[old post] I wrote this up to recap last weekend run. Boy don’t they come fast. Happy Memorial Day!
I did a 100k the week before, so it was no surprised I tried a 50K the following weekend. I started to be more familiar with the roads around my neighborhood and a few nearby neighborhoods as well. I am always searching for a new place to run.
I did a virtual marathon couple months earlier when we first started the shelter in place Centreville [Marathon]. Originally, I had no name for this 50K, but Centreville 50K seems appropriate, though the race went through Chantilly and Fairfax as well. It was not a virtual race, I didn’t attempt any virtual race when I started out. I have started to run high mileage, and so hearing 50k doesn’t daunt me as they used to be. A 50k was just another run.
I started to enjoy the longer runs more because I am not dying during a long run. There is this point they call it the wall when your body is out of energy (glycogen) and it has to either convert your muscle cells to energy, which is typically the case or to convert fat cells (as I read it somewhere) to energy. It hurts and you can’t run fast and if you are dehydrated, you can’t think well either. You feel really mess up. So most people hate hitting the wall.
But now, not every long run will cause me to experience hitting the wall. Maybe I am better at constantly fueling the body with high sugary drink and food. That is a great feeling when you could run indefinitely and not feel tired. Quite a contrast from before. If you read my first couple virtual marathons, they were a struggle to finish. Now, it is like running a 5k or 10k for me. Well almost.
It was a low key 50K run. I knew it would be a long run 20+ miles but I didn’t know how long it was going to be. My weekend plan like any other weekend was to run until I drop.
The mind is a funny business. If I feel a hard run is coming up, I would avoid doing it. I woke up pretty early. Thinking back, there is no need to fear a long run. However, I was putting the run off the whole weekend. I was going to go out at 7-7:30 and have it done but it took me the next five hours to get myself out. First I told myself, I had to have breakfast. Then I did various stuff including uploading my blog. I delayed further by browsing on the facebook page. There are so many people showing various places of where they were running and I could not separate myself from it. Then I started to feel hungry again, so I said I need to eat again, since it would be a long run, you need a lot of food for energy. Ended up, I didn’t step outside until 12 pm.
Luckily I had all my runner pack and snacks all ready the day before because I wanted to do the long run originally on a Saturday, but my body didn’t feel ready. The 12 miles on that Saturday was a struggle. How I hated that run. This run though was a breeze.
Sunday run was totally different even though I started late. I knew it the moment I started running. Usually I need 2-3 miles to warm up to pace. There was no struggle at all, I was in my rhythm and on pace right at the beginning. It is a long run so my pace was slow but it was not dragging slow like on Saturday. You can tell. My breathing was better. I was not struggling for air. My legs were fine. They were not heavy. There was no pain or discomfortable anywhere.
The idea was distance. I need lot of them. This one was to rack up ton of mileage (I am in a 1000k virtual race and need a lot of mileage during the weekend to keep my standing). With the late start, destination run was out of the equation. I wouldn’t have the time to finish the run if I were to head for Reston or to Springfield unless I am willing to come home the next morning and the next day is a work day, so it was out of the question. My boss wouldn’t be pleased if I had showed up half dead. Destination runs would take more than a day. I decided to just run a boring loop. In the end it was a hybrid. I combined the routes of the last three weekend runs together. It was a mini destination run to my old neighborhood. The idea hit me while I was in the run itself.
I ran down on Stone road as I usually do. It was quite familiar to me, having done so many times in the past two months. Stone road became West Fields and then became Walney until I reached Lee Jackson Memorial. While from time to time I would make some loops into the neighborhood, which I also quite familiar now, to rack up the mileage. I was able to turn what normally a 4 mile run into a 12 mile run, that takes skill! That was my first leg. That was quick impressive to make a run three times as long in a relatively short stretch of the road. Apparently a coworker of mine saw me on the road, and she later emailed me about it. At the time, I was totally focused on my run.
As usual I made a pit stop at my mom’s place. She was home and I was able to top off on food and water and I stayed maybe 20-30 mins.
By then I already had in mind where I wanted to go. The time was after 3 pm. It was late but not too much. I was not pressed for time because now the sun doesn’t set until 8:30 and doesn’t get dark until after 9 pm. I have plenty of daylight. I wanted to head to my old place where I lived during my high school years. It is about 4-5 miles away and I planned to do loops there (at least once) at the ‘government center’, that is what that area is called. It started as the Fairfax county government center but now it has been redeveloped as a commercial and hip residential place. I feel our county is rich enough to rival our state government, that it even has it own district, very similar to our nation government district (in DC). I grew up running loops in this place (of course back then it only had only one road and now it is a whole maze).
That was my aim. I knew I could get 15-20 miles from going this place easily.
I took a new way there by using the county parkway. Instead of strictly following it like the previous week when I ran to Springfield, I took some turns. At first I ended up in an unfamiliar neighborhood since they had redeveloped the place. The street name was familiar though. I ran down Monument drive. After couple miles I came out to the area I recognized.
I drank too much water before the run and I needed to make a pit stop. Only store I could think of was to go into the grocery store. At the same time I could refresh myself with drinks and snacks.
I ordered a cold chocolate mocca, but because I had my face cover on, the lady gave me a hot one instead due to the confusion of the word ‘ice’ and ‘white’. Beat me how that two words get mix up. The outside temperature was pretty warm and I was dripping with sweat. Oh well let not give her a hard time. She did repeat my order couple times, it was like do you really want this drink and I thought I’ve heard her but in the end she still got it wrong. Maybe because people don’t drink coffee that late in the day. Hot and cold though was in a different catagory.
There marked the end of my second leg. I was hoping a quick in and out to use the bathroom and then top off with some liquid and calories and be on my way. Now I had a big cup of hot liquid in my hand. I couldn’t run unless I drink some of it and it was too hot to just gulp it down. I went out. They had a park nearby with benches. I sat on one of them and watched the traffic and enjoyed my hot brew. It was most relaxing part of the run to say the least.
Once my coffee was done, I hit the road again. Spinned around the government center. I used the old 5K race (PR birthday bash/Run Your Hear Out) route there. I finished in the shopping center and there were a few employees from a restaurant on break and they clapped for me as I went by to the invisible ‘finish line’.
By then it started to get late and I headed back home following almost the same way as I came. No stop for a 2nd cup of coffee. My mom was no longer there to answer my call either when I passed by her place. I was a bit disappointed. I carried enough water on me though. I zigzagged the remaining miles to get 31 miles out of the run.
At the last couple miles, I passed by a thai restaurant. It has been my habit to eat at a Thai place on my run. So I went in and ordered the usual Tom Yum Soup and Thai icetea. I really need to learn how to make these. I saw you can order the powder on Amazon. Any way I told the guy, I am going to run home and come back with my car. So I finished my last couple miles in my fastest time and it was the most motivated mile ever! I wanted to take a shower too when I got home, but I didn’t want my food to get cold.
I mentioned in another post the down side of having the long run on Sunday was there no time to wind down afterward. I got my food around 8:30. I went and did grocery shopping and I think I didn’t get to eat until 9-9:30. Then with stretching and showering and cleaning up, it was midnight by the time I went to bed.
The worse thing was that late afternoon coffee kept me up until 2 AM. I don’t know when I felt asleep, but I felt I was awake the whole night. Luckily I was fine the next day. I was a bit tired in the morning but it was a satisfying run.