I’ve worked up to a regular routine of running 3X a week for a total of 15 miles or so. I read that to train and prepare for long distances you need to start tackling a ‘long run’ on a regular basis to build up endurance and get your body accustomed to the unique stresses and strains of the sustained effort that it takes to run for hours at a time. One way to read this is that the endurance training doesn’t even begin until after you’ve run for at least an hour. ugh. Thank goodness for podcasts and Ira Glass.

So I’ve begun to work on my long game, and I’m tackling it outdoors instead of on the treadmill. This morning I set out at 4:45a and targeted an 80 minute run; I headed out for 40 minutes in one direction, then turned and headed back. I finished feeling pretty strong, the morning temperature helped, and I paced myself well. I could have run for another 10 minutes I’m sure. When I measured my distance on gmaps pedometer it was exactly 7 miles. A new benchmark for me!

runners high

I completed my longest run yet this morning. It was for the CNLBank 30th Annual Winter Park Road Race.

Prior to this, the longest I’ve run outdoors was the 5K’s (3.1 miles) I’ve done in the past year. I’ve worked up to 5 mile morning runs on the treadmill, so my strategy for this morning’s 10K (6.2 miles) was to pace myself way back at the start, and set 5 miles as my initial goal. then I’d give myself permission to walk for a bit at 5 miles, and try to finish the last mile in a run.

I started out and was able to hold myself back to 12 minute miles for the first two, then I let myself speed up to a bit more comfortable pace. I hit the halfway point (3.1 miles) and still felt pretty strong. By the time I got to 4.5 mile I realized I could finish the whole thing without walking. I did break my stride twice — once for a cup of water at 4 miles, and then near 5 miles my shoelace came untied. But I finished the last mile running real strong, and crossed the finish line at 1 hour 7 minutes!!! Thats equivalent to my usual morning treadmill pace, and I felt great. In fact I have never been so exhilarated from a run; I guess thats the runners high they talk about.

One other thing. I don’t know if I could have done it without the ipod. I put it on shuffle and it put me into my own little world. A few rocking songs came up that were helpful, but what really did the trick were the real sublime cuts I heard. A dreamy song by Dixie chicks, After the Gold Rush by Neil Young, some slow and jazzy thing by Corrine Bailey Rae. Those moody songs put me in the zone I needed to be in. It was just awesome.

Linda sped-walked the two miler part of the event a little earlier in the morning, and I’m delighted to report that simultaenous to my run, Gina rowed stroke position in a crew regatta a few miles away, her 8 woman boat took first place and she clocked her best time ever! win-win-win for the Solash-Reeds this weekend!

Incidentally, this race this morning brings me up to 21 total miles I’ve run this past week. I may just start thinking of myself as a runner and stop complaining about it. I might as well go public: I’m planning to tackle a half marathon next fall, and I now believe I can do it.

Update: this photo of me crossing the finish is available from a photo service:

I felt a lot better than I look in this.

another 5K

I finished another one, this was the Real Florida 5K, held in Wekiva State Park. It was a cross country trail run, and pretty dang rugged for someone who does all his training on a treadmill.


Linda, Seth and Janice also signed up, Janice and Linda walked it, Seth won a medal for his age group finishing near the front of the pack. For me, I matched my last 5K time of just under 32 minutes, but it was the hardest run I’ve had yet. The soft sand, numerous tree roots, and occasional inclines put more demands on me than I’m used to. My goal is just to finish without breaking my run, and I was really hurting by the end. I managed 10 minute miles for the first two, then 12 minutes for the final 1.1 mile. After crossing the finish, I had a little trouble staying on my feet, but what kind of a wimp collapses after a mere 5K!!! I’m ok, no injuries. Small photoset on flickr here.

Turkey Trot II

I did it again, and this time I had family company. Gina ran the holiday 5K along with one of her crew friends, Linda and Hiba walked it. I ran it and met Seth prior to the finish line (he’d already finished in competitive time). Seth crossed the finish line with me, and helped to round up our party. We celebrated with a breakfast at IHOP. The weather was crisp and beautiful.

Did It

There must’ve been 1,000 runners. Marathoner Seth accompanied and encouraged me, although I could see it was a little difficult for him to throttle back to my pace. Nonetheless, I knocked about 2 minutes off my neighborhood 3 mile time. Its not about racing; we’re all winners.