I ran eight miles on Saturday. This was my longest run since the marathon, last October. So kind of a big deal for me. And the best news was that it ended up not being a big deal at all.
I had my usual tea and a swallowful of leftover coffee before leaving the house, along with a banana and dates. I brought a small bottle of the endurance drink I use (Tailwind) and a gel - both things I've had no use for since last fall. Since I was carrying a bottle I broke out my race vest - again, this has sat on a shelf since the fall. Kind of nice to have it out again.
I started off slow and took walk breaks every half mile, with a sip of Tailwind with each walk break. I've had a bad habit in the past of not refueling soon enough so while this was a relatively short long run, as runs go, I didn't want to make things any harder for myself through anything I could prevent. I did feel kind of slow and stagnant to begin with - I had to remind myself that non-caffeinated runs feel that way to start. (On weekends I start my day with decaf tea because I know I'll be drinking more regular strength coffee than I usually do - at work I switch to decaf coffee.) I also entertained myself by looking at the different parkways as I passed. We'd like to do more with ours and I've been collecting ideas as I'm out and about in the city.
Miles three through five felt more energetic. I took my gel at mile four - Hammer Apple Cinnamon flavor. It was chilled from the air and felt refreshing and really tasty - not words I usually think of with gels. But I like the Hammer brand. At mile five I started to get a little tired so turned on my iPod and was treated to a whole bunch of Prince for the rest of the way. That was also nice. It was a gray, chilly morning and I saw very few people on my route, so it was just me and Prince, hanging out together under the cherry moon. A lot worse ways to spend an early Saturday morning.
I felt pretty good the rest of the way, made sure to stretch thoroughly when I got home and to put my feet up later in the day, and had no soreness the next day. So I think, barring any odd problems, I should be okay with the remaining long runs before the Soldier Field 10M and with the race itself, as long as I keep taking things nice and easy.