Episode 6: In the Long Run

Hi Friends, before I launch into the latest on my running adventure, I need to tell you all how grateful I am for your support!  At the writing of this article, we have raised over 25% of the $10K target.  Thank you, I’m grateful for your help.  (Check out //rundfmc.org/2011/zackj for the latest update and to make a donation)

This past Saturday, I did it.  I ran 20-22 miles.  It was my last long run before THE big day, Patriots Day, April 18.  I started off the day planning on running 20 miles, just 3 miles more than what I had done the week before.  So I checked my trusty ‘Charles River Running Map’ and learned that the full loop including the Mt. Auburn St. bridge and the Boston Science Museum is 17.1 miles.  I reasoned that adding a small loop at the start (perhaps the 2.9 miles between the Elliot bridge and Western Ave.) would be a good way to make it 20 miles.  This might be a good time to explain one of the reasons I don’t run on treadmills.

The reason is actually quite practical and a bit sad.  See, I’m lazy, so if I am just running in a loop or on a treadmill and I get too tired, I can easily convince myself to stop.  The temptation grows the longer you run, and the more tired you get the less convincing you need.  But, when you are running on the street it is a different story.  At the start of the run you are fresh and ambitious.  So you run fast and far.  And when you have gone a long way and you are tired, you can’t just stop… because if you do, you need to call your wife and have her pick you up and then you have to admit to her (and yourself) that you actually are lazy.  So instead, I tell my tired self, “Self, our interests are aligned.  You and I want to stop running, but the only way to stop is to get back home.”  (As a note, these are the kind of deep conversations you have after 17 miles…) Fortunately, getting back home means you’ve completed your goal and avoided the whole lazy discussion.

So, back to Saturday’s long run.  I knowing that I needed the longer loop to be last, figured I’d start with the short loop.  But the problem is, the bridges in real life aren’t as well marked as the bridges on the website, so I often forget which bridge is which.  As I started off my run from Western Ave., I ran right by the Elliot bridge and made it most of the way to the Arsenal bridge before I realized that I had gone too far.  But being fresh, I said, no big deal, we’ll just keep going.  I turned around and made my way back to Western, the little loop was somewhere between 4-5 miles.  Then I started the big loop, which I think of as two pieces 8 miles from Western to the Science Museum and back, then 9.1 miles from Western to Mt. Auburn St. and back home.

What can I say?  It wasn’t pretty, but I finished.  My first little loop I finished keeping a good sub-9 minute / mile pace, the next bit to the museum and back was still close to 9 minutes / mile, but the last loop slowed down a bit more.  In the end, the whole 20-22 miles took me 3 hours and 34 minutes.  So if it was only 20 miles my pace is slower, but maybe I was faster… who knows.  All I know is I’m not going to run another long run until the big day.  I think I’m ready.  Of course my training could have been better, but at least it has been good enough.

As always, thank you for your support and have a great day!


Next week’s goal: Raise more money to fight cancer!  And don’t run too far.