A while back Lucho and I were talking and he suggested that I 'stay in touch' with the long run this winter... primarily because endurance is harder to gain than it is to maintain... so I didn't need to do a 20 mile run every week or anything but just to make sure it didn't get too far away and let it once again become some big epic training day that scared me. Last year I was afraid of 20 mile runs because they hurt me... but I did enough of them that eventually they became quite common place and not only did I not blink when I saw one on my training schedule, I got to the point where they didn't even really hurt me too much. THAT was cool.
So I went into my Training Peaks calendar and wrote in 'Long 18-20 miles' as a run workout and copied and pasted it rather randomly throughout my winter/spring like every 4th or 5th week just to remind myself that I didn't want to get too far away from those. The thinking behind that of course was that once Ironman training actually started in earnest I would already have this base of some long runs which would allow me to jump right into specific pace work on those 18-20 milers instead of just trying to drag myself through them one foot in front of the other style.
I can't remember why I bailed on the long run written in for last month... I had a reason but don't know what it was now... this month I decided not to skip it though so I headed up with some trepidation this afternoon (I asked my boss if it was cool if I bailed on work to go run and luckily she is cool with that kind of thing- she totally gets it- lol- the beauty of being self employed!) with an extra gel hoping it wouldn't completely shell me to run 18 miles. (See? I was afraid of 20 so opted for just 18. Exactly what I was trying to avoid.)
You know what's cool? My long run endurance didn't go anywhere! Phew. It was actually pretty fun at mile 7 I started looking at my garmin to see what pace I was running... sometimes I play a little game and try to guess my pace... when I'm on I can guess almost to the second now... so each mile when the garmin would beep I would look down and check and see that I was nearly spot on... so then my goal became to hold that exact same pace for the rest of the run... and wouldn't you know it- every.single.mile for the next 9 miles- even as I hit some rolling hills- I was within 3" of that same exact pace. Like a freakin' metronome!! It's the little things on a long run that make one happy I suppose. :) Then the last 3 miles I picked it up a bit just because I knew I could and that was such a cool feeling. I felt like I was floating back to my house and finished feeling completely in love with running.
So I know I'm not like breaking any land speed records or anything but at least I can go pop off an 18 miler at will and call it running vs jogging. That makes me happy! I am positive it was all that consistent work last year on my run that allowed me to do that today which feels cool b/c its like proof that years build on years with endurance sports like these. And having a deep base pays dividends for years to come. It's still ~27 weeks til IM Canada. Is St. George still open?
Next up is 38x200's in the pool tomorrow morning. Nalani is imposing a late fee on the 38x100's we were supposed to do last week for my birthday but didn't get to because I was sick. That's a pretty steep late fee I think but whatever- it'll be epic and fun!
Obviously I do all this long stuff because I love it. Even if there was no Ironman on my schedule at all this year I would still be doing all this type of training... Because I love it. :)