I was told there would be a marine layer.

So after all my hand-wringing and angst this weekend about the weather and when to run, I decided to suck it up, get up early, and bang out the twenty on Saturday under some cloud cover.  The alarm went off at 4:45 this morning, and after the usual preparations, I had hit the bike path by 6:30, where I found a complete absence of the marine layer I was promised. There was, in fact, not even a visible cloud.  Lucky me.  I’m sure I was the only person in LA who was not thrilled to finally get a perfect beach day on a weekend, but I was distinctly not thrilled.  I tried to curb the internal whining the first few miles, and not to entertain any thoughts of postponing the run. Twenty miles was a big deal to me, and I wanted to get out and do it- no excuses. I had also arranged to meet up with a friend for miles 8-12, so there was no real option of bailing at that point. (This actually might be a useful tactic for future long runs…)

I managed to find some shade after the first few miles, and actually found my speed creeping up 30-40 seconds faster than my previous long runs. That seemed like a good sign overall, but I knew if I didn’t back off the pace early I’d be hurting later when it really warmed up. I tried to keep ahead of the hydration this time, which really helped.  My calf, which had been feeling great after the massage yesterday, started tightening up again around mile 7.  I met my friend at 8, though, and it was great to have some company for a few miles.  I did all my long runs with the Caveboy until he moved to New York this summer, and I really miss having a running partner.  Even a few miles of conversation really broke up the run, and it was a relief to get out of my own head for a while.  At mile 12 I took a quick pit stop to refill the water bottle and pour some ice down my bra to stay cool.  There’s a two-mile stretch through Venice where I can run a side street and stay in the shade, but other than that it was full sun all the way back.  Around mile 17 my left knee started to hurt, and by the time I’d finished, the ache had extended up to my hip.  This one definitely hut more than any of my previous runs, but I was still happy to have managed it pretty well in less than ideal conditions. I’m happy to say that I never hit the wall today, despite not being terribly carb-loaded.  That might be a different story when I’m pushing the pace, of course, but I’m definitely encouraged.

I stopped at the beverage mart on the way home and picked up a 7-lb. bag of ice. (It’s a mark of how tired I was at that point that walking the extra thirty feet to check out their small-batch ryes seemed inconceivable.) After an ice bath, a shower, and some lunch, I’m actually feeling pretty good, though I admit there has been significant consumption of bad TV this afternoon. (Dance Moms? Who green-lighted this?)  I still have a 6-mile easy run tomorrow, which I’m going to play by ear.  If I do it, it will be at the gym where I don’t have to worry about stranding myself if I decide to cut it short. I’m looking forward to sleeping in for the first time in weeks, too!

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