This week was a downshift from last week's half marathon, and a preparation for next week. Due to the holiday, there was no group run, but a SAG was available if one chose to use it. In addition, a few routes were laid out, so people could run through the city, hit the mileage targets, and not get lost. Last week, I made tentative plans to run with one of my running buddies. Well, all that went to hell in a hand basket!
With as busy as what this week has been, I did not get a chance to look at the routes laid out, but I figured my running buddy and I would discuss it. I texted her yesterday, and apparently her plans had changed, so I was on my own this week. No big deal. I've really enjoyed my buddies, but I've missed the long, contemplative runs on my own. I decided to ignore the resources that were available to me and instead plan my route as I went and end up at the kennel. It was only 10 miles. It should have been fine.
First, it's amazing how, after running with other people for a short time, it's so difficult to motivate yourself on your own. I had to set my own pace instead of letting my competitive side take over. I had to think through my thoughts and try to convince myself to not stop when I wanted to. I had convince myself to not call a cab (luckily I didn't have my phone or any cash). Really, not having a buddy was not the worst thing in the world, but it definitely made things harder.
Second, weather was not really on my side today. There was plenty of cloud coverage, but things were just hot and sticky. I was probably slightly dehydrated going in too (good for cool weather, not-so-great for hot weather), so that didn't help things. I had the hardest time staying hydrated, and I just wanted something cool and wet, and the Gatorade in my fuel belt wasn't cutting it since I'd only just filled the bottles this morning and they were room-temperature.
Third, I'm one of those people who often doesn't listen to good advice. I bought new running shoes last week. I should be wearing them for short runs only right now. I should be giving my body time to adjust to them, especially since they're EXTREMELY different from my last shoes. However, with all my previous shoe experiences, I wasn't running long distances, so my transitions were fairly easy. Instead of doing as instructed, I decided that, having worn my shoes for the past two runs, I'd be ready to wear them for my 10 miler. BIG MISTAKE. Admittedly, the run started off much better than the last two runs did. And, admittedly, the pains I'd been feeling from my old shoes (sore hips, tight back) were much better in the new shoes. However, my legs have obviously not adjusted to these shoes. I couldn't find a good stride, I felt like I was wearing lead on my feet, and I just wanted to turn around and go home.
Needless to say, this was not one of my best runs. At one point I actually thought, "I hope an ambulance doesn't drive by, because I'll be mortified if they stop to see if I need assistance."
The route I made up wasn't bad, but I ended up shortening it just because I wanted to be done. I ended up running about 8.6 miles...close, but no cigar. However, I will have to keep that route in mind for the future.
By the time I reached the kennel, where my run ended, I had slowed to a walk. I just couldn't run anymore. I'd taken my fuel belt off, because it was too hot around my waist and I needed to cool off. I walked into the kennel, drank a bottle of water, and sat on the floor. Eventually, I got up, drove home, and showered, only to come back to the kennel to work. I'm tired now, but luckily Saturdays are shorter days!
So, for various reasons, this was not my best run. I'm going to do a few things to change this in the future, though. First, I'm going to take time to break in my running shoes! I should not assume I know better than the experts. Second, I'm going to focus on hydrating better. I'm not necessarily dehydrated, but I often forget the effects of a hot sun and physical exertion. Third, I'm going to try to get a few shorter runs in by myself. I cannot and should not stop running merely because I have no one to run with. That's one of the reasons I love running! I love the alone time! I just need to remember how to self-motivate, and few shorter, speed-focused runs may be just what the doctor order.
Next week is a long run, so we'll see how things go from there!