Wednesday, January 6, 2016

WWU - New Year's Day 11 Miler

 
 
Ever since I lost weight and actually started exercising, I've tried to do something - run, bike, whatever - on the first day of the new year.  And in years past, I've usually done a short run, but this year, Jeff and I needed to get in our long run before we spent the next two days driving back to Texas.  So, we ran 11 miles on January 1.  It started out great - the weather finally cooled down to a perfect 45 degrees, and the rain that had been steadily falling for the previous four days had finally stopped.  Once again we drove to the American Tobacco Trail for this run; it seemed the easiest way to get in a lot of miles without getting lost, considering we don't know that area very well (and we actually went to the wrong trailhead at first; yes, even though we'd been there a week prior, we still got confused).

Anyway, we set off to run two miles one way on the trail and then turn around before going a different direction.  There weren't many people out yet, which is understandable considering it was just after 8:00 am on New Year's Day.  We nearly made it to the two mile point but the trail was completely covered with a giant mud puddle, so we turned sooner, as we didn't want to muck up our shoes so early in the run.  We ran back to our starting point and I felt pretty good.  We needed to run 3.5 miles in the opposite direction before turning around, but because we were short on the first out-and-back, we decided to go to 3.75 - there is nothing worse than having to run past your intended stopping point at the end of a long run (ask me how I know this, LOL).  This part of the trail was interesting - by then, there were more people on it, both runners and walkers.  I was supremely jealous of the group who were walking, Starbucks cups in hand...that looked pretty appealing to me as I huffed and puffed past them.

We ran and ran, and discovered a very new trailhead/parking lot, complete with a real bathroom (the trailhead we started at just had pit toilets).  There were families with children riding their new bikes and it was very entertaining/distracting, which was a great thing at that point in the run.  As we crossed a bridge over Panther Creek (there was a sign posted, otherwise I'd never have known which creek it was), a man was looking over the railing and told us there was a beaver swimming below, so we paused our Garmins and took a look, which was pretty cool considering I'd already seen two dead beavers on the side of the road while we were in NC and I was wondering if they were akin to the armadillos of Texas, where you mostly see the dead ones roadside.

Shortly after that, the run got hard, and not just for me, but for Jeff as well.  We struggled from mile 9 on, and I remember thinking that if getting to 11 miles was this challenging, how was I going to make it an additional two miles for my race in Houston?  But I decided that even though the trail is soft and supposed to be easier on your joints, that very thing was something that my legs aren't accustomed to, and that's why the run felt so hard toward the latter part.  At least, that's what I'm going with, because I can't let my mind go down the path of "I'm not going to make it" for my upcoming half marathon.  We finally finished, and somehow, we were half a mile away from the trailhead, so we got a nice cooldown walk on top of the 11 miles.
New Year's Day 11 miler, done!

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I only have one more long run remaining before the half marathon - whew!  It's been an exceptionally long training season, considering we started in July, and I am ready for my "long runs" to be in the 5 mile range.  Still, it's been a good season, and I've enjoyed running with my buddies so much, and we will continue to run together, because that's what we like to do...that's not too weird, is it?

27 comments:

  1. Hi Shelley, great post and congrats on 11 miles to kick off 2016. That is great! I just came across your blog and am thankful that you are sharing your journey. Have a great first week in the new year.

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  2. Wow, that's an impressive distance to start the new year with. Well done! I know you are ready for your half in Houston. And I will be cheering for you from across the ocean.

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    1. I will be listening for your cheers in my head next Sunday! :)

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  3. Great way to usher in the new year! 11 miles is a long way no matter how you look at it. Trust your training you'll do fine
    at your goal race.You have put in the time and miles if you can
    run 11 miles you can run 13.1!

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  4. Trail running is very different than road running and it doesn't matter how packed down the trail is. I also think that out and back long runs always seem longer. That's probably my least favorite way to run long. Kudos to you two for getting it done! How long is that last long run? I feel like your race is right around the corner... surely it can't be that long!

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    1. Our schedule calls for 5-7 miles for our last long run. I'm thinking I should do 7, because I'm doing a 5K race the day before the half marathon (oops, forgot about that until last night).

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  5. What a great run and a wonderful tradition for New Years Day :)

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    1. Thanks - I'm proud of us for keeping up this fairly new tradition.

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  6. ELEVEN! WOAH. I was just happy I made it outside for the 4.2 I did New Year's Day. amazing job, you're gonna ROCK that half marathon!

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    1. Believe me, I'd have been just as happy to run 4.2 miles!

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  7. What a GREAT way to kick in the New Year!!!!! I am with you 100%, it was the change of road/trail surface that threw you off!!!!

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    1. I'll find out this Saturday, when I'm back to running long on the street and sidewalk.

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  8. I was fixing my breakfast, looking forward to reading your blog, and thinking, how weird is it that I sit by my fire in my bathrobe and enjoy reading about Shelley running ELEVEN MILES?!

    Anyway, I do enjoy reading about your adventures, and I have no doubt that you will be successful at your half marathon. What's a measly two miles, anyway :)

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    1. Haha, I like reading about other people's adventures from the comfort of my home too!

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  9. Congrats on getting that long one done.

    You got this!

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  10. Congratulations Shelley on your 11 miles. I am running the Houston Half also for the first time - (not my first half). I am also ready for the long long runs to be over! Trying to decide on my taper weeks schedule now.

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    1. Yay Mimi - here's hoping the weather is good for Houston!

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  11. What a fantastic way to start the year (and with a lot of mileage, woot, woot)! I am happy the beaver was ALIVE, lol!

    You know, it's pretty common for the last two miles of my LR to feel the hardest. I think that's just kind of how it is - you know you are almost done! You are totally ready for your HM! Get ready for those last 2 to be hard and have a mental game (or a treat!) to help you through them! :)

    A friend of mine ran on crushed limestone out here and thought it was a lot more difficult than the pavement she is used to running on, too.

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  12. Congratulations! That is quite a run! It's an awesome way to begin the year!

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  13. Nice way to start the NY! I think you will be fine for your race. Trail running is deceptively hard. Softer surfaces tire you out like crazy.

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  14. Nice way to kick off the new year! I rode my bike (on the trainer). Nothing like kicking off a new year with an injury! I hope to be back on the road soon.

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  15. I love your tradition of doing some sort of exercise - it just sort of starts the year off on the right note!

    So close to the half! It seemed so far away and now it's almost here :D

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  16. What a great way to bring in the new year. I always do training runs on my favorite trail and although it is suppose to be easier on your joints, knees, etc, I feel as though my runs are "easier" during those few times I can get in town and run on the pavement.
    I also have been known to start my run on an earlier point on the trail, that way I get done before my "intended finish line". That makes me feel good (mentally) on the way back that I don't have to run as far ( even though technically it's the same exact distance...lol).

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