Monday, January 3, 2011


Yesterday I ran farther in a day than I've ever gone — 16.3 miles.

I was utterly spent at the end of the run. Of course, this is still 10 miles short of my ultimate goal, so it has me a bit worried. I should be confident in my training plan, which calls for me to gradually increase my mileage over a period of weeks. Big Sur, after all, is still 17 weeks away.

The run started out fine, at a brisk 8-minute pace with Todd and Chris. I kept it up through mile 12, with no mile slower than 8:13. Miles 13, 14, and 15, however, were another matter. I had run out of water, and so we changed the route a bit to run by a park which had bathrooms. The end of mile 13 was a long uphill stretch. Pace for that mile: 8:49. Mile 14, even after a rest at the water stop, was 8:39. I gritted it out on mile 15 for an 8:33 pace. Todd and Chris were well ahead of me at this point; I told them not to wait up for me.

Since my plan was just to run 15 miles, I stopped and walked for about 200 yards. Then I finished with a slow jog: 9:40 and 10:16 for the last 1.3 miles. Normally we have coffee after the run, but the coffee shop was packed and we were soaked with a mixture of sweat and the light rain that had been falling all morning, so we just headed home.

Overall for the 15 miles before I stopped the timer, my pace was 8:19—not horrible. My plan actually suggests a pace closer to 8:50. But still, it's disappointing to fade so much at the end.

Next week, I'll have a stiffer challenge for my long run. I'm running 16 miles, with the last 8 at marathon pace: 8-minute miles. The first 8 can be done much slower; the idea is simply to see if you can maintain a marathon pace after you've already been running a long ways. So I'll probably go out at a 9-minute pace, then pick it up at the halfway mark. I'm not sure I'm going to find any takers to run along with me at that pace. I may be doing this one alone.


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