Saturday, September 26, 2009

An Epic Long Run Over the Palisades

So today, after 4 long runs in this training cycle all ranging from 20-21 miles, I finally sucked it up and ran 22.6 miles. This is quite the accomplishment for me because not only was it my longest training run ever. It was also the hilliest run I’ve ever done as well (and that includes the San Francisco Marathon)! Yeah, no wonder my body feels as trashed as if I’ve just completed a marathon!
This annual group run, organized by my running club, the New York Flyers, starts at the foot of the George Washington Bridge, and goes up and over the bridge to the New Jersey side before entering the hilly Palisades State Park where most of the running takes place. Once inside the park, you have to run over a series of rolling hills…some mountain-sized if you ask me…for 9 miles before engaging the battle of a mile-long massive hill at 8-9% grade that makes Harlem Hill look puny in comparison. Once you successfully conquer this monstrosity of a hill, you’ve reached the midway point and now must make the way back to where you started from. From beginning to end, at least according to Rover, my Garmin, the route contains 3230 feet of elevation gain and 3300 feet of elevation loss. By comparison, the San Francisco Marathon, only nets 2380 feet of elevation gain and loss through all of its 26.2 miles. Now I know those figures are only a rough approximation since Garmin is notoriously bad at calculating gains and losses of elevation (especially on bridges) but I think it suffices to make my point that this was a REALLY HILLY run.
Despite all of this, I made it through in one piece at a pretty good clip, keeping my pace conservative in the first half and running a bit faster in the second half. The highlights and lowlights are summarized below. The total time for this run was 2:57:45. Average pace was 7:51 min/mile. I felt strong enough to run sub-7:30 for the last six miles, which I am excited about. My only complaint is that after this epic run, I am the proud owner of a new blood blister at the bottom of my right feet. Awesome!
I hope I will feel well enough to do a few recovery miles tomorrow to finish off my 55 mile week. Thanks to all who contributed in whatever way to making my run possible today! You all know who you are! Hope everyone had similarly beautiful runs this weekend. Marathon season is fast approaching! I, for one, can hardly wait!

Keys To 22-Mile Long Run Success (At Least For Me!)
  1. Plan a gorgeous trail in a densely wooded park next to a large body of water.
  2. Pick the perfect running weather – 55 degrees and sunny with a slight autumn chill.
  3. Schedule the run 20 or 30 of your closest friends in your running group and have volunteers stationed every five miles for water stop.
  4. Be driven by a nice fellow runner over to the start at the foot of the GWB.
  5. Be stuck in a traffic jam on the way there and be in danger of missing the run entirely.
  6. Improvise and come up with alternate plan to meet up with running group after they have started.
  7. The day before, have everyone warn you that the course will be hillier than any you’ve ever run.
  8. After finally starting, take a wrong turn immediately and run an extra mile unnecessarily because you couldn’t follow directions.
  9. Run with someone slower than you for first half then partner up with someone faster for the second half (or just with yourself if you’re a bit speedier than the group)
  10. Make plans for an applicable reward after the run (frittatas and chocolate chip pancakes at City Diner…delish!)


Anonymous said...

wow what a great run. esp since you made it in one piece at the end :)

nice list of how the greatest of the 22.6 was achieved. love it when everything lines up -- except maybe the stress of a traffic jam and getting a bit lost haha

aron said...

AWESOME long run!! wow and that was your 5th 20+ miler! even more awesome :)

Anonymous said...

Strong work! Glad it went well despite the little "challenges".

Running and living said...

Awesome, you are going to have an amzing marathon. You are putting in LOTS of mileage, AND doing lots of 20+ milers, AND doing mile repeats and tempos, AND are having lots of fun combining solo and group running. Can't think of anything more that you could be doing.

Meg Runs said...

This was a helpful list, thanks!

Irish Cream said...

You are BACK, baby! First a super speedy half-marathon, now this?! You are unstoppable!! You are going to have a GREAT race come Nov. 1!! :)

joyRuN said...

I'm reminded how lonely it is to do these long runs without any company.

Great job on your 22+!!!

runner26 said...

and #11. party with good friends the night before??

well done on this tough, hilly one, lam! glad you were not peer-pressured into the wrong kind of carbo loading the night before ;)

lindsay said...

nice job on the 22+! they are definitely great for the confidence. glad you had a good one and hope you got the rest of those 55 miles in!

my garmin does not seem to be all that great at elevation changes either... i'll hit a gentle, long, rolling hill route and garmin will be all kinds of quick zig-zags instead.

sRod said...

Ha! We were running the same place, but I think you had better planning (since I almost got lost in the forest). You have to let me know where you guys ran.

Anonymous said...

that sounds hilly but epic and fun.

ugh, i need to get on the 20 miler bandwagon. it is time.

Spike said...

nice run, because hills suck. pretty tress or countyside whatever, hills are alwasy a huge pain.

but the recovery run after hills, now that is good stuff.

NY Wolve said...

Nice run!. Garmin had one of my 18 mile long runs at elevation gain at 6,280. Umm, I don' think so.

I used to run my runs through SportTracks elevation correction plugin, but the plug in is down for new installs (which I have on my new computer).

Still, hills are killers. I just hope make me stronger come Nov. 1.

Morgan said...

Killer run!!!!!

Loving the list! LOL!

P.S. Thanks, as always for your words of encouragement with my marathon! I really appreciate the shout out!

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