This past Saturday I knocked out my long run at the Benbrook Equestrian Trail. This was my first long run since the week of Thanksgiving and my legs felt great.
The Equestrian trail is about 14 miles out-and-back if you start at the Northern trailhead. I habitually park at a pull-off closer to the Marina and from my parking spot to the southern terminus is closer to 6 miles or 12 out-and-back. On Saturday, I ran and out-and-back + a repeat of the tougher 3 miles (southern end) of the trail for a total of 18 miles.
This long run was being done in preparation for the Bandera 50K in January. My goals for this run were to:
- Help my legs adapt to long runs
- Practice nutrition and hydration strategies
- Unrelated to Bandera, but practice running with my pack so that I can go on longer, unsupported runs. My core tends to feel notably fatiaged after a long run with my hydration vest on.
- Record a sign-off clip for my new YouTube channel
I felt fantastic pretty much the entire run. Almost mechanical, I wasn't even thinking about my legs propelling me forward. I just ran and felt really good doing so. I only checked my watch a couple of times during the entire run. It was everything you want a long run to be.
Not just a ton to report here. I felt great and barely paid attention to my pace. I also PR'd and became the local legend on one of the segments along this trail. I kept my effort level pretty low the entire run, so I was pretty happy about the PR.
I did notice an odd sensation in my achilles around miles 16. It wasn't painful, but my achilles felt "loose". I wouldn't even call it uncomfortable, just different. Something to take note of, but not something to worry about. The majority of my miles have been in zero drops since mid-October (after spending about 6 weeks transitioning). This was the first time I have noticed anything in my achilles.
I had a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee about 1.5 hours before leaving my house. At 35 minutes into the run I ate 3 clif blocks, followed by 3 more an 1:05. At 1:40 and 2:20 I ate honey stinger waffles. I had some slight upper GI discomfort at 2:30 or so, but it went away before I finished my run. I think the discomfort was caused by not drinking enough water early in the run, followed by drinking too much later in the run.