Monday, July 30, 2007

Why Bad Runs Are Good

Huh? Yup, bad runs are good (well, they can be). Last weekend I had one of those. Set out on Friday night after a long day at work. Planned on solid 18 miles out at Cochran Shoals (pdf); the first half hills/single track, the second half with my running buddy Rolf on flatter terrain.

But nothing ended up going to plan. Felt tired from the very beginning, everything just seemed way too hard. The legs were heavy, the air was humid (the completely soaked shirt after less than five minutes of running was a bad sign of things to come), the hills seemed higher, my stomach was acting up….just everything seemed off. Then Rolf got held up at work and didn’t show. While I struggled the first half, I was looking forward to the second with Rolf (“Misery loves company” or something like that). Well, while waiting on him, I realized that my car key was missing from the little pocket on my Ultimate Direction running bottle. Uh oh. Maybe I’d left it at the car? Need to get there fast. After a seemingly endless mile or so, I got back to my car. Thankfully it was still there but the key was missing. That could only mean one thing: I lost my key somewhere on the trail. For some, reason I decided to call OnStar right way (instead of finishing my run) and an 18 mile long run had turned into a (totally unenjoyable) 10 mile struggle.

After being depressed about the run for the next few hours, I focused on learning some lessons:

  • A cup of coffee five minutes before a long run will send my stomach spiraling downwards
  • Keep your S!Caps protected…they are water soluble (or sweat-soluble); that means don’t keep them in your Ultimate Direction bottle pocket
  • When you lose your car keys finish up your run first…you can wait on the roadside assistance later (this wasn’t my first time)
  • Don’t immediately hit the hills if you’re tired…adjust your run and try to stay on flatter terrain when starting out
  • Get enough sleep the night before a long run

Hopefully, these lessons will come in handy in Santa Barbara. Better to make mistakes in training than during the race, right?

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