The Not-So-Dreaded Long Run

Distance: 5.39 miles
Time: 1:11:24
Pace: 13:19 min/mi

My Miles Between (what I learned / gained):

  • Listen to your body
  • A good playlist makes running 100 times easier
  • Running outside is way better than the treadmill
  • Our bodies are incredible, so treat yours with the respect it deserves
  • KT Tape is surprisingly effective and my new best friend

Last Saturday I had my first run outside for the season and it was absolutely beautiful. For what feels like an eternity, California has been in a drought and this is the first time in a while that I remember us getting consistent rainfall during the winter months. For the past few weeks a steady downpour of rain lagoon1has soaked into the hills transforming them into a vibrant green reminiscent to my visit to New Zealand years ago. When the weather is like this my favorite run spot is out at the edge of town by a lagoon. The usual landscape is a dry brown and yellow color that although I have learned to enjoy, I don’t love it as much as the spring green. Every year there is a brief moment where the hills actually look healthy and lush. It’s green for a weekend and then I blink and the color fades back to the golden landscape. Since we got so much rain this year, I’m crossing my fingers the green stays for a little longer. It helps me stay motivated to be outside and run.

This is my usual mental breakdown of long runs:

The first mile is a pain in the ass and I want to start walking. A small voice in my head tries to convince me I’ll never make the whole thing anyway so I might as well give up now. The second mile is acceptance; acceptance that, yes, I feel like crap and yes, this is difficult, but I have to push through if I want to reap the rewards. Its usually after the third mile when I start to enjoy my run and I feel like I could keep going for miles and miles, if my body would let me. The fourth mile is where I get the infamous “runner’s high” and the endorphins in my blood stream start to kick in and I’m inexplicably happy. Not just content, which for someone with severe depression such as myself, is a difficult accomplishment to achieve on any given day but I actually feel happy. It’s that fourth mile that reminds me why I run, why I bother to push through the pain of the first few miles—so that I can feel this simple happiness.

Anyway, my run Saturday was nearly perfect, and my runner’s high carried some happiness through to the next day. The temperature was perfect, slightly chilly but excellent for running, the sun was out, but not blinding, and there was zero wind! I wish every run day was like this, but alas, this moment is fleeting.

lagoon3The only damper on my otherwise “nearly perfect” run was that I started to get pain in my knees and hips, but luckily it wasn’t until the very end so I was still able to run the whole five miles. I’ve had pain like this in the past, specifically when I was trying to train on my own, but I never knew what to do for it. Usually I ignored the pain, which is a big no-no. This time I iced my knees and hips for a decent amount of time before I went to bed. And I slept A LOT. I was way more tired from the run than I thought, and even though I expected to wake up with the familiar aches from my hips, to my relief and slight surprise my joints felt perfectly fine. In the past I would ice, but a minute would go by and I’d convince myself that it won’t help anyway, so I’d take the ice pack off therefore making the treatment ineffective.

So note-to-self, icing (when done properly) works wonders. Yesterday I tried KT Tape which I’ve never even heard of until I started TNT. I figured I would give it a chance. I wrapped my knee for full support, not really expecting the thin strips of bandage-like material to actually help, but of course, to my amazement it really did work. My knee didn’t hurt at all during or after my run which was a two mile hill workout. So conclusion for my six-mile long run this upcoming weekend I’m definitely using the KT Tape. If your like me and have pain in your knees I definitely recommend trying some KT Tape, which you can get for about 10 bucks at Walmart.

Other than the minor pains I pushed though at a cautious pace, and although I was a lot slower than I would have liked, it felt like the perfect pace. I have to keep reminding myself that I have to take things easy and trust the process, listen to my body, even when that inner need to strive for perfection still nags at me. The most important thing is that I learn to love the process and to be proud of the things my body allows me to do.

Thanks for listening lovlies and keep going!