Long Run Report: December 5, 2015

This is something I plan to do through the winter training cycle.  You can read last week's long run report by clicking HERE.

This weekend, we are in Daytona Beach, Florida for my brother's wedding.  While we were making our travel plans, I made a commitment that I would make the long run happen.  I checked out segments on Strava and decided that I would be safe and happy running on the beach.  Yes, I did about 70% of this run on beach sand.  That which doesn't kill you makes you a badass, right?

My long run route for this week.  It's not a black and white photo, it's just winter at the beach.

And this was nowhere NEAR as exciting as the varied loop courses the Birmingham Track Club designs back home.  At least there were a lot of Strava segments. 

Strava Link
Distance: 14.3 miles
Weather: 75 degrees, partly cloudy, 98% humidity
Clothing: Old Navy 2" shorts, sports bra, short sleeved tech shirt (removed after two miles)
Pace: 9:16
Splits: 9:01, 8:45, 9:00, 9:24, 9:19, 9:45, 9:22, 9:47, 9:33, 9:30, 9:07, 9:17, 9:26, 8:31, 9:03
Terrain: just flat beach and boardwalk
Heart Rate: 172 average
Suffer Score: 279
Water Stops: two, at miles 4 and 10 (also took little walk breaks at miles 7 and 8)
Day Prior: rest
Fuel: dinner of cheese pizza, cherry tomatoes, a banana, and white wine.  Pre-run meal of a banana and some sweetened oatmeal.  Dried pineapple at mile 10.  NO CAFFEINE UGGGHHHH!

This is a case study in "Why Running on Sand is Hard."
Ratings (45/80)

Muscular Strength: 5
Cardiovascular Fitness: 5
Fueling: 8
Wellness: 8
Freshness: 5
Endurance: 3
Mental Toughness: 3
Pacing: 8

So.  A long run on sand!  I'll admit, this wasn't the sugary sand of the Gulf, which can often be too soft to even walk across.  That would have been real hell.  This was more compact Atlantic sand, on a beach that even gets some vehicle traffic.  It didn't feel too terrible.  At first.

I woke up before anyone else, dressed for a run, and ate a scavenged breakfast.  I was sitting around kicking myself for not bringing a gel when my husband woke up and decided to run 8-10 miles with me.  Yay!  I had been very worried about boredom on this run, especially since I have quit running with music except occasionally on the treadmill.  I put some dried pineapple in my pocket, grabbed a disposable water bottle to stash on the beach, and we let my mom know we were both heading out (my entire extended family rented one six-bedroom condo for the wedding).

We headed south on the beach and immediately saw mile markers for runners and cyclists.  Perfect.  The rising sun was very bright, and I realized I had also left my sunglasses at home.  Lame.  Three miles in, I noticed my heart rate was through the roof, so we slowed down a bit.  After four miles, we stopped at a public restroom to drink from the sinks.  Once we were done with five miles, my husband decided he wanted to turn around to check on our son and eat some breakfast.  I was just glad I would be able to get at least double-digit miles in before I was left alone.

When we turned around, we were facing into a very strong wind.  Funny how you don't notice wind until it is working against you!  It was very demoralizing.  And suddenly, we both started to notice how much of a toll the soft sand was taking on our speed and energy levels.  I felt every bone and ligament in my knees.  Each step felt like doing an abdominal crunch on a stability ball.  My husband said his lower legs were going numb...which, weird.  We saw other runners on the beach, and laughed that everyone seemed to be struggling.  Not my cup of tea!

Miles eight, nine, and ten were the slowest, and a real mental struggle.  I was dehydrated from the hot sun, needing fuel, and battling the sand and wind.  We stopped for a few moments to cool off and regroup.  Then, we counted every house number for about 200 blocks, haha.

Once we got back to the condo, we went upstairs.  I stashed my shirt, drank two bottles of water, ate a little handful of dried pineapple, and kissed my son good morning.  Once I got back outside, I decided it was time to run on a firmer surface.  Taking the first stride on pavement felt so bizarre after ten miles on sand!  It was like stepping onto dry land after a week on a boat.  I got really excited and sped up some.  Once I reached the city center, I saw that I could turn around and end up with 14+ miles, so I called it good.

I am so glad I was able to make my long run work this week.  It was a LOT slower than I intended, but I think the sand may have dragged my pace down some.  I am trying to be more comfortable with running "by feel" on longer runs.  I am trying to be okay with this "slow run."

And let me say...a long run day that ends with wedding cake is a real win!