I signed up for a relay marathon. That’s right… you read it correctly. A relay marathon. And to top it all off, it is a trail run… on the Finger Lakes Trail in Letchworth. “But you are not a runner. Cycling is your thing.”, you say. I know! What am I thinking!!!
“Sehgahunda is the REAL DEAL. It may just be one of the hardest trail marathons in the east. It’s 26.3 miles of single track trails, over 3000 feet of climbing, with more than 100 gullies that need to be traversed–and an 8 hour cut off.” reads its description. Yikes!!! Again… what am I thinking!!
I took up running a little before I had Julia. I never really liked it. Once I had Julia, it was an easy way for me to exercise and stay in shape. Running for 20 minutes is less time consuming than cycling for an hour or more. And running for 20 minutes is a better workout than cycling for 20 minutes. Cycling for 20 minutes is nothing… for me at least.
The relay includes 4 legs… a 6.1 miler, a 9.3 miler, a 6.5 miler, and a 4.4 miler. I signed up for the 6.1 miler. I have never ran for 6.1 miles before… especially not on a trail. The longest run that I have ever done was last summer and it was 4.2 miles. That should not even really count though, since Joel and I ran with Julia to a playground and we hung out there for 20 minutes or so… so it was not really a straight run. For the longest time I could never get myself to run for more than 20 minutes either. It was plenty. Lately, I started to run for 30 minutes and that seems plenty too.
This 6.1 miler really worries me. How am I going to do it?? I spoke with a few friends who are runners and all of them seem to think that I should not be so worried. They must know something that I do not know. I think that is it… I do not really know what to think and to expect from a longer run since I have never done it before. I remember when I started cycling… riding even 15 miles seemed impossible. But after riding for a while, 30 miles, 50 miles, and even 100 miles was doable and felt fine. I remember my first century… I was super worried about. And of course I chose a hard ride… it was part of the Highlander Cycle Tour. (I see a trend here!) It was an organized ride and I felt that it was going to be easier since there were rest stops and other people around me. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever done… physically. But it was doable and I rode it again and again for 4 more times after that. It is definitely a mental thing, more so than a physical thing.
So two weeks ago I ran 3.7 miles. I ran it at a pretty decent pace too. I averaged 9:24. That is typical for me. I must admit that it felt fine. Then last week I ran 3.4 miles at a faster pace… I averaged 8:57. I was super proud of myself that I was able to do that run. I felt pretty good too. It definitely felt fast but not too bad.
And then yesterday I ran 4.7 miles… and I averaged 8:54. It was crazy!! I felt fine up until mile 4. My neighborhood is pretty hilly, so as I was running up a hill, I started to feel dizzy. This reminded me of a ride that I did in my early cycling days. I was also riding up a hill and I overexerted myself and I felt dizzy and even blacked out for a few seconds. I definitely paid more attention to my body after that and figured out my limits.
Luckily I did not black out during my run, but I was a little upset with myself. I do not know how to pace myself during a longer run. I definitely ran too fast in the beginning, but it felt fine up until mile 4. Just like with my early cycling days, I need to figure out what my limits are for running. I only have two months to figure it out. Eeek!