The hardest thing about running is getting started. I just don't mean the physical act of taking the first step on a long run but also the idea of starting over again after you have finished. For a couple of weeks there I was basking in the glory of another marathon completed, but with the San Diego Marathon as a possible race, I had to start up again. I allowed my body to recover for a couple of weeks, but now I have to step it up if I'm going to be in shape for San Diego, and this time I won't be part of Team in Training. If I do San Diego, it will mark my first marathon outside of the TNT family. So far, I've found it hard to get motivated to wake up at 6:30AM on a Saturday morning to go for an extended run. Not only do I have to motivate myself to run, I also have to motivate myself to show up at the trails. I have made myself some promises for this year, not quite resolutions, but goals or points of action, and chief among them is to be more proactive about many, many things. One of them is being proactive about improving my speed and fitness. With school ending soon, I can't really blame that any more for taking focus away from my training.
With all of that said, I ventured out on my longest run since the marathon--13 miles. I've done regular four mile runs in the last couple of weeks and two six mile runs, but nothing topping double digits. My goal was to run a 9:00/mile pace, but by mile 5 I was already laboring at a pace that was slightly above 9:00/mile. I didn't expect to shave off any time for the next three miles because it was all uphill, climbing up to Angeles National Forest past the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Once I reach my turnaround point perhaps I could make up some time on the downhill. It was a pleasant day with some cloud cover. It helped that I was shaded for most of the uphill portion and the lovely view of the stream running along the trail helped distract me. Still, when I got up to the turnaround point with only five mile left, I was exhausted. I couldn't believe I ran twice this distance only a month ago.
On the way down, I ran into FJ, my running partner from last fall. We had been planning to run together in the future, but as it turned out yesterday, we just missed each other by about 10 minutes. He ran 14 miles. It would have been nice to run with someone because it does get lonely and taxing trying to motivate yourself to keep going. If FJ had been there, it would have helped a great deal.
I ran the remaining four miles after chatting with FJ at a sub 9:00/mile pace. I cancelled all walkbreaks but two and got to the finish line at 2:07. Shave off about five minutes I spent catching up with FJ and that makes for a time of about 2:02 for 13 miles. Not too bad for my first long run in four weeks.
Next Saturday the goal is to run 16 miles. Hopefully FJ will be free to do so on Saturday and we can catch up on music and reality TV while we run.