Long run thinking

I woke up this morning expecting the worst.  I ran 11 on Saturday harder than I should have.  Because Sunday I wanted to run 18 on the trail.  The Saturday run had hills and was on roads.  The Sunday run was on single track trails with mud, rocks, creek crossings and uneven trails… you know.  the good stuff.  🙂

Since I was only supposed to run 10 SLOW on Saturday…  That made the 17 (of 18… due to poor addition…) on Sunday MUCH slower than I wanted to run and added more walking than I had planned.  When I was done.  I hurt.  Especially my quads and ankles.  So I fully expected to wake up and need help getting out of bed.

But… that didn’t happen.  I feel fine.  Granted, my ankles are a bit tender, but otherwise I feel like I could go out and run 10-15 today (but I will NOT.  Say it with me: “REST DAY”).

I have to admit I’m pleased with the way things are going so far.  Granted, I haven’t even approached marathon distance yet (20 is my longest run so far) but I’m more looking at my ability to recover as well as things like my average pace and nutrition.

Two things used to happen when I tried to run long.  First, my average pace would just fade over time.  That is not happening this time around.  In fact, I’m able to pick the pace up at the end of long runs.  Second, I used to cramp horribly for hours or days after a long run.  I never could get the nutrition right and suffered for it.  This time I have found Tailwind Nutrition and it really has made all the difference.  It is remarkable.  It’s not that I notice a huge boost, I just don’t fade or cramp.  I also don’t need food on the run.  I feel like I can go bigger distances with Tailwind and as long as I hydrate in the days leading up to the race I will be fine.

The other thing I was thinking about on the long run yesterday was my continuing frustration with shoes.  I used to be a New Balance fan, but I am growing more and more frustrated with the degrading quality of their shoes.  I just bought a pair of 1210 Leadvilles and after less than 100 miles I am already seeing signs of failure.  The problem is, with my freakishly wide feet, New Balance is really my only choice.  I also run Altra Lone Peaks, but they, and, to a lesser degree, the New Balance shoes are not wide enough in the MID FOOT (arch) which is where my feet seem to be wider than normal humans.  I’m also not a fan of minimalist running shoes.  I like more support (weak ankles) and am getting tired of stone bruises on the bottoms of my feet due to the lack of padding or rock plate.

Oddly enough, the only shoe I am somewhat satisfied with is the Asics Kahana, which I bought out of desperation because NOBODY had wide shoes (4E) at the end of the season last year.  It seems durable, stable and comfortable.  My only complaints with it are that it is heavy and does not have very good traction in mud.  I may look at the Gel Sonoma next.  Looks like it might have better traction.  I’ve just about had it with New Balance.  The last 4 pairs of shoes I’ve bought from them have fallen apart.  I expect more quality out of a $130 shoe.

As for the Altras… I don’t know.  The jury is out.  I might try the Superiors to see if they have more protection.  I will probably find just the right shoe about 3 days before I stop running forever.

Another odd thought crossed my mind.  And this is purely philosophical.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m not just chasing fads with running.  Instead of just focusing on local races and simple events like 10K/Half marathons, it seems like all I do is move from latest thing (triathlons) to latest thing (trail) running.  I tell myself it’s the greatest thing ever and I will do it for life, then I drop it like a two year old discards a toy when something new comes in vogue.  I mean, I really have no desire to do another triathlon.  It’s too much expense, the training is a burden and there are WAY too many “type A’s” who make the whole experience too uptight and just not fun.  Not MY triathlon friends, of course.  I’m still in the coolest triathlon club on the planet.  But I’ve had it with getting swam over or run off the road in a little local race by somebody who takes it all way to serious.

This makes me worry about trail running as well.  Will it just be a fad?  I really hope not.  I love being in the woods and running trails.  I want to say I have found my niche, but I don’t seem to be settling in to the routine or the community as easily as I would like.  Hell, I can’t even find the right shoes.  And then I wonder if I’m just looking to hard for my tribe and maybe I should focus on the fitness and let everything else just play out.

I’m also wondering if maybe I should start running with music… so I stay out of my own head so much.  It’s dark in there.


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