My long run today was scheduled to be 10 miles. While I prefer the flat towpath in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, it is at least a 30 minute drive to the trailhead I run from. I had so much I wanted to do around the house I opted to run from home. Since I had both a speed run and a tempo run this past week on the treadmill, I thought running the hills by home would be a good strengthening exercise. Physically as well as mentally.
As I set out I knew I wanted to go easy, but I wanted to run. Only walk when absolutely necessary. So I decided to do all to keep my heart rate under 135 and when it hit 140 I would walk. The one thing I didn’t do was leave knowing exactly where I was going to run. I have an old faithful route I follow, but within the first mile I decided to try something new. My friend who lives nearby and is training for the same half iron distance tri as I had suggested a route that takes me down to a trail through a meadow. He picked a good path, it is a great option. Due to my meandering running the first part of my run, it took me 4.4 miles to get to the path. It was shaded, stoney, and relatively flat. Once out in the meadow I didn’t go far before I had to turn. I think it will be a great run once fall is in full bloom. Being in the open sun was a bit hot. The run home was about 3.5 miles. Up hill. The same hilly street that I road home on my bike yesterday. Despite the hills, I was able to keep a good pace and only walked three times at most. Even then, I recovered fast and kept my mile pace under 13 minutes. Now that was hard to type after running 4 miles on Thursday all under 10 minute pace. But this was an “easy” long run and each run serves it purpose. My average heart rate was 133 and I averaged 12:53 minute miles. Big cheer. Signs I am improving my efficiency.
Today was an extension of yesterday as to believing I am able. I am improving, I am getting stronger, and I handle the mental challenges easier. Not every day will be an advancement. Oh how I wish life was linear with a positive slope. But that is just not the case. This weekend though was on the up slope, and that is reassuring. Yes, I still have doubts and questions. In training and life in general. But I know what I can handle, and when doubts arise I must draw on experiences like this weekend to pull me through. One more exercise to strengthen my mind.