Keeping the long runs interesting in one’s hometown can be challenging. Especially when you live in a “big little city” where the long run takes you from one end of town to the other.
And I learned a lesson this past weekend.
While it is a good idea to map out a route before running, it’s an even better idea to perhaps check out the route before running it!
(Now that I think about it, this lesson seems familiar…)
Combining Long Run with Short Race
My friends and I were registered for a 5K/10K race on Sunday, and also wanted to get our long run in. Two of us were shooting for 20 miles or more.
The race was at a high school on the other side of town. I consulted my iPhone Maps app and found a 10-mile route that would take us from Fizio, our favorite gym, to the high school.
One of my friends Googled my route, and her results indicated that a certain portion of it looked to be on a private road. The school is nestled in rugged foothills. In that area, there are many dirt and gravel roads that are chained off to vehicles, but runners often use them. So we weren’t worried about it.
Stopped in our tracks
Six miles into our 10-mile trek to the school, we encountered the road in question. It was indeed a private road.
And it wasn’t just chained, but gated. With several “NO TRESPASSING” signs posted.
We could not find a visible way around the plot of land. So we were left with a dilemma.
It was possible to slip through the gate. The road itself was just over a mile long. We were only 4 miles from the school if we were to take the road.
So we considered the consequences of trespassing. We did not know who owned the land or how serious they were about keeping us out (fairly serious, from the looks of it!)
But more to the point, we certainly didn’t know how they planned to enforce their “no trespassing” rule. And a mile seemed too long of a stretch to push the issue.
However, if we didn’t use the road, we would have to backtrack and take a different route, adding 2 miles to our run and causing us to miss the start time for the race.
Choosing a lifeline
After some debate, we came to a compromise.
We backtracked and started out on our longer route.
And we phoned a friend.
She was on her way to the high school and picked us up along the way. We made it to the start line about 10 minutes before gun time.
We ran our race (in fairly good time, considering we had already clocked 8 miles by the start of the race!) I started to feel a twinge on the side of my knee and decided to take advantage of the Physical Therapist on site. He gave me about a 10 minute treatment, with a bonus scolding about the distance we were planning. He made me promise to foam roll when we were finished (no problem!) and sent us on our way.
Priorities take the lead
We slowly made our way through the next 9 miles, half-joking about getting another ride back to Fizio. We wanted to be sure to arrive in time to use the compression boots before closing time.
At a traffic stop, a little over 19 miles in, we checked the remaining mileage to the gym.
We both let out a groan when we learned it was 3.1.
We decided then and there that 20 miles was sufficient. Our 20-mile mark happened to hit in front of a Wendy’s. As tempting as a bacon cheeseburger sounded at that moment, we opted instead to summon a Lyft and made it back to Fizio just in time for 40 minutes of compression.
(Here’s the Fitbit screen shot of our run. With all of our stops, detours and pauses, the battery died at the noted mileage. You’ll have to take my word that we ran at least a quarter-mile more than this!)
Who ever said running was boring? Marathon training has brought one adventure after another.
What adventures have you encountered on your runs? Please share in the comments.