The 15 miler would seem to be my nemesis. Both times I have run that distance it has turned into a serious gong show. The first time was a year ago down at the Glenmore Reservoir. The last part of my run was fuelled purely by adrenalin as I was freaked out about the bear warning signs. And it was freezing. 15 miles…3:05:08…12:03/mi. You can read the run report here. It is truly a tale of what to not do on your long run…
The second time I ran 15 miles was this summer. It was crazy hot out, my bladder was on overdrive, I had some weird hip pain (that hasn’t recurred since, knock on wood) and I just really had a hard time mentally getting through this run. 15 miles…2:57:30…11:50/mi.
By all rights today wasn’t entirely a 15 miler. I had 25K on the schedule which is 15.5 miles. A totally different ball game, right? And Calgary was in line for an amazing fall day. It was 10 deg C (50 deg F) already when I woke up and we were forecast to get up to 16 C (61 F). I didn’t feel like just running around my neighborhood so I headed out to Glenmore Reservoir. Yup, the scene of last year’s bear run. I had been assured by a coworker who ran out there last weekend that there were no bear warning signs up right now though. I planned to run two shortened laps around the reservoir which I figured should get me to the right distance.
I felt amazing as I started out. Everything was in sync. I was running low to sub 10:00 miles and my heart rate was just hanging out in zone 2 with no issues. The sun was shining and the mountains in the distance looked beautiful. It was one of those days were you just felt so grateful to be healthy and alive and out there doing this. At 5 miles I stopped to walk and down a vanilla Hammer Gel. Once I got back to running my rhythm felt like it had been thrown off. I was struggling to hold my pace and my heart rate was shooting in to zone 3. It felt like it took a good mile and a half to get back in to it. What happened to my great run? I finished up the loop around the res at about 8.6 miles in. I dropped my long sleeve top off at the car and opted to rejig the route since a second loop would give me more mileage than I needed. I ran an out and back along the north part of the res instead. At 10 miles in I downed an espresso Hammer Gel. I didn’t get quite the same reaction on this one, so I’ll have to see if vanilla poses a problem or if it was just some weird anomaly. Or if it is just blood being diverted to help digest the gel and that makes my heart rate rise?
I was still holding an average of a 10:00 mile for the whole run so I figured this would give me a good idea of where I should aim for pace wise at my half marathon next weekend. Once I hit the half marathon distance my legs were feeling like they were done with it. The last couple of miles were a real struggle and I slowed down a lot. It just felt like my hip flexors were really tightening up and my knees were hurting. I was ready to be done…
15 miles done in 2:31:37.
15.5 miles done in 2:37:16. A 10:09/mi pace.
Not a bad improvement from July, eh? So anyhow, this run was definitely a learning experience for me. I need to hold back a bit in the first few miles. I know I can hold the pace over the distance, but if I hold back in the beginning I’ll have more left in the tank for the rest of the run. And if I can do that I may be able to hold this pace or better on even longer runs.
After that it was time to head home…with a couple of detours along the way. I stopped off to get a hot chocolate for a recovery drink and popped in to Linen’s n Things which is going out of business here. I needed to get a new coffee maker for when my parents come to town next weekend so I figured this was a good opportunity. Once I got home my day wasn’t over yet though! I had a 30 min recovery ride scheduled. I grabbed a bite to eat, then changed into some cycling capris and a short sleeve cycling jersey and took off to explore a new route out from my house. I headed north along a country road that I had never been on before. It must be a pretty popular cycling route though because I’m sure that I saw more cyclists than cars on my short ride. The ride was beautiful and the weather was fantastic. I was almost sad that I needed to turn around so quickly. Except this was supposed to be a short recovery ride, not an all out endurance ride so I needed to head back. I’m looking forward to exploring around here a bit more next spring.
All in all, a fantastic day. Too bad this amazing weather is going to be pretty short lived!