What exactly is a ‘Long Run’?

Hi All!  Wow. Life has been busy and blogging has been extremely limited.  I have been spending these last couple of months focusing on being the best teacher, student and athlete.  Unfortunately, the writer role just hasn’t made the cut…except when it comes to my final papers.

What have I been up to?  Well I am currently taking 3 classes (one just ended Saturday so I guess that freed up enough time to write a blog post!), doing lots of Crossfit, getting in some (long) runs, and trying to get in a couple of yoga sessions a week.  Yeah, crazy! 

I’ll start with yoga.  I aim for two yoga sessions a week because I wholeheartedly believe that my body needs a couple of hours dedicated to stretching and mobility!  Monday (the day after my long runs) is  usually hot yoga days.  Sometimes my legs are still a little too tired even for the demands of hot yoga but I do what I can and just walk away refreshed and stretched out.  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturdays have been Crossfit days..my favorite days 🙂  I have class Wednesday nights so I have to do the whole ‘ Crossfit and straight to work all sweaty’ deal but I still think it is the perfect way to start the day.  Another great way to start the day are my Thursday morning runs.  I guess you can say after a morning run and afternoon Crossfit session, I am READY for my Friday rest days.

My Sunday long runs have been going unbelievably well.  So much so that this happened…


The idea of a fall marathon had been lingering for some time but I waited until my training was where it needed to be and I felt confident I could pull it off.  Well lets just say, I had a few weeks of GREAT long runs. Fall weather just makes everything better.  4 weeks ago I set out for 12 and went for 14. Three weeks ago I set out for 16 with some running buddies but felt SO great that I went on to 18. Two weeks ago I was convinced I would probably only be able to get in 14-16 miles because I had a Crossfit competition the day before, but once again, the weather was amazing, my legs felt great and I managed a little over 19.  I was so ecstatic with how things were going that I just couldn’t pass up a fall marathon.

I was almost positive  it was going to the be the Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas marathon because I have had that on my bucket year ever since I saw pictures of it last year.  Every time I was about to purchase tickets, the price always led me to the minimize button rather than the purchase.  Eventually I came to terms with it and realized that 60 hours that will most likely be spent lying low and resting up for the race is not worth the price.  That being said, I decided on Philly.  Still a beautiful marathon (so I hear) and relatively close so I do not need to fly.

So far I have made this blog post seem that everything is going 100% in the running department..and it was for a bit.  But of course, the minute I commit to something and am no longer just aimlessly training for fun, my body decides to give me trouble.  Last Thursday morning I set out for a morning run.  Was shooting for 7 or 8 but had no expectations other than make it home in time for work.  Around mile 6, my calf was not feeling too good and by mile 8, it was teetering on the verge of cramping.  This came out of the blue because my calves have not acted up in over a year.  If anything, my hammies have been the most troublesome area when it comes to long runs.  Well of course, I still pushed through because I wanted to hit that 9 mile mark. I assumed my calf would ease up as soon as I finished but that was not the case..and of course we had a hiking field trip that day.  And, I still decided to go to crossfit on Friday after 7 days of no rest..my second mistake in two days.  I had my final stats class all day Saturday so I decided to rest up because I had a 20 miler planned for Sunday.  It wasn’t the big 20 miler 3 weeks prior to the marathon so it wasn’t imperative and probably not wise seeing as I have a half marathon this weekend.  I was so nervous to set out on Sunday’s long run.  I was nervous that it would give me trouble in the run and just ruin my day.  I was nervous that I would discover that is wasn’t just an aggravated calf but something more serious.  Nerves and all, I set out.  It was feeling pretty good and I was doing everything I could to not fixate on every little feeling…impossible.  I tried to increase my cadence (keeping my stride short and quick) so I wouldn’t spend so much time lifting off (that may not even be logically correct but it was my logic) In shortening my stride,  I was moving super fast!  I just couldn’t find a balance between taking it easy while not putting too much pressure on my calf.  The route I took was 13 miles long and at mile 10 I was convinced I was going to end up walking home.  After a short stretch, I then felt pretty good again and thought maybe I could do 15. I did not end up walking home but after 13.5 miles I knew I had to call it a day.  I could feel it cramping and needed to put my pride aside and do what was right.


I ended with just under 14 miles and though everything in this picture looks successful, I was and still am bummed.  I am bummed about my calf  but I am more bummed that marathon training has totally morphed my vision of a long run.  Why do I feel unsuccessful for running 14 miles? 3-5 months ago this would have been the longest run I had ever run!  Back to back weeks of running 18+ milers has set an unreasonable expectation and though these runs are essential in marathon training, they are not normal runs.  I should not feel disappointed with 14 miles.  Marathon training has had its pros and cons.  I really do love setting out for weekly long runs and feeling super proud of myself when I finish 16+ miles, but I also do not like feeling that anything under 10 is not worthy of pride.  Maybe this calf situation was a way for me to step back and realize that I need to tone it down and not get wrapped up in mileage. This week is focusing on rehab and rest.  I have had a crazy 2 weeks and I need some time to just lay low and give my body the rest it needs.  I hope with lots of icing, stretching,yoga and little running and Crossfit, I will feel much better and it will be exactly what my body needs to continue with marathon training.

Oh runners.  We are a crazy bunch of humans 🙂

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