The forecast for today included a slight chance of rain. Even though the skies looked as though it would be a clear day, I still decided to head to the gym for my long run. I didn't want to risk being stuck five miles from home if the weather turned.
I have to admit that I was actually looking forward to a long treadmill run. I've started to get more comfortable with the treadmill over the last couple months so I was kind of eager to test my endurance and see how I'd hold up for two plus hours. Before today, I think the longest I've spent on the treadmill is 90 or 100 minutes.
Initially I had been thinking about doing 16 miles today, but I dawdled a bit and ended up leaving home too late. With the gym closing at six, I only had enough time for a 140 minute run. I picked a treadmill and set myself up with a water bottle, fuel, and my trusty post-it note to block the time display.
Sometimes I run looking at the mileage, but today I changed that display to show pace and instead ran based on the little blinky light that marks off each segment of the workout. I broke the run into 20 minute chunks, then within each chunk I focused on getting through the segment which lasted about 2:50. All of this definitely helped because I never once had a thought along the lines of "ugh, still 80 minutes left".
After each segment I'd typically change either the pace or the incline to add some variety to the run. Then every 20 minutes I'd drink some water and take a short walk break. I had a little bit of a Clif bar after the first hour and two GU chomps after the second hour. I meant to put some Nuun in my water bottle, but forgot.
It turns out spending that much time on the treadmill wasn't really that bad, especially when broken up into smaller bits. The first hour passed quickly and I got in 6.4 miles. The second hour I started to lose a little steam but I knew all I had to do was make it through the next 20 minutes and then I'd get a break. I did 6.1 miles the second hour. The last twenty minutes were the worst because my legs were getting stiff and didn't want to cooperate with me anymore. I really had to push myself mentally to finish off the last 2 miles.
So overall that's 14.5 miles at a 9:39 pace.
I'm kind of glad that I didn't have enough time to do 16 miles because I know I would have stubbornly tried to finish even if it wrecked my legs. I walked from the gym to the grocery store next door as a cool down, then once I got home I spent a good half hour stretching which felt really good.
I don't think I could do every long run on a treadmill, but it's good to know I have the mental fortitude to stay on for at least two hours. That is, as long as I have some entertaining podcasts to keep me company. Maybe someday I'll even try for three hours...