easier!” one of them said. I smiled politely and ran by, thinking, “YOU THINK I DON’T KNOW THAT? I’M FOUR HOURS INTO MY RUN AND I HAVE TWO LEFT.” Oh, non-runners.

PPS. I usually eat PowerBars (Strawberry Crunch) during my long runs, but I forgot them at my apartment, so I took one PowerBar and a Clif bar (peanut butter chocolate chip) – and was pleasantly surprised! Well, not surprised, I guess – more glad it sat well with my stomach. I also liked that the Clif bar was a little bit less dense than the PowerBar, making it easier to eat while running, as well as having a little looser wrapping (easier to open). Two options now instead of one! (ProBars are good, but (a) expensive and (b) the one I tried did not go well.)