My weekend long run got bumped to Monday and lack of daylight hours after work plus major storm warnings for the D.C. area meant I was going to have to take my long run to the dreadmill. I’ve done 20 miles on a treadmill before, but it’s been awhile and there is just something daunting about having to run in place for that long.
My hopes of getting the one treadmill in front of the TV were instantly dashed when I walked into my little apartment gym and saw someone already running on it. Instead I opted for one with a window view, which sounds much nicer than it is. Since the gym is in the basement, the window has a bit of light sneaking through, but the view is of a concrete wall. This was going to be a mental challenge for sure.
I had an idea in my head based on my plan of how this run would work out and it was going to include 8 miles at a faster pace. The first 6 were early in the run and wouldn’t be an issue, but I was a bit worried about the two I had planned for later in the run.
I got myself set-up with a water bottle in the right cup holder, a towel draped over the top of the treadmill and a bunch of baggies filled with Honey Stinger bites in the left cup holder. There was no turning back now. While I no longer listen to music for outdoor runs, I still depend on the tunes for most treadmill runs, so I popped my ear buds in and hit play on my old standby long-run playlist. Here goes nothing I thought!
I set the incline to 1.0 and started out with 2 miles at an easy 8:57 pace. I bumped it up to 7:53 for the next six miles and felt really strong all the way through them. It still felt easy. I let myself smile for a minute, but remembered I still had a long way to go.
I settled back into my easy 8:57 pace, which now felt even easier and grinded that out for the next 7 miles. My calves, which have been bothering me lately, started to tighten up and feel a little pain around mile 13 or so, but nothing that really hurt or made me want to stop. I bumped the pace up to 7:53 again for mile 16 before hopping off the treadmill for a quick minute to refill my water.
For mile 17 and 18 I dropped back down to my 8:57 pace before adding in one more speedy 7:53 mile and ending with a final cool down mile back at 8:57. This time I didn’t stop myself from grinning. I felt good. Really good. Like I could have kept running good.
I’ve had a really tough training cycle and have been lacking in confidence lately, so I needed this big time. Now I head into my taper and can focus on race day with a bit more confidence and a bit less doubt.
It’s hard to believe Marine Corps Marathon will be here so soon, but I can’t wait! In just a few weeks I’ll be at the start line and will probably think to myself – here goes nothing!
How did all of your weekend long runs go? Any races coming up soon?