Learning To Love The Long Run

So, after feeling a bit lame-o for registering for a full marathon and then downgrading to the half, I’ve decided to do it again.

I’m going to train for a marathon *and* a triathlon at the same time.

Not sure why I like this sort of punishment but for some reason, I can never focus on just one or the other. As I hone in on one race, the sirens of the other race keep calling my name. So this time I’m going to slide my long runs in to my current base training calendar. I’ve already got a decent amount of base mileage behind me. For marathon training, all I really have to do is work on my long runs. The goal is to finish, hopefully just a little bit faster than my last marathon.

70.3 base training and Rock ‘n Roll AZ Marathon training…all rolled into one.

I had a 14 mile training run this weekend on tap. I generally wig out at the thought of any run longer than 10 miles or so on my own, especially in a city as small as Seattle. In Los Angeles I had the luxury of running from my apartment to the beach (10 miles), to downtown and back (16 miles), around West Hollywood and Koreatown (7 miles), or to Beverly Hills and back (6-8 miles). The routes were always really fun and I got to learn different parts of my city. I’ve found that Seattle is much, much smaller than LA — taking a run into downtown is only a few miles, and to Pike Place and the waterfront, around the Seattle Center and back is only 7 or 8 miles. I’ve been running out of cityscape very quickly, which I believe has contributed to my long run demise. It’s also in the rainy/windy season so running along the floating bridge is a bit scary for me as a first timer. I needed something safe.

Green Lake Park is not too far away. I remember running the Iron Girl 10K there and the area is very well maintained. I’m able to access it easily from surface streets. I’ve driven around that path quite a bit so I’ve gotten a good read of the landscape and landmarks, and this weekend, I decided it was a go. The entire route — from my apartment to Green Lake, 3 laps around Green Lake and back to my apartment — was about 15-16 miles. I decided to strictly adhere to my 14 mile limit so that I wouldn’t undo any feel-good warm fuzzies I’d have for inching up my mileage incrementally and packed my bus pass. After having mentally battled the fact that I was going to start long-distance training again for a few days (and saying it aloud to my co-workers), come Saturday morning I procrastinated only a little. Two hours. That’s a record.

To and back…and 3 loops around Green Lake

I also decided to try something new this time. My playlist is very much exhausted and I’m getting tired of sourcing good music to keep me going for my run. I remembered a book that my boyfriend was raving about so I decided to buy it on Audible and load it onto my iPod. It’s called The Defining Decade and it talks a lot about how your twenties is a time for positive change. I generally thought that running with audiobooks would be incredibly boring but I couldn’t be more wrong. Maybe it was the content or the narrator but it really kept my mind off of the distance and focused on something positive. That and the audiobook was a swift kick in the butt. (If you’re 20-something like me, you should definitely check out The Defining Decade!)

So I’m learning to love the long run with a few carrots: some good audiobooks to keep me company on the road, promises of strictly adhering to a training schedule, eating well, and getting adequate rest.

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