After such a long run on Saturday, I have gone back over and over the run in my mind. I've come away with several different thoughts on the run now than immediately after, or even a few hours after I finished. I guess two days removed I have another perspective on it and I felt I'd put it here so I can get these thoughts down and perhaps use them to draw on before my next long run.
I wasn't completely exhausted after the run. I never got to what I call the "huffing and puffing" stage. There were a few hills in the second half of the run, I think Mile 10 was pretty much uphill, and I got close to that point during the run but I was never truly fully exhausted and wiped out in terms of being out of breath. This is very encouraging, but at the same time has me wondering if I didn't exert myself enough. I'm going back and forth over this feeling. Should I have been completely out of breath by the end? Does that mean I didn't give it my all? Or did I do well to conserve enough energy that I was able to get through 12 miles?
Part of my hang-up over the exhaustion factor is my own personal debate where speed is concerned. On the one hand, finishing is my number one goal - finishing the half, finishing a really long run - and that is number one by a mile. Number two is finishing in a good time, or at least beating a set time. But on the other hand, I might not be running as fast as I maybe should be, and thus am not fully challenging myself. I tend to run at or around 9-minute miles. At least, that's what I've noticed since I got my Garmin. I've seen it as low as 8:30, the pace, and as high as 10:04 (the last part of the 12-mile run) but it usually doesn't get anywhere near a 7:59. Still, that's not taking into consideration the interval work I do at the gym, and some of those speeds are pretty fast. I'm wondering if I should try to run faster to maximize my runs and get a better workout. Although, I don't think my runs are lacking or my workouts are bad. Anyway, with relation to Saturday, I finished the run in a little more than two hours, so 12 miles then were run at a 10-minute-per-mile pace. Should I even care about that figure right now? I'm trying not to, but part of me wonders if I could have done it faster. Still, I counter to myself, faster for what? Why? Ugh. It's a debate with no end.
After the run, my shirt was drenched. Now I actually wore three shirts: the first was a tight workout shirt, a shirt that is meant to be tight actually, kind of like a stretchy-material that accentuates all your blemishes...; second was a long-sleeve shirt over that and third was a workout/running shirt over that. It wasn't that cold, I know, but I still wanted to wear several layers. All layers were drenched after the run, in particular the long-sleeve shirt. However, during the last 15-20 minutes, I noticed that I wasn't sweating. My forehead, which had dripped sweat into my eyes frequently during the early portion of the run, was dry. That got me worried. I'm going to have to A) hydrate myself even more on the day before my next 10-mile-plus run and B) figure out what I can take with me to consume during another such run. I've heard of a gel pack that you can pop in your mouth during runs, maybe that's a solution. But I've never done research into those because I've never had to. Now I will.
I was supposed to have run three miles on Sunday. There was no way I could have ran three miles, I thought on Saturday. But on Sunday I actually went on a walk with my family, and it was encouraging. I could have ran three miles. I won't scrap the post-run workouts anymore since I was supposed to have run two miles after my 10-mile run. My muscles felt fine on Sunday morning, not fatigued or cramped or in pain or anything.
I'm not worried about a 12-mile run anymore. I'm still not sure about 13 miles, but I think I can handle that extra mile. I think once I break that 13-mile barrier I will not be worried about it either. I guess part of this half-marathon training thing is to also train my brain, for me to prepare mentally. I have a 10-mile run planned for this weekend and I believe a 12-mile run for the first full weekend of March. I look forward to those runs now with anticipation instead of with apprehension and a bit of fear, as I had in the start.