Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Long Run

Ah, where to begin? Well, we didn't get snow last night or today, so there was no interference with my running today. That is except for the long delay this morning while I lolled in bed and didn't hit the road until after noon. And afternoon as well.

But before I get to the run itself, let me mention my faithful running companion—my iPod. Almost every mile I've run has been with the accompaniment of the music on my iPod. Last year I put together a lengthy playlist, ostensibly for use in the Whidbey half marathon. As it turns out, I use it almost all the time when I'm running. The whole playlist is about 4½ hours long (suspiciously long for someone who swears she has no intention of running a full marathon), and includes a wide variety of songs that I believe help me run better. Way back when I published a portion of my list as an iTunes mix (iTunes only includes songs that are available through them, so a bunch of favorites that I got from oddball CD's are omitted).

A bunch of the songs are one that have "run" in the title (e.g., Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run, Eric Clapton's Run, The Indigo Girls' Run, Sheryl Crow's Run Baby Run, The Eagles' The Long Run, and Neil Young's Long May You Run). (My very favorite running song, by the way, even though it doesn't have "run" in the title, is Queen's Don't Stop Me Now.) Even though none of the songs are literally about running, most of the lyrics can be twisted into a running theme. For example...

"Baby we were born to run."

"Something inside of me keeps on telling me to run, run run...."

"And you run, that's all you've ever done, It's all you know to do, I can't hold that against you...."

"Run baby run baby run baby run..." The name speaks for itself doesn't it? As does Long May You Run.

But today was all about The Long Run. "You can go the distance, we'll find out, in the long run." Today was the end of the first week of this round of half marathon training, and it was slated to be a 90 minute run, with the first three quarters at an easy pace and the final quarter (about 25 minutes) faster. My total run turned out to be about 15 minutes extra, in part because I added in some extra hills.

I really want to work on hills this time, because both Portland (15K) and Whidbey (half marathon) are quite hilly. But I'm not quite sure how I would work in hill training during the work week, so at least this weekend I decided to combine it with my long run.

The way I did it was, every time I ran up or down a significant hill, I turned around and doubled it. For example, I ran down a hill between Rucker and Grand. Before I went on, I turned around and ran back up it, and then down again. There were several hill opportunities on the pedestrian ramps crossing Marine View Drive (I got at least three hills out of that), and finally the big hill was a long hill up Marine View Drive by Legion Park. After my first trip up, I went back down and then up again, which I counted as two hills altogether, although each one was about three times longer than any other hill I did.

After that I didn't do any more hill repeats. By that time it was almost time to go into the final accelerated portion. So at 2:00 I put myself into race mode (as best I could), and pushed myself hard for the next 25 minutes; which coincidentally, took me exactly to the QFC parking lot, my semi-final destination.

A quick shopping trip through QFC, a latte from Starbucks, and then I happily walked myself home to a hot bath. You can go the distance, in the long run.

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