The closer we get to race day, September 2, the longer my "long run" days get. And dedication doesn't seem to be a problem. I was awake on and off all night, wanting to be up at 5, and out the door before 6. At one point I looked at the watch on my nightstand, and seeing that it was 4:30, I thought, good enough, and got up... only to discover that it was actually 3:30... way too early to head out there in the dark. So back to bed once more, and finally quite tired, I overslept until 6, and considered allowing myself the "it's too late" excuse to bag my run all together. Then I realized that training for this race is about the closest thing I have to a "job" these days, and I'd better get myself to work.
I've been reading Scott Jurek's new book, Eat and Run, and just finished the part where he ran in Mexico with the Tarahumara Indians, who eat really basic things like corn and beans, and can run for days. I've been trying various pre-run meals, but nothing has really done it for me. I need something simple to make and easy to digest. Smoothies are out, oatmeal became unappealing after the second time I ate it, and the little seaweed/rice wraps were no fun at all. Today I decided to try some corn and beans, I plopped little hummus and leftover lentils on a corn tortilla, and warmed it in the toaster oven, adding slices of avocado at the end, and rolling it up into a little taco. It tasted great, sat well in my stomach, and best of all, seemed to give me the energy I was looking for. This might be a keeper. Along with coconut water in my hand held bottle, and a little cookie snack I took with me, I felt properly fueled my entire run.
I got a new GPS watch for my birthday, so decided to hop off the "hamster wheel" and venture out beyond my own 1.5 mile block. I ran/walked for just over 2 hours, at a 1 minute run/30 second walk pace, covering territory that was very much more "hilly" than it seems in the car, and finishing back home at just under 10 miles. I did 10.5 last week, but it wasn't as hard as today was, so I'm happy.
I still feel like I'm making good progress. One way I check that is to check in with my breathing, posture, and what my face is doing. I'm learning to breathe through my nose more, to stand up straighter and tuck my tummy in when I start to feel tired, and to keep a little smile on my face as much as possible. When I catch myself smiling and appreciating the beautiful morning around me, I know I'm doing something right.
This morning I did everything different, from my food to my route to playing Vivaldi instead of typical workout music. It all worked, so with some more fine tuning, I'll be pushing for a slightly longer long run next week. I'm figuring it out, little by little, and I'm finally starting to feel like a runner. I can do this thing.