Marathon Training 2011: Long Run #1 (12 miles)

Today was the first official long run of marathon training. My marathon training buddy Sarah & I had 12 miles on the books. We decided to run part of the marathon course, from ~mile 12 to ~mile 24.

Due to the anticipated heat and her softball schedule, we decided to meet at 6:30 am (actually, she bribed me by telling me she’d buy me coffee and breakfast after). I had a great night’s sleep the night before, and felt ready for this run, especially after the success of last week’s 11 miler.

I picked her up about 6:25 am & we drove a mile to our start. The first couple miles seemed hard as I tried to convince my legs that yes, we were totally doing this again, and yes, it IS a good idea. We were running along St. Helens Road and headed towards highway 30. That early in the  morning, there was (fortunately) not a lot of traffic. About mile 2, I needed to stop and stretch out my Achilles – pretty much the story of EVERY run I do, ever. I wish I could make it stretchy BEFORE running, but apparently not.

Miles 3 & 4 were mostly on highway 30 – running towards traffic. Not the prettiest or best part of the marathon route, that’s for sure. At mile 4, I took my first GU. Almost immediately after, we started the climb up to the St. Johns Bridge.

Mile 1: 10:49
Mile 2: 10:43
Mile 3: 10:31
Mile 4: 11:08

That climb sucked. I can’t believe how hard it was. I used to kick ass on hills. I definitely need to do more hills and add some hill repeats. I also never need to take a Gu immediately before a climb again. I honestly thought I was going to barf over the side of the railing.

FINALLY, I was at the top. AND, I didn’t barf. I stopped my watch & we walked it out a bit, until there was no more danger of dying.

The St. Johns Bridge is awesome. It was so beautiful. We could see hazy Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt Adams. When it’s less hazy (like when I was driving home after our run), you can also see tiny Mt. Ranier poking up!

We ran down the other side of the bridge, and up the weirdly-angled incline up to Willamette (rhymes with dammit!) and through a long neighborhood section. At mile 6, Sarah took her Gu, and then I took my 2nd at mile 8. This was a really nice stretch of road – so many nice houses, nice landscaping, and so many people out & about for their morning exercise.

Mile 5: 14:15 (long, long hill)
Mile 6: 13:21 (recovery from hill & trying not to barf)
Mile 7: 11:48
Mile 8: 11:49

After the neighborhoods, we were again on a long section of running on the shoulder of a road (Greeley!) into traffic. Now that it was getting later, it was starting to get a little nerve-wracking.

Finally, we made it to sidewalks again, but I was dying. This run seemed waaaaay harder than last week’s 11 miles, and I kept having to fight down the urge to cry/walk/apologize/curl up in the fetal position and die (CRAAAMPS!). Fortunately, I did very little walking/apologizing and managed to avoid both crying & dying, so I guess that’s a win.

Finally, in the long approach up to the Broadway Bridge, I heard that wonderful sound – the mile beep from my Garmin signifying that we had run 12 freaking miles.

I yelled “WOO!” and jogged up to Sarah. We’d done it!

Mile 9: 10:56
Mile 10: 10:33
Mile 11: 11:50
Mile 12: 12:08 (definitely faded out towards the end)

Total – 12 miles in 2:19:56 (11:39 pace). That is not much faster than last week’s 11 mile TRAIL run.

After we hit mile 12, we walked across the bridge and stopped at a coffee place for iced Americanos and egg & fontina breakfast sandwiches (yum), and then walked back to Sarah’s car. She drove me to my car, and then it was over! I ended up driving the exact route we’d just run for almost 6 miles, and it was weird to see by car all the places I’d just seen running.

I definitely need to do that portion of the route again to gain a little more confidence on the course.

Oh yeah, and hill repeats. Lots and lots of hill repeats.


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