Back to My Long Run Roots

25 Mar

I woke up this morning at 7 am without an alarm clock, feeling well-rested and ready for the day. I love it when that happens! But I know it’s no stroke of luck – it’s the natural outcome of going to bed at a decent time. I finally feel back on track after a few weeks of hitting the snooze at least ten times every morning with the excuse, “I’m soooo tired.” Early bedtimes are where it’s at.

Yesterday, I did my first double digit long run for my official marathon training – 10 miles. I still feel like mixing things up and not just running my same old trail so for this run, I drove up to Boulder. The loop I ran was almost identical to the longest training run I did for my first half marathon – I adjusted it a bit since I wouldn’t be running to and from our old apartment (though I did still run by it).

I got up at 6:45 and left the house around 7:10, after getting my Camelbak loaded and watered, and eating a breakfast of 2 Kashi waffles with peanut butter and jelly. Since I am a morning runner at heart, I am loving my long runs early in the morning – right now, it’s the only run I get to do in the morning so it’s extra special. It doesn’t hurt that I get to go run in places like Boulder. Hello Flatirons:

I ended up running the loop in the opposite way I had originally planned because right as I parked the car, I realized I needed a bathroom break, now. So I ran to the nearest gas station and instead of backtracking, just continued on that direction.

It had been a fairly cool 45 degrees at my house,  so I was wearing my 2xU compression tights, a t-shirt, and a long-sleeve over that. It became apparent after about 30 seconds of running into the blazing sun that I did not need the long-sleeve. I decided that when I stopped to get my music started around mile 1.5 (when I got out of the high traffic area), I’d also remove my long-sleeve and tuck it into my Camelbak. So that’s what I did.

What I love about Boulder: So many trails. So many people. It’s a chicken/egg situation. Are there so many people out because the trails in Boulder are kick@$$? Or are the trails so awesome because so many people want to use them? I saw at least 5 running groups of 10-30 people out on this gorgeous morning, plus at least 50 other people, if not more. My hand got a little tired from waving (kidding).

Right before mile 2, I saw these sweeties:

I took a picture of them for Lisa from Cow Spots and Tales. Colorado cows! These little babies were so cute. Although they were a little scared of me and my phone. The one on the left was poised to dart away if I moved an inch closer.

I continued on after that picture, feeling great. My legs felt good. My lungs felt good. The weather was perfect. And I was running on the trails that hold so many great memories of moving out to Colorado and training for my first half marathon.

The first 6 miles were downhill and the last 4 were uphill, losing and gaining about 200 feet total. This slightly mimics the Platte River Half Marathon I’m doing on April 15 – it’s mostly downhill with one hill at the end (though that hill is not 4 miles long, thank goodness).

Boulder run elevation – but I ran it backwards

Platte River Half elevation profile

Since I was using my Poor Man’s GPS (mapping the route online and manually tracking my splits at memorized mile markers) and the route was 9.93 miles instead of 10, my first and last splits are about 30 seconds off. But regardless, I was very happy with my pace during this run:

1 – 9:55
2 – 10:25
3 – 10:48
4 – 10:57
5 – 10:26
6 – 11:41
7 – 12:00
8 – 10:59
9 – 11:55
10 – 11:32

Total Miles – 9.93

Total Time – 1:49:43 (11:05/mile)

{Side note: If I run this pace during the half in April, I will PR by about 5 minutes!}

Mile 6 was so slow because I took a Gu right as I finished Mile 5 (the one I tried this time was the Triberry flavor, and it was delicious) and even though gels are easier to consume than Shotbloks, they still make it hard to breathe while running. And then Mile 7 was so slow because…? I was dying? I could’ve used another gel at Mile 9, but with only one mile to go, and the $1.99 price tag for a gel in my mind, I decided that I’d muscle through. But it does give me a good idea of when I’ll plan on fueling during a race.

Even though Miles 6-10 were uphill, they had a lot of entertaining things to look at. For one, I was running toward the Flatirons. For two, there were prairie dogs everywhere. I took a bad picture of them for Heidi at run.around.aroo (I couldn’t get closer because they were also scared of me):

As I ran past their homes, I saw a couple of them wrestling, another one scratching himself, and came upon another one who was dragging some twigs and what looked like moss across the path to his home on the other side. But when he saw me coming along, he panicked and ran back to safety. I looked back a little after I had passed him, and he had made it safely to the other side. I think this is why I absolutely love animated movies, like Up and A Bug’s Life – I love imagining animals like prairie dogs with little personalities, habits, etc. that are unique to them. I mean, dogs and cats have them, so why not prairie dogs?

Right after that, I came upon this tribute to the prairie dog:

This also shows how nice the trails in Boulder are – these murals are in an underpass on the bike trail.

I also saw some ducks, several pretty birds, and lots of pretty flowers:

My excitement at seeing these, though, was tempered by the fear that it might snow again and kill all of them. That would be sad.

I ended my 10 mile run by stretching in the park, then changed out of my sweaty shirt and sports bra into a workout tank (which worked really well and I’m going to keep this in mind for future races), and ate some Pirate’s Booty and 2 clementines on my drive home.

I actually felt great after this run, no Epsom salt bath necessary – I was a little stiff getting out of the car after my 35 minute drive but after I got moving,  I felt great. I even ended up helping Travis with some yardwork (meaning I mostly stood there for moral support while he did the work) before I went to a baby shower. When I got home from that, I took the pooches on a walk and then took a much-needed hour-long nap. We grilled up some elk burgers for dinner and watched 3 DVR-ed episodes of NCIS (we’re so addicted right now), before calling it a night at 10:30. Oh, and I drank two Mike’s hard lemonades – the joy of Saturday night. I think this is going to be a trend.

4 Responses to “Back to My Long Run Roots”

  1. Lisa March 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Awwwh; thanks for the picture. 🙂 Nice run! Boulder looks like such a gorgeous place. I’ve been to Colorado a time or two, but never Boulder. I need to plan a return trip out west sometime. Hope you’re able to set a big PR in April!

  2. Heidi Nicole March 27, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Love the prairie dog picture! They are so fun to watch. When I was a kid I read a book by Jeanette Oake about prairie dogs – she wrote it from the perspective of one of the newly born prairie dogs thru his first year of life. Of course the prairie dogs could talk to each other and had personalities and such – I pretend this is true every time I see prairie dogs. Heck, sometimes I even create story lines for their lives!

    We drove by a few trail heads around the Golden and Boulder area this weekend that had me planning out trail runs! Its just so open with so much scenery!


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    […] 9.93 mile long run (1:49:43; […]

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    […] Olive trees are out in full force up in Boulder too, which has me contemplating a run around my 9 mile loop again […]

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