Sunday, May 1, 2011

The 90-Minute Mark

Today I ran for 90 minutes and felt pretty good afterward. I've caught up to where I want to be at this point before the Munich City Run. My legs actually feel better today than they did last week, when I ran 80 minutes. There are two good reasons for that: 1) I started wearing new shoes earlier this week. It was time for the old ones to be retired; and 2) Last week I ran on a hilly course and went faster than I probably should have. Today I went on a flat course, which is more like how Munich will be. I also took the first half of the run very slowly and really forced myself to keep the pace slow.

My run was close to perfect. I started off slowly and held the slow pace for the first half. One of my problems is that I start turning on the speed too soon on my long runs. I'll look at my watch at an early checkpoint, tell myself that I'm slow, then speed up too much. My former running partner Bill used to tell me that the word "slow" was not part of my vocabulary. Today I gradually increased the pace as the run went on instead of starting quickly. I even had enough energy for a fast final 200 meters. After I finished, I still felt like I could have run some more.

My son took the last of our Gummi Bears with him when he went skiing today. I've been using Gummi Bears as fuel along with diluted Gatorade for about a year. Instead of the Gummis, I brought a Power Bar with me. Gummi Bears must expand in my stomach because they seem to cut the hunger pretty well. Even with taking bites of the Power Bar, I was still hungry. In the past I would get hungry at the one-hour mark. When I felt hungry today, I looked at my watch. It said 58 minutes, which is close enough to an hour. But even after a couple of bites of Power Bar and a good drink of Gatorade, I was still starving. It didn't help matters at the 1:14 mark when Duran Duran's "Hungry Like The Wolf" started playing on my iPod. I told myself that I was close to home to keep my mind off of my hunger.  I felt like the plant in "Little Shop of Horrors" that kept saying, "Feed me!" When I got home I finished the Power Bar and Gatorade and felt less hungry.

A couple of months ago I would never have thought that I would make it to this point because of calf problems. At one point during today's run I felt a small twinge in my left calf, but it went away within about 20 seconds. Now I'm feeling that I'll be able to do the City Run next month without any problems. As it gets closer to race day, I'll go online and register for it. Next week's long run will also be 90 minutes on the same course.

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