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!)
- Plan a gorgeous trail in a densely wooded park next to a large body of water.
- Pick the perfect running weather – 55 degrees and sunny with a slight autumn chill.
- Schedule the run 20 or 30 of your closest friends in your running group and have volunteers stationed every five miles for water stop.
- Be driven by a nice fellow runner over to the start at the foot of the GWB.
- Be stuck in a traffic jam on the way there and be in danger of missing the run entirely.
- Improvise and come up with alternate plan to meet up with running group after they have started.
- The day before, have everyone warn you that the course will be hillier than any you’ve ever run.
- After finally starting, take a wrong turn immediately and run an extra mile unnecessarily because you couldn’t follow directions.
- 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)
- Make plans for an applicable reward after the run (frittatas and chocolate chip pancakes at City Diner…delish!)