My First 15+ Mile Run Since I Was 17 Years Old

As I get started on my goal to begin running ultra-races on the trails I’ve begun pushing into new territory. Yesterday I did a long run – 15.5 miles. It might be the first time I’ve ever run that far, but I seem to recall a run around 15 miles when I was in 11th Grade in High School thirty-one years ago. Memory is a bit foggy!

Yesterday I was going to run for two hours and see what happened. I haven’t run on the flat for that amount of time that I can remember, but I sometimes do a double lap run up the mountain and it takes 160 minutes, well over two hours. That is a steep incline, and really, it’s only difficult going up, the downhill is a nice relaxing ‘flow’ experience, more than being a physical effort.

I had one Gatorade for the first three laps. Then for the fifth and subsequent laps I carried 2 water bottles.

One lap is 1.25 kilometers. It’s completely flat, just two little bumps not even a meter high in elevation. There is a very slight grade up and down which also probably don’t register as more than a meter elevation change. It’s quite flat.

I ran the first eight laps or so, slowing only to drink some fluid once or twice during each lap. I felt great, no issues in any of the joints or muscles. I kept going… I made 8 laps in the first hour. That’s 10 kilometers, 6.2 miles. Not bad pace, and probably the pace I want to try to keep up for as long as possible when I do attempt the 50 km run/walk at the end of the month. Breathing was at one breath in for 2-steps, one breath out for 2-steps. At some point fat burning kicked in and I was tempted to just go 3-3 on breathing, I felt so good.

When the second hour rolled around I was still feeling good. I had some general joint pain and muscle fatigue in the quads mainly, but I felt like I could push through it. I was at 20 km in two hours. I didn’t think I could hold that pace, but I thought I could probably do the rest of the 50 km in four more hours. So, at lap 16, I figured I’d just keep going until something broke. There was half-a-chance that I could push it the entire distance that day. I hurt, but the hurt was dull and not altogether unknown. I’ve pushed through running when it hurt. Not as much as I have cycling when it hurt, but the pain is familiar. At least it was years ago.

At lap 20 I was 25 km into it, 15.5 miles and soft tissue behind both knees hurt like hell. They hadn’t cramped, but it was like a pre-cramp or something. I knew then I should have been eating and drinking more sugar and salt, but I hadn’t thought making 50 km would be remotely possibly yesterday so I didn’t plan in any way for that.

The 20th lap was pure hell as I struggled with it. I ran for a bit – which eased the pain for 300 meters, but then it came back anyway. I can’t remember ever hurting the tissue behind my knees like that except during very long bike rides (80 miles+).

I went to the car, sat down and shut down the Timex Ironman watch and wondered about the new Apple iWatch coming out and whether it would meet my needs as well as the Suunto Ambit3. Wow. 25 km. The day was perfect. The weather absolutely perfect as far as Thailand goes. There was a very fine drizzle of rain. The clouds blocked the sun. The air was a nice 85F. I didn’t sweat profusely. There were lots of people at the park, some were counting my laps as I went by. None of them were ever right, but it was fun to hear them trying to guess what lap I was on.

There were three dogs at the park I must have run by 12 times. They never barked or chased me.

All in all, an amazing day of exercise. It is now the following morning. I’ve had 10 hours of sleep and my legs are tight. Hamstrings, and calves. I tried to run with a forefoot strike for the entire distance yesterday. I think I feel MUCH less sore than I would have with heel-strikes. Heel strikes kill my knees quick.

I ran in the Nike FREE 7.0 v3 I think they are. Maybe V2. They are very light, very flexible in the forefoot. I had no cramping in my feet during the run or while laying in bed last night.

Such a great experience. Looking forward to my first ultra-distance run in about 3 weeks.

What about you? Have you set your sights on any big goal recently???

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